Welcome to On The Shelf, a new series where we speak to the wonderful shop owners around the world that stock La Basketry.
I first discovered Stackwood in Fremantle, Western Australia, 2 years ago when they shared a photo of my book in their store. They were the first retailer to stock my book 'Baskets' and I am forever grateful for their ongoing support.
Thank you for joining us, Sarah! It's a pleasure to have you as our first On The Shelf feature.
Tell us, Stackwood is a creative venue and concept store. What inspired you to go down that route, rather than a traditional shop?
I had previously run a traditional retail business selling artisanal gifts and homewares for 6 or so years. I always felt like I could be doing so much more.
My main focus at Stackwood was to create a school of sorts for people to come and learn new, in fact old, skills. I wanted to create a place for people to reconnect with their hands through sewing, gardening and making.
The structure of the business evolved in relation to the physical warehouse space I found to lease, It was bigger and therefore allowed me to build studios for creative businesses to work from.
This really built on the idea and allowed different funnels of people accessing the space for different reasons and created a community that essentially held and supported each other through customer traffic, business to business advice and collaboration.
I love your mission 'to encourage a more wholesome way of living'. It's even more important now! What would you say is the first step to a more wholesome life?
Find a way to slow the heck down, reconnect with yourself and ask yourself what do I need right now? Listening to yourself is really such a gift.
"Reconnect with yourself and ask yourself what do I need right now? Listening to yourself is really such a gift"
I try to use this practice every day. There is something about the word 'wholesome' that reminds me to go back to the root of things, to simplify things, to take out the complication and the focus on results and just be in the moment of making, baking, mending, creating.
The transformation of the diesel factory into the space you have today is incredible and very inspiring. Would you take on a challenge like that again, knowing what you know now?
Oh gosh, I have learnt so much and I went into this project a bit naively, not really understanding what I was getting myself into.
I certainly wouldn't do it again on my own, perhaps with a business partner or I would enjoy consulting on someone else's project!
"A space that can express its personality, values and beliefs and people can feel that really excites me"
One thing I have learned about myself during building Stackwood is that I really love creating spaces. A space that can express its personality, values and beliefs and people can feel that really excites me.
You say on your website that "learning is a really important part of what drives us", what would you say has been the biggest learning curve you've faced this past year?
Wow! What a year! I think this year has taught me to really roll with what is happening right now.
With changes happening on the daily/weekly/monthly of how we can function as a business and making adjustments accordingly has really made us learn to drop expectations and just respond to what's possible.
How do you source the products you stock?
All our plants are sourced directly from growers here in Perth. We hand pick most of our stock so we are getting the best specimens possible.
We also love to stock hand made ceramics, artwork and cards from local creatives.
Do you have a favourite product that you have in stock at the moment? (my guesses are that perhaps it might be a plant... you have a lot of greenery!)
Yes! Fav plant at the moment is Satin Pothos. Their trailing silvery green leaves are the bomb.
I’m jealous that you're close to the coast (and that it's currently summer for you!), as Stackwood is based near Fremantle, Western Australia. For those of us who have never visited, can you give us a sense of what it feels like to be based where you are?
Fremantle is a beautiful, bohemian, beachside community.
It's full of full artists, creatives and musicians who've really embraced what we've created here and have really helped us to build a thriving creative community at Stackwood. We love Freo!
It seems like Stackwood is open again now, how have you had to adapt your way of working due to this last year?
The biggest change we made during our first lock down here in Western Australia was taking our whole store online and offering delivery. That has added in a whole new section of the business and how we operate.
It's complicated things, but it's also helped us to grow our audience.
Is craft a big part of the way of life in Fremantle?
Absolutely, Fremantle is a very creative place and is full of artists and craftspeople.
"Fremantle is a very creative place and is full of artists and craftspeople"
There's a big move locally to make, build and create your own, which has made our workshops really popular.
What are your best sellers? And has this changed much since the world changed?
Big sellers for us at the moment are Mr Kitly self watering pots.
They come in an array of sizes and fun colours, have the perfect drainage for indoor plant growing and you'll never have water running everywhere when you water because of the generous in built tray. Yay!
Thank you so much Sarah, it's been wonderful to get a glimpse of life on the West coast of Australia! Best of luck with Stackwood, we're loving watching your journey.
Take a look at the beautiful concept store on their website, here.
Can you spot our book, Baskets?