Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Happening Carlisle St in Balaclava has just seen the opening of Melbourne's most unique and worthwhile designer pop-up shop. Space2B is a new social enterprise - a pop-up Australian designer shop which aims to bring a unique mix of local and Australian designer products to Balacalava at the same time as supporting new migrant and refugee women, through its gorgeous mix of art and design retail, gallery and workshop space.
Set up by local St Kilda fashion designer, Janine Lawrie of Jiniku, in partnership with charismatic storyteller-activiist, Mariam Issa, the powerhouse behind Raw-Australia, the shop aims to provide both a designer retail outlet and platform for women to build on their existing skills, working together with established Melbourne designers, to produce stylish and desirable products for sale. Space2B also provides a space where women can work alongside mentors, build on their language skills, make connections and exchange ideas. All profits from the venture will go to support new migrant and refugee women through creative and business mentoring. What's not to love!
At this stage only open until December 2014, don't miss this opportunity to get in and buy some gorgeous Australian designer products - fashion, jewellery, accessories, giftware, handmade soaps and cute children's clothing, household items and even original artworks from their small gallery space. There are also plans to run workshops for all-comers, and the gallery space will run regularly changing exhibitions for Port Phillip's diverse artistic community.
If you are excited by the idea or want to get involved, Mariam and Janine are both often in the shop, so you can chat to them about their plans. As Mariam notes, 'I've rediscovered myself in Australia and now realise that I have the potential to do many things!" Her partnership with socially-minded business-woman Janine, who has been developing the concept over the past two years, is a perfect marriage of hearts and minds. The local community has also pulled together to help them transform the run-down former hairdressing salon into a welcoming and sleek space in just two weeks, and now, as you'd expect, the shop has a wonderful feel. The Pop-Up shop is intended to help them test their concept before they commit to a permanent store - so pop in and help them make it a success, as it's a great addition to the streetscape.
At just 30 seconds walk from the train station, Space2B is easy to get to and surrounded by Carlisle Streets vibrant cafes if you need a caffeine fix after all the gift-buying. It's a great initiative for a great cause - do all you can to support it while it's there - and afterwards.