I am sure at some point, in some way on the website I have touched on my love of natural products.I could be accused of using the phrase 'design integrity' a lot but it is truly what draws me to a product.
In having a small business, more over a small business that is regionally based it can be a really tricky thing to manage because I know people are both loyal to their existing local stores and wary of their spending. I was and am still very conscious of this in setting up the store, in selecting products and in pricing my ranges and I WISH I could compromise and find 'average' products from 'average' suppliers and be content...but if I feel something is poorly made, has no originality, is made through poorly managed businesses or is a complete fabrication of a design or product then I struggle to bring myself to support the label.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of regional support I have had on my quest to bring unique, bespoke products and labels to the area. Constantly humbled by the amount of people; who like me are aware of brands and labels and are willing to pay a little more to support quality Australian importers or manufactures.
I guess the biggest benefit of social media is having the ability to reach people all over the country and the world; conversely for those people to be able to research and acquire a sound understanding of styles, products, designs and designers making my job of marketing and selling such goods that much easier.
Something that I cannot understand and something that has become increasingly apparent to me particularly in the past few months is the number of Australian designers either claiming their designs as originals, or naming, shaming and discrediting other designers in order to promote themselves.
They do say copying someone is the highest form of flattery, and as a designer I know that it is flattering but also frustrating because you work hard to develop and manufacture your designs so seeing someone else copying them is more upsetting than flattering, but in a world of technology and few original designs I guess it becomes a case of the chicken and the egg...who designed it first? I can understand the frustration when your entire collection is copied, because regardless of its origin and originality curating a range IS unique, it is what creates a brand, but copying a chair, ladder, hook or bassinet is hardly worth singling out another brand to discredit them. I have found a number of Australian labels who will refuse to supply me because they look at some other labels I support and see them as un-origional and manufacturing direct knock offs of their products. I think it is a terrible shame they are not confident enough in their brand, design and marketing that they can't just focus on what they are trying to achieve.
As designers and manufactures we all go to the same fairs, we see the same products, we know the original designs and follow the trends so if someone else happens to have the same styles or products as you, prove you are the bigger person by promoting your range better, target the clients you want to support you and build on the relationships you already have.
I buy from people I enjoy dealing with, who make beautiful products I am proud to use and sell. I love when a brand has a great story, or the manufacturer has an obvious passion for what they do; it is for these reasons I select what I do for the store and for people's homes. My store is a bespoke emporium of a variety of products, it is also a reflection of me, my style, my taste and my mentality towards design in all its forms.
SO check back in 12 months, but my hope is that I can continue to find a range of product that meets the above criteria, that I don't waiver from my desire to be unique and that I can encourage more and more people to shop small, shop local and support the Aussie brands I am passionate about promoting!!
Note: At Hunt Co we are always excited to see or hear of fabulous new Aussie labels, if you know of one, or are yourself a designer or artisan and you want to get your range into the store drop us an email, we are always keen to find new labels to support!