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Quick 3 with Justine Barsley

Quick 3 with Justine Barsley

How did you come to develop Perth Upmarket, and how has it changed over the last seven years?
I had a children’s label, and when I moved to Perth I was looking for markets to sell my designs, but couldn’t find one with high-quality products. The idea of starting the markets was a way for me to have my own stall. We were at Town Hall for 18 months, and then it started getting too busy and we couldn’t fit any more stalls, so we decided to move to UWA, and we’ve been there for five years. The market now is more than three times bigger than it was originally, with 180 local designers. We consistently attract up to 12,000 people at each event. It really just started as a place to sell my own designs, but it has turned into a business.

You get to witness Perth’s successful designers at their humble beginnings – what specific qualities do they all share?
We’re quite selective in who we choose, and are always looking for products that are unique. They have to be made and designed in WA, and they have to be of high quality. We try to have at least 20 per cent new retailers at each event, to keep the market fresh. Existing retailers are encouraged to come up with new designs each quarter. This is what Perth Upmarket is about – it gives retailers a place to sell their designs and grow their businesses. We’re all about connecting creative people with shoppers, and helping local designers sell their products.

What crafty must-have should be on our radar?
At the moment, there are a lot of candles, succulent concrete pots, macramé hangers, and personalised graphics where people create little sayings on cards and prints. There’s something that will appeal to everyone – even the husbands that get pulled along. Perth Upmarket is for people who appreciate handcrafted products with a story, as you get to meet the designers. It’s for people who appreciate something unique.

UWA, Sep 13 and Nov 29,

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