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Guilt-free prettiness: Finders Keepers Markets

Nerds, homebodies and 20-something grandmothers, rejoice: it is finally cool to be kitsch. With the resurgence of homemade craft, teakettles and kitties (among other cute things), old has indeed become new again, and abandoned boxes have fast turned into treasure coves of materials and inspiration. High up in the category of “those to thank” are The Finders Keepers Markets, the weekend-long independent art mecca for people who want to fill their home with pretty items which are not only affordable, but good for the world, too! With each stall dedicated to new and emerging artists, the markets are at the top of the listings under ethical consumerism. Combine that with the fact that they are supporting new talent and really, buyers totally deserve whatever they purchase.

Bonnie Poplar

Founded by Sydney designers Sarah Thornton and Brooke Johnston in the beginning of 2007, the then Hope Street Markets were started as yet another happy byproduct of frustration-turned-motivation. Sarah and Brooke relaunched the markets as Finders Keepers in September last year, when Carriageworks approached them to be the host. They have since held two events at the Eveleigh-based space and even took their vision to Brisbane for the first time a few months ago. And to think, all it took was one conversation for the two friends to get the party started.

“When Brooke was starting out, she was not able to find a suitable place to sell her new jewellery range. She couldn't afford to take put on expensive exhibitions and be in trade shows and she was wasting her time sitting at local Sydney markets and not getting the results she wanted,” says Sarah.

And so the ladies decided to twist the game a little more to their advantage – and to the advantage of the rest of the emerging art and design scene. Imagining the perfect atmosphere where designers could sell, connect and network and also enjoy some fine music, food and wine, they started to put the pieces together to realise their vision. Thankfully, the fact that hey had never organised an event in their lives didn’t raise any red flags at all.

“We knew what elements we wanted at every event, and that has always been our biggest strength. Our aim is to always be different whilst sticking to our roots,” says Sarah.

Handsom

From budding creatives to those who simply like nice things, the markets found an audience rather quickly. They seemed to have no problem gaining public or media support, which is most likely because the gap they filled was so blatantly empty before their arrival.

“We’re always surprised and have to pinch ourselves every time we've done another event,” says Sarah.
“We usually take a few minutes to reflect and revel in how surreal it is to see what you have been slaving on behind the scenes for six months of the year come to life.
“It's the biggest buzz and it always drives us to keep doing what we do because we absolutely love it.”

She says that the landscape for young designers has improved in wonders during the past five years, and this is largely due to social media, blogging and everyone’s favourite homemade marketplace, Etsy. And, of course, she acknowledges Finders Keepers Markets place in the creative progression.

“People are buying hand made and boycotting mass produced product and there is a shift in ethical and eco products. It has all brought a whole new area of design to the forefront,” she says.
“It has connected people in lots of ways and we feel like we've contributed to this shift, both in Sydney and the rest of Australia.
“We now have designers travelling from Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Tasmania and even as far as New Zealand to be a part of what we do. People are spending more than ever and investing in good design that is high quality, often handmade and has a longer life span than disposable cheap products and clothing.”

Kim Wallace


The markets will be held on Friday from 6pm to 10pm and on Saturday from 10am to 8pm at the inside foyer of Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh. There will be a strong lineup of artists, musicians and designers, designers! at the event, so it really is worth your while to hop along.



words: Seema Duggal

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