Stylish Spaces: Showroom

QH chats to the lovely Sarah, a cool creative who manages Showroom – a space dedicated to helping artisans thrive in this crazy and inspiring world of design!

Brisbane shopping: showroom interior design, shop local

Tell us a little about you and the fab team behind Showroom
Here at Showroom we are an eclectic mix of different backgrounds. The owner, Andrew Wellstead, also runs Flip Creative, a vibrant creative practice working with different local and interstate clients. I’m a photographer, food stylist and author of The Sugar Hit cookbook, I also write the blog thesugarhit.com. Everyone, no matter past or present who have stood behind our counter have had a strong personal or professional connection to the design world.

Related article: Looking for other Brisbane hotspots? Then check out Fallow, a fashionista favourite! 

What inspired you to create such a diverse space?
We cultivate as many different approaches to design as possible, whether that be packaging, products or art. We work this way, not only to offer something for everyone, but also to cast our net of contacts as widely as possible. Our main goal is to support local, interstate and international makers who are doing things that we think are unique and valuable.

What’s makes Showroom unique?
The people are what makes our store special. Our fabulous team, designers and makers and the wonderful regulars, plus the new faces who walk through the doors.

Brisbane shopping: showroom interior design, shop localWhy was it important for you to sell and showcase popular web-based brands?
The entire ethos of the store is really in the name: Showroom. For a lot of small-scale designers and makers, the dream of having a bricks and mortar store is one that can seem unachievable. Which is why we offer this space for creatives, it allows customers to come and physically interact with their products. In the digital age, the connection of speaking to someone face to face, and actually weighing something in your hands is a refreshing experience.

Do brands/people approach you or do you spend time researching products you’d like to sell?
We are lucky enough to do both! The Brisbane, and Australian creative community is very interconnected and we happily use those connections to discover new makers and designers constantly. Then there are those people who find us, which is always delightful.

We love that you host workshops! Can you tell us a little more about what drives the workshops amongst the local creative community?
Brisbane definitely punches above it’s weight in the creative stakes! We have a vibrant community here and by keeping an open-door policy and making ourselves available to that community we never find ourselves short of new and old makers and designers to feature.

What’s your most memorable workshop and why?
We love hosting all kinds of different events in the space – we’ve hosted everything from a birthday banquet for 40 guests, to speaking events with the League of Extraordinary Women, to flower-crown workshops for small groups of friends. One of my favourites would have to be by the incredible Maryanne Moodie, who is a Melbourne-based weaver and artist. It’s so inspiring to see her take people from complete novices, to confident weavers over the space of an afternoon. We’re also potentially hosting a wedding in the near future, which is incredibly exciting.

Brisbane shopping: showroom interior design, shop local

Has social media helped build your brand?
Absolutely! We have such a beautiful space here in our heritage-listed home on Edward Street, but we are up a set of stairs (above Le Bon Choix patisserie), so having a visual medium to communicate to locals where we are and what to look for is really important. And, of course, to cultivate community, and share all of our beautiful wares.

What exciting things do you have planned for the year ahead?
For now we’re so excited to get stuck into the holiday period so we can turn the store into an Australian Christmas wonderland, with beautiful place settings and decorations, and masses of gorgeous silver-green Australian natives.

Do you have a favourite brand or style to work with?
Australian-made! We try to lift up as many Australian-grown makers and brands as possible.

What trends are you loving at the moment?
I love that handmade pottery and ceramics are having a moment! It’s nice to see some irregularity in the ever-growing world of “perfection”.

Name three words that sum up your design aesthetic:
1. Artisanal
2. Organic
3. Unpretentious

Brisbane shopping: showroom interior design, shop local

When you are in full project mode, what does a typical work day go like?
Arrive at the store with arms-full of props and maybe a recipe to feature on our blog. Open the doors, turn all the lights on and get the air-con going (Brisbane summer is a killer). Set up and style a shoot for the showroom blog, considering different compositions for where we’ll be using the shots (online, Instagram, newsletter, maybe a Christmas print). Shoot some general shots of the space for our Instagram, highlighting a mix of both old favourites and new pieces. Meanwhile, chat to and serve everyone who wanders up the stairs.
I’ll often spend the afternoon answering emails, prepping online orders to be mailed out and editing the day’s photographs. I’ll also schedule a blog post and draft up a social media plan for the next few weeks. Maybe place a few orders, if anything needs to be restocked, or meet with a new maker or artist that we’re hoping to stock to talk about their work, or start prepping the space if we have an event scheduled for the next morning. Finally I’ll re-style anything that had to be moved, so that everything looks as beautiful as it can, then pack everything up, turn out the lights and head home.

And when you’re done for the week what would your ideal weekend would be?
Ideally, it would be spent at one of our creative workshops. I love learning a new skill, like wreath making or calligraphy. And then a de-brief with some of the team at Corbett & Claude, which is an excellent pizza place, just around the corner from the store.

Brisbane shopping: showroom interior design, shop local

What would your dream project be?
I’d would absolutely love to collaborate with my favourite candle company PF Candles, to create a Showroom-inspired scent!

What are your three favourite products that you sell and why?
1. Seljak blankets, because they are sustainably sourced, Australian wool blankets which come in beautiful muted tones and the sister team who make them are incredibly inspiring.

2. PANGEA maps. These laser-cut works of art feature different parts of the Australian coast line’s bathymetric data represented by layers of timber with white accents. They are beautiful, and made here in Brisbane.

3. Bee One Third honey. We love to stock this neighbourhood honey – from rooftop and local hives all over Brisbane, Jack the beekeeper collects and sells us a gorgeous, diverse mix of different honeys from as far away as the Sunshine coast, and as nearby as the CBD. And he helps to save rogue hives of bees – bees are important!

Brisbane shopping: showroom interior design, shop local

Brisbane shopping: maps, art, showroom interior design, shop local

Brisbane shopping: brisbane honey, showroom interior design, shop local

THE SPACE:

Who designed and implemented the fit out?
The building we live in is heritage-listed, so only minimal changes have been made to the space – a lot of our layout is purposefully made to be easily moved and fluid. The original owner of the store, Catherine Roberts, worked with builders to install wall shelves and decide the layout.

Why is the layout of your store so important to you?
We have a lot of space, so we like to keep things interesting, constantly rearranging and configuring our stock and our furniture. We have a lot of new pieces coming in constantly, and we often host events, so things tend to move around a lot! It works for us, since everyone loves to flex their styling muscles.

What aspects do you love most about the store?
It is an absolutely beautiful space, with three huge windows, one arched, and two sash, set into the Northern wall, which lets in beautiful light all day long. And our timber floors, and white brick walls are pretty gorgeous too.

Have you had positive feedback on the layout?
Almost everyone who walks in comments on how beautiful the space is – we can’t take too much credit for it, as the building does most of the work.

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