On the lookout for Hidden Gems? Where to find unique Australian designs

by Robin Wells

Are you the sort of person who seeks out the hidden gems, avoids shopping centres, and enjoys buying from a real person instead of a faceless brand?

If you are, you’re not alone. The last few years have seen a huge groundswell of design markets around Australia (and the world, for that matter), where you can find the hard-to-find, unique, handmade products you know you can’t just buy anywhere - plus you’re supporting small independent artists, designers, and craftspeople.

You might like to know a little bit more about my favourite market and how it came into being, so here’s a little story about Perth Upmarket, here in Western Australia. It has been an incredible joy to be part of this market and meet many of you in person here!

The biggest part of being at Perth Upmarket is actually showing up and seeing my lovely customers. Putting faces to names, having customers become friends, and seeing the thorough enjoyment you get out of wearing my designs are all part of the bigger picture.

At every market, I get to meet so many of you for the first time. We have chatted via email or Instagram and I’ve shipped jewellery to you. It’s so wonderful when you visit my stall and I see you in person, wearing those red earrings that you bought to wear with a particular outfit. To hear your stories of how much your mum loved the earrings you bought for her, or how excited your friends overseas were to receive something made by hand from Perth is always so inspiring.

This year will be my 9th year of selling jewellery at the market and in 2020, I’m lucky to be an Upmarket Ambassador. (More on that later)

Latest arrivals will be at this Perth Upmarket Pink Rhodochosite jewellery coming to Perth Upmarket Popular wren earrings from the Fragile Flight collection available at Perth Upmarket

Perth Upmarket was conceived back in 2008 by founder Justine Barsley. She had just moved from Sydney and was looking for a high-quality market to sell her designs, only to find that nothing really existed.

“We have so much talent right here in our backyard, but it can be hard to find. That’s why the concept for Perth Upmarket was born – to bring together the best local creatives and showcase them in a high-end Perth Market” Justine Barsley commenting on Perth Upmarket’ s beginnings.

Perth Upmarket is now in its 12th year and is a much-anticipated event that brings together over 180 small businesses selling everything from jewellery, homewares and skincare to gourmet food and coffee.

It’s a competitive market to get into and is carefully curated, so you know you’re getting an amazing mix of products to shop when you visit.

I’m so happy to be recognised by Perth Upmarket as an Ambassador this year.

What that means is you’ll be able to find me at all four events for the year as I’m guaranteed a stall. You’ll also find me in the same location, I’ll be the one with the special Ambassador badge!

Find my location at Perth Upmarket

Photo: left, Edie of Tangled Ivy and fellow Perth Upmarket Ambassador alongside me at a previous market.

Right, the Historic Winthrop Hall at the University of Western Australia, the setting for Perth Upmarket

Like many things in life, being an Ambassador is a two-way street.

It means I’m committed to helping Perth Upmarket maintain their high status of Perth’s best design market, and in turn I get the kudos for being an Ambassador with them.

We work together to raise both our brands awareness throughout the Perth community and strive to make the market better each time for all of you!

These days there are so many more design markets out there, and as a creative you can’t do them all, nor would you want to if you want to have a life! So, for me, as a designer, it’s important to be a part of a high-quality event, and for you, it’s important that you get the best that Perth has to offer in the one location. You get to come and enjoy the truly stunning garden surroundings of the historic University of western Australia.

Become a VIP for insider info and special perks!

Would you like to visit the next Perth Upmarket?

Save the Date!

2020 Perth Upmarket dates

Sunday 22nd March

Sunday 21st June

Sunday 13th September

Sunday 29th November

University of Western Australia

Visit Perth Upmarket for more info

Over the years many stall holders have become friends, too!

I’ve put together a list of my favourite Perth Upmarket designers to checkout….and also, if you’re somewhere else in Australia, I’ve listed some of the best markets to visit, depending on where you are.

Click on the titles to visit the websites

Bahru Leather

Fumi Pancake

Beste Ogan Design

Turner + Turner

The Honey Cake

Song Textiles

Tangled Ivy

Nina Bailey Luxury Collection

Beach Street Design

Mr Poppins + Co


Art and Design Markets around Australia to visit

The Olive Tree Art & Design Market, Newcastle, NSW Australia

This market in Newcastle occurs once a month and is one of the leading contemporary handmade art and design markets in the locality. You’ll find work by emerging artists, gourmet produce and live music here.

Bowerbird Design Market, Adelaide, South Australia

Bowerbird celebrates high quality design and workmanship, fresh ideas and innovation.

Showcasing talented artists and designers from around Australia.

Handmade Canberra, Canberra ACT

Held over weekends in March, June, September and December each year, Handmade Canberra is a place to shop for unique artisan products and support small businesses. The market usually features more than 200 designers and producers.

Finders Keepers Markets, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane

A vibrant selection of makers, designers, artists and sustainable products, The Finders Keepers pops up in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane about twice a year. It has a festival vibe with music and food in additional to great products.

The Salamanca Market

Held in Hobart’s Salamanca area every Saturday, Salamanca Market is the perfect morning market to attend if you’re looking for uniquely Tasmanian arts, crafts, ceramics, clothing and homewares.

The Makers and Shakers Market, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra

Makers and Shakers regularly sets up shop in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra and is Australia’s premier mid-sized makers market held twice a year in each city. You’ll find a line-up of both established and emerging designers and delicious food.

Fremantle Bazaar, Fremantle, Western Australia

As soon as you pass through the front gate at the Historic Fremantle Arts Centre, you understand what makes Bazaar so beloved. Visitors bathe in the glow of festoon lights strung between the trees, feel the buzz of artists excited to connect with customers new and old, smell the delicious aromas of food in the air and sip on drinks while a DJ spins a great selection of music. Bazaar is more than just a market, it’s a festival of local design in one of the prettiest venues in town.

Held once a year in early December.

The Grounds of Fremantle Art Centre for Bazaar

Photo: Bazaar in the shadow surrounds of the Fremantle Art Centre

Revealed, WA Aboriginal Art Market. Fremantle Art Centre, Fremantle, WA

Revealed is the only market which brings together WA’s 25 remote and regional Aboriginal art centres and independent Aboriginal artists in one place to sell their artworks.

It celebrates the vibrancy and diversity of Aboriginal artistic practice all over the state, with items for sale including paintings, textiles, carved artefacts, homewares, prints, clothing, ceramics, jewellery and more. Works start from as little as $50 and one hundred percent of profits from all Revealed sales return to the artists and art centres.For art lovers, culture buffs and visitors to WA, the Revealed Art Market is unmissable.

The Big Design Market, Melbourne and Sydney

One of Australia’s largest markets, the Big Design Market visits both Melbourne and Sydney twice a year. The event is usually held over 3 days and features more than 200 stalls to shop from

The Melbourne Collective Market, Melbourne

The perfect place to shop for art, ceramics, jewellery, homewares, stationery, fashion and food. Follow their Facebook page for pop-up market locations in Melbourne.

Do you have a favourite market somewhere else in the world that you’ve visited? I’d love to hear about any you would recommend. Drop me an email, text or dm on social media!

Phone: +61 419 999 188

email: robin@robinwellsjewellery.com.au