Last November I ventured up to Malvern to the Magnolia Square Christmas fair and discovered a host of fantastic new retailers, designers and craftspeople.
Magnolia Square describes itself as a boutique retail fair and draws together a range of amazing wares - from childrenswear to art, homewares and all sorts of decorative effects for kids - dolls, toys, beanbags, fabulous library bags.
The difference is these products are original, mainly handcrafted or designed and not mass produced.
The good news is that in 2008 Magnolia Square is heading Bayside, to Brighton Town Hall to be exact. There are a host of retailers selling their wares. One of the businesses which caught my eye last year was Red Wagon, which sells a range of children's products, mostly vintage inspired, including dolls, name tags and lovely little cases.
So today Baysidemama profiles Danni, the brains behind Red Wagon, about family, inspiration and managing her growing business. And stay tuned, over the next week, Baysidemama will showcase some more of Magnolia Square.
When and how did Red Wagon start?
The business started about three years ago. I started painting as a method of relaxation, after getting treatment for OCD and severe post natal depression from the birth of my two boys. First the painting started, then I went on to doing cards and stationary, then before I knew it, I found myself sewing and the story continues. Who knows what I will do next.
Who is behind the label?
Just me. I run the whole business and hand make 95% of my products.
How extensive is your range now?
My range is quite big now, I bring in new items when I can, and slowly faze out the old.
Your most popular products?
All my products sell very well, my dolls have become a big seller, the dolls can be made especially for the customer, choosing their own hair, skin, clothing colour and even the name. They are a beautiful keepsake items and my keepsake boxes are always very popular.
What appeals to people about the new trend towards handmade and smaller craft retailers?
Well I think quality, individuality, and close customer relations is a major factor. I think personally with what I do....people love the way they can have a little input into what they are giving, and put there own personal touch with names etc.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
I would have to say all my creative inspiration comes from everything vintage, I love it!! And of course the three most special boys in my life, hubby Dave, and sons Josh 9, and Owen 4, they are my inspiration for life itself!
(Ed's note: a collective WOW, I imagine, from all our Mum readers at this point). As a mother and business owner, what does a typical day involve?
A typical day for me starts at about , in the office generally getting orders packed in boxes ready for the courier, then around 7.30 I have to concentrate on getting the boys ready for school/kinder, do breakfast, make lunches, then in the car and dropping off. Then back home and its constant phone calls, emails, orders and the most important thing, my production line. I have to make each order that comes in, then before I know it..... it's off to school/kinder pick up again! Once the kids are in bed I then work in my office until about . Ground hog day is the best way to sum it up. I work full-time on the weekend, as my husband can take control off the kids, and ohh did I forget to mention that cooking, cleaning, washing etc slots in between all the mayhem. I would say life is pretty full on, but I love it.
As a mother and business owner, what does a typical day involve?
What will be the main Red Wagon products we can expect to see at Magnolia Square?
The focus will be on my dolls, and my new wooden blocks, and all the usual red wagon goodies will be there too.
Where is Red Wagon based and do you have a website?
We are in Narre Warren South, Victoria.
Magnolia Square will be on at Brighton Town Hall on March 13, 14 and 15. For information on products and times visit: www.magnoliasquare.com.au