What seems a lifetime ago now, back in 2008, Julie Nichols launched the very first Handmade Market. Canberra had some great markets, but none that really catered just to handmade designers. Having very little money but a great business plan and vision, Julie launched the first market with a focus on local designers and just 35 stalls. Thousands of shoppers came, making the Handmade Market an instant hit.
The market outgrew Albert Hall, The Yarralumla Woolshed and the Kamberra Wine Company, before finding a home at the National Convention Centre, where crowds regularly numbered 15,000. For a while, the Handmade Shop in Canberra’s CBD provided Handmade with a permanent shopfront, but it closed with the regeneration of the area, and Julie’s focus has returned to the markets, whose home is now Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC).
The market celebrated it’s 10th birthday in 2018 and continues to grow and flourish, and now offers 290 stalls in two halls at EPIC, along with the central conference centre. Stalls offer homewares, gifts, fashion, accessories and food, with a gourmet food hall full of street food vans, creating a feast for the senses and an unbeatable atmosphere of creativity and excitement.
The market regularly attracts over 20,000 visitors from Canberra and further afield and has an extensive and growing following on social media.
With a passion for supporting independent, small and creative businesses and connecting them to their target customers, the market has a nurturing relationship with its designers and producers who bring a high standard in quality, workmanship and sensational customer service, and an interactive relationship with its customers. Handmade is known nationally as a well-organised, supportive and friendly event, representing the best in Australian handmade design and produce.
The Handmade team is a dynamic mix with expertise in sales, marketing, design, administration, technology, social media and event management – a fantastic combination!
Julie Nichols is the founder, owner and creative director of Handmade. With a background in the RAAF and in hospitality, Julie ran a small millinery business before seeing a gap in Canberra markets for well-run, high quality, Australian made markets. Julie’s innate understanding of how to curate product types to create a buzzing event and how to send the right message on social media, are combined with her irreverent sense of humour and telling it like it is. Something both designers and customers find refreshing and positive.
Rosalind Grace is an event manager with a background in customer service and floristry. She looks after our events and installations, along with administration, marketing, strategic planning and business development. Having been a stallholder with Handmade Canberra, she understands the business from both perspectives and has a huge love of all things Handmade.
Ella Nichols is our social media moderator and market day all rounder. With a degree in Events and tourism, market organising is surely in her future, some might say it’s in her blood. Ella currently works in social media creation.
Australian Made Campaign Retail Supporter
We have joined the Australian Made Campaign (AMC) as a Retail Supporter, forming a partnership to support and promote handcrafted Australian-made products. We are certified on the basis that our market continues selling all Australian made goods.
We are thrilled to be in partnership with a well trusted and widely recognised brand such as Australian Made. We support authentic Australian makers on a national level and being an Australian-made market is what sets us apart from other events.
Australian Made aligns perfectly with Handmade Canberra’s business ethos. We couldn’t be happier to become a Retail Supporter and communicate our Australian-made credentials to our customers. The Australian Made logo is Australia’s most trusted, recognised and widely used country of origin symbol, and is underpinned by a third-party accreditation system which ensures products that carry the logo are certified as ‘authentically Australian’.
Behind the Bio with Julie Nichols: Managing Director, Handmade Market
Ashley Feraude in conversation with Julie Nichols who is the Founder of Handmade Australia. Julie is passionate about connecting Australian designers & producers with their customers and community in a way that celebrates the art of ‘handmade’.
Handmade Canberra’s Awards
Handmade Canberra is a small business with big ideas and a great philosophy: know your target audience, support local designers and producers by bringing crowds of enthusiastic shoppers and provide amazing customer service. As a result, we have won several awards over the last few years.
Named one of the top 50 Small Business Leaders for 2020 by Inside Small Business
ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards – Handmade was recognised by the ACT chief minister’s export awards as an export facilitator for the creative sector.
Canberra Business Point – Creative Design – Finalist Telstra ACT Micro Business Award – Finalist
Canberra Business Point – Creative Design – Winner
Tourism – Specialised Retail – Commendation
Telstra ACT Start Up Award – Winner
Telstra STATE Start up Award – Finalist
Canberra Business Point – High Growth – Winner
Tourism – Specialised Retail – Commendation
Telstra ACT Start up Award – Finalist