Canberra Pop Up Traders is a new op shop business, set up in Townsend Street in Fyshwick. The large store, which is over 800 metres in size, is a collaboration of various market stall holders and small businesses who have come together to share the same space. Each trader takes turns in working in the large store, with new traders "popping" in and out all the time. The result is a fantastically eclectic range of vintage clothes, new toys, re-purposed furniture, hand-crafted rocking horses, antique bikes, typewriters, historical musical instruments, kids and adults dress up costumes, tea sets, candles and much more. If you enjoy looking through an op shop, or appreciate vintage and retro pieces in your home or to wear, then exploring Canberra Pop Up Traders will be an enjoyable treasure trove to explore.
When I first walked into the store on a Saturday morning I was welcomed by the organiser Marg, who explained how the store worked and showed me around. With such a diverse range to look at - I didn't know which table, shelf, wall or rack to look at first.
What I personally like about this store, apart from the unique items on display, is the community feel about the collaboration. It is a great way for small businesses and crafts people to show off their wares and share the overheads of the retail space, with the support of like-minded traders. The organiser Marg also pointed out that being a craftsperson is an isolating business at times, so they are planning on having an area at the back of the store for them to all get together and chat as they work. It is this thoughtful, community approach that will make Canberra Op Shop Traders more than just an op shop store, but a place to connect.
As you walk around, you can't help but be struck by the craftsmanship of the rocking horses on display, made by Rod's Rocking Horses. Although they cost between $1800 - $4K, these are heirloom pieces that will be passed down the generations for centuries to come. Rod's stunning wooden craftsmanship also won him First Place - and Overall Champion - at the recent ActewAGL Royal Canberra Show (2017).
If you enjoy shopping for earrings, clothing, original paintings, vintage vanity sets and more, then the front corner of the shop will take awhile to explore. Further into the store is a display from Old World New, who bring old furniture to life with new upholstery or by restoring the original piece. The colours and styles are eye catching and inspiring.
In one area, at the time of writing, there are historical musical instruments and also a walking dress on display from the late 1800's. Although this vintage piece could have been restored, it has been left in its original condition to show the age and sewing handiwork of the original seamstress. It is interesting to admire and is also available to purchase.
There are also military uniforms, dress-up costumes and a children's toy and play area. If you are visiting the store with kids, there is LEGO to play with near the temporary change room, so parents can look around or try something on while the kids play nearby. Also in this area in the future will be original local artworks, vintage tools, old vinyl records and items for men to browse at whilst in the store.
Organiser Marg with the historical walking dress, dress up costumes and children's area
As mentioned, the beauty of this shop is that it will change constantly. At the time of writing it has only been open for a week, however it has been busy with nearby office, retail and trades workers who have been coming in during their lunch breaks, or after dropping off the mail at the Fyshwick Post Office across the road. As well being a busy location during the week, they are also open on weekends for the people who are doing their weekend op shopping. To keep up to date with what's new, check the Canberra Pop Up Traders Facebook page for details.
If you are in Fyshwick, and even if you're not, then track down Canberra Pop Up Traders for a different op shop experience. If you are looking for something in particular, love vintage, enjoy supporting small business or simply love to browse op shops for something unique for a present or yourself, then you are sure to walk out with something that you won't find anywhere else.