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Finders keepers, Losers weepers

In the lead up to Christmas I have been scouting out events, markets and other groovy avenues of sourcing thoughtful, quality and original gifts for my friends and loved ones. So with this in mind, on the last weekend in November I went along to the Powerhouse Museum's Young Blood Designers Market.

Even though it has been going since 2005, this was the first year that I had actually gotten there on the right day at the right time! I had been really excited to go fossicking among what the website implied was a bustling, thriving, somewhat elite designers market. Maybe I had created unrealistic expectations for myself but the experience was a little underwhelming. The parking situation was time consuming and costly, and on a hot day with a munchkin in a pram I just wasn't prepared to tackle Sydney's impoverished public transport in that area. When I was directed to the counter, the staff member stood talking on the phone to a friend until I was asked by another staff member to their counter. That can happen anywhere, so munchkin and I caught the lift to the lower level for our designer shopping experience.

I stumbled across some good buys that were all reasonably priced and fit the brief. Handmade, unique or short-run giftwares with lovely design elements, AND practicality. One of my favourite stalls was Laikonik, polish inspired designs for cards and wrap on recycled papers, and another favourite was Queen B beeswax candles. I was somewhat uninspired by my Designer Markets experience as a number of designers I had already seen at the finders keepers art and design markets a number of months ago. That was fine but it didn't really have a new, fresh or even bustling atmosphere. In the courtyard the play equipment was made of metal and in direct sun so none of the children could play on it without losing a few layers of skin.

What saved the markets for me, was stopping and chatting to Cate the founder of Queen B candles. She shared with me her story of how she began her business initially as a means of stress release, and her personal philosophy about the need for nurturing ones self during the festive season as well all year round. As a new mother I have been finding it difficult to devote time to nurturing myself and then use that time for that purpose. I also loved the smell of the candles, all lovingly handmade. So I bought a bag of 'Thins' for my secret Santa, a cute little bag of 6 hand-dipped candles that burn for about an hour each. And then bought a bag of the same for myself!

All in all, I think the finders keepers independent art and design markets may have surpassed the Young Blood Designer Markets. With music, wine, and a space with so much character, and easy parking and great public transport options, I am thinking the finders keepers is where the shoppers will get to see a much broader range and larger number of designers under the one roof.

I didn't get to the fk markets last weekend as I was at my grandmother's 80th birthday celebration so if you have any comments please share!


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