Reflections on joining Makers & Merchants Barossa
Reflections from one of our original members
Well-known Barossa leatherworker Carol Dadds and her brand Sunshine Barossa Australia was one of the first members to join Makers & Merchants Barossa. We’ve asked her to share her thoughts on joining our regional collective and tell us about her plans for 2021.
“If you are a Barossa Maker or Merchant and not sure how to get your products seen, this is a great way to start and get the feel of the actual costs of running your own business.”
What have you enjoyed most about being a part of Makers & Merchants?
Being part of and involved in a local group of creative artisans. I work by myself most of the time at my home workshop, so it’s great to feel part of something. Having my leather goods in the top end of Tanunda main street in a stunning space is obviously more exposure for Sunshine Barossa Australia.
Have your expectations around Makers & Merchants been met?
With my personality and drive, I have high expectations. Shelley and the team have been great and have fulfilled my expectations. This included the marketing of my Cowhide clutches in the SA LIFE Magazine, and the amount of I’ve sold through Makers & Merchants. I loved the free Social Media workshop presented by the talented Crane Creative and learned so much.
What are your plans for 2021?
My business has grown very fast over the last year or so. I have amazing contractors, but I’ll need to find another staff member. This is a great opportunity for someone prepared to learn how to create patterns and sew leather our way.
In April, I launched new products at the new South Australia Icons Space at Adelaide Airport. I’ve collaborated with an Indigenous company, not only making leather products but engraving their elders’ original art on to the leather. This will expand to Sydney and Brisbane if all goes according to plan.
I’ll continue to work on my business so I can sustain this new growth while being true to myself, my team, my community, my brand and of course my family.
What have been your most popular products in the last year?
I sell a very broad range of products but my Leather Knife Rolls, my Barossa Made Soft Leather Satchels, A4 & A5 Journal Covers and my Beeswax Leather Conditioner would be my most popular sellers. I’m continually sending them all over Australia. My Buffalo hide leather Signature tote does well in the Makers & Merchants store too.
How did COVID change the way you approach your business?
My business has grown despite COVID-19 as people are supporting local businesses more. But I still feel nervous knowing things could change quickly with a lock down. Fortunately, I can continue selling through Makers & Merchants online and via my store. Sourcing my leathers and fittings has been a bit more challenging. The lack of flights means nothing arrives on time anymore. I’ve also become a bit more careful, planning ahead instead of my risk-taking ways which used to be normal.
Makers & Merchants provides opportunities for collaborations between our makers. Who would you like to collaborate with?
I could pretty much collaborate with any of the Makers & Merchants because their products are all awesome! Imagine leather wine holders, leather lip balm holders, leather picture frames, leather ceramic cup holders, leather gin coasters, leather necklaces. I could create these with the other businesses logo laser engraved on to the leather with my incredible laser machine.
You recently hosted the first Maker’s Workbench. How was it?
I really enjoyed it and I will grow and I know I’ll learn from each one.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
If you are a Barossa Maker or Merchant and not sure how to get your products seen, this is a great way to start and get the feel of the actual costs of running your own business. Seeing the foot traffic in the Tanunda main street on the weekends definitely makes you realise the street frontage is all worth it.
Discover the Sunshine Barossa Australia Range
Shop online or visit our Tanunda store at 3/117 Murray St, Tanunda to discover the handcrafted goods of the Sunshine Barossa Australia range.