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Blog

|| Studio Transformation ||

Gabrielle Nuich

Post Polka Dot is when I always find my space becomes a little bit chaotic. The market is an amazing experience and is an event I absolutely love being involved in, but it takes a lot of work. So, after three full days of physical work not only standing on your feet for prolonged periods, but also lifting heavy furniture and crates full of stock, by Monday morning I’m usually deplete of any motivation and energy. Couple this with a poor kid with gastro who lovingly passes it on to you, and you get a studio space that looks a little sad and neglected. Crates sitting unpacked, furniture askew, floors in desperate need of a sweep and mop.

This brings with it a great deal of guilt. Which also brings along feelings of anxiety and overwhelm… The idea that it is too much work to tackle right now, and that I’ll never have the studio looking lovely again. The idea that I’m failing at this entrepreneur gig, and that I’m not hustling hard enough. I know that rationally this is ridiculous - because honestly who can rearrange furniture, unpack stock and clean floors when their kid is violently ill and you end up spending an inordinate amount of time in the toilet… However, for some reason we feel like we should be able to do it all.

But before I got stuck in this mindset of “not enough”-ness, I started thinking of all the work I had already done… All the blood, sweat and tears I had poured in to take the studio to a higher level. Hours of planning, painting & arranging to get it from an empty blank canvas to a space I could be proud of in the short space of a month (in time for last years Garage Sale Trail)

I was always looking for spaces - pop up shops, retail spaces, warehouses, co-working studios. I had always operated from a small home studio, and had drastically outgrown the small bedrooms I had dedicated for work. Then one day six months ago it all came together in rapid succession. I saw this mezzanine space advertised on Gumtree by the amazing crew at Raw Edge Furniture, who were looking to sublet some space from the warehouse in which they store all of their amazing timber. Within an hour of seeing it online I had gone to see it in person, discussed what I needed and signed the lease. After two years of searching I had finally found the perfect spot with the absolute best neighbours.

Dave from Raw Edge gave me free reign to do whatever was necessary to make the space workable. He & his team built me a door for the base of my stairs and walls for the stairway to make it a completely separate space, replaced the walls on the edge of the mezzanine to make them higher (and safer for the kids), and removed the extractor fan from the far corner of the studio to give me more space. I am honestly so incredibly grateful for all the hard work they put in to make the space work for me - it made a monumental difference!

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BEFORE

Back when the studio still had a large extractor fan taking up space in the back corner, and the MDF wooden flooring was heavily stained with oil and water marks.

The natural light was the thing that really sold the space for me - it was so light and airy, making it easy to see the potential in the space.

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DURING

I started with a smaller test patch of primer & white paint first (I used Dulux 1-Step Primer, Sealer & Undercoat for the base and Dulux Wash & Wear paint in Vivid White for the floor colour)

Starting with a small test patch allowed me to see how the floor would show up in photos and how practical it would be to clean - I wanted the floor to be relatively low maintenance whilst still being hardy enough to withstand a lot of foot traffic.

As you can see in the other photos, the kids were really stoked with my choice to paint the floor white… I got a bit delirious half way through, but managed to get enough done for a mini set up to promote the Garage Sale Trail (photograph by @theessentialistblog + @detailmc)

And honestly, look at the difference it makes having the extractor fan removed! It really opened up the space.

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AFTER

These photos were taken post Garage Sale Trail last year - I had planned on taking some photos on the day, but the morning ended up getting away from me. Despite the empty cake stands that had previously been overflowing with homemade orange & chocolate cake, cookies and brownies, the space still looks damn good.

It’s certainly not perfect - I still have some work left to do, and I want to increase my floor rug stock to layer across the studio. I never ended up fully painting one small strip of the floor (which actually worked quite well as a spot to move the heavy furniture in and out without risking damage to the floor) and I think I’ll eventually end up painting the wooden walls across the edge of the mezzanine.

However, I’m learning to be less hung up on the fact it isn’t perfect, and enjoy the space I’ve created - keeping the light and airy feel it had prior without being overwhelmed by too much brown.

The studio will continue to evolve as more stock cycles in and out, but for now I’m taking a moment to enjoy just how far it has come from the blank canvas it was before.

|| Why I Can't Stomach A Kmart Bargain ||

Gabrielle Nuich

This is a post that may find me quite unpopular, especially with my own Mother who LOVES a KMart bargain (sorry, Mum)... But before everyone picks up their pitchforks and torches, please understand that I am not questioning your sense of taste or style. I am writing this to question the trend of "fast fashion" that is no longer limited to clothes, but to interiors and events as well - especially within the KMart homewares range. So, if you're reading this, all I ask is that you read with an open mind... And for anyone that finds my thoughts offensive, I humbly apologise and would love to have an open discussion about your opinions.

My Mum is one of my style icons. Her fashion sense is always on point (except for some questionable fashion choices during the 80s, but hey - who didn't!) and her home is always perfectly blended, straddling the lines of vintage and modern, eclectic and mainstream, minimalist and maximalist. Never stagnant, it is always evolving in small ways with new (and often old) additions whilst always keeping it's heart and soul.

Every time I go to visit I look forward to seeing what changes (if any) have been made, and seeing how my Mum incorporates what she finds into the fabric of her home. Over the last couple of years I have noticed that it has been evolving a little more rapidly than it usually would, whilst still maintaining her signature style and aesthetic. An avid thrifter and bargain hunter, she is always searching through Op Shops and the many antique & vintage stores in Guildford and Midland for some one of a kind pieces that she can pick up for a steal. On one particular day I was fawning over a new item and she exclaimed proudly, "I got it from KMart! It was an absolute bargain, too - only $29!" I for one couldn't believe it. KMart? When did KMart start producing homewares that are cool and on trend? After seeing more and more KMart items pop up in Mum's home blending seamlessly with the rest of her carefully curated pieces, as well as seeing the endless stream of KMart hacks & styled images featuring KMart bargains flowing through my Instagram feed, I was ready to give them a chance and popped down to my local the next day.

However, a funny thing happened when I walked into the store... They no longer looked appealing and trendy and alluring to me. Instead, when viewed together en masse under the fluorescent lighting with everything white washed they began to look sad, a bit boring and cheap. Upon closer inspection some furniture pieces (Like the bedsides made in the Scandi/Mid Century style) looked poorly made with MDF and veneer, and without the clever styling and photography with warm natural light that I had seen all over Instagram they felt tacky. The more I wandered around perusing, the more I began to wonder. Not why people are buying this, but how it is that KMart are able to produce all of this stuff so cheaply.

They aren't a charity - KMart is a large, national corporation. They're running a business and the bottom line of any business is to turn a profit... So how is it that after the cost of materials, labour, manufacturing, shipping, insurance, rent, staffing and the many other expenses associated with running a business, they can manage to make a profit big enough to keep their share holders happy on a $29 bedside table or a 75c mug? How do they ensure ethical production at those prices? How do they ensure that they are producing quality items that can last more than a couple of months without breaking?

HOW?

It is a question that left me feeling uneasy and nauseous, desperately needing to leave with empty hands. As much as I wanted those on trend pieces I had seen beautifully styled in peoples homes, once I had seen them in store they became devoid of soul with an ethical price tag much bigger than the monetary cost. Since then many items have quickly cycled out of fashion and are quickly replaced by the latest trend, and all around me people seem to be compelled to buy the latest "it" item (Say Hellooooo to the insanity over the new Scandi shoe rack for $35 or the Velvet chair for $39) leaving a lot of the old stock cast away to Perth's verges and Op Shops.

So my next question is, how far is too far? How often are we going to start cycling in and out of interior trends before we break ourselves free from the "on trend" addiction and fast fashion that is encroaching on the interior design industry? How much longer is it going to be before we start questioning the ethical and sustainable production of all of the pretty, cheap things we buy to create a picture perfect home?

I don't have all the answers... Boy, I wish I did. All I can do is try and start the conversation, and choose to buy items as ethically and sustainably as I can. For me that means trying to buy locally, buying well made items (and fixing them if they suffer minor damage), and buying things that reflect my style and bring me joy as opposed to what is cycling through the trends at the time.

What does it mean for you? Well, that's something only you can decide.

|| For The Love Of Vintage ||

Gabrielle Nuich

Since this business began, people have often asked me why I got into vintage.

Was it just because I was following along with a fad?
Was it because vintage became "on trend" in a massive way?
Was it just because there was a market for it?

No. I've never been one to feel as though I need to follow a trend, so none of those reasons really pushed me into this business.

The truth is, I got into vintage because I fell in love. From a young age I've had a love for vintage that has rivalled all others. Vintage music, vintage movies, vintage books... As a kid it was what I yearned for. I would come home from school and watch Doris Day movies. I would spend hours listening to the sounds of Ella, Louie, Dean and Nat (to name a mere few). I would pour myself into books where I could be transported back to another time... A time I felt I connected with.

Like all great loves it only grew as the years passed. Being fortunate enough to grow up near a heritage town like Guildford only fed my passion for everything old and before I knew it I was 17 - wearing a ball gown based on Audrey Hepburn and trying to convince my Mother to let me bring home vintage chairs that I found on the verge. I was hooked, and the older I was getting the more it was starting to permeate my everyday life.

But it isn't just about loving things that are old, or loving a particular era or style. For me, I have always had a great interest in people - what drives them, what their passions are, what brings them joy. It is this curiosity that is the driving force behind my love for vintage because the pieces we collect and find are like a road map to the soul of their previous owners... They contain the knowledge of a life lived - the joy, the passion, the fights, great love, great sorrow and all of the mundane in between. They each represent someones story and history, and it is an amazing thing to be able to connect that history to your present.

When you see or hold a vintage piece, you can feel a richness and sense of character that is missing from the mass produced modern pieces we are seeing today. No matter how hard you try, you can't fake personality. You can't fake history. You can't fake the quality of a piece that is built to last the test of time. You can't fake soul. It is the love of all these things and for the way vintage pieces make me feel that has spurred me on this path. This business... It is for the love of vintage.

|| This Is The Picker Concept ||

Gabrielle Nuich

Hi there!

You may be new to this page, or maybe you've been following us for a while - but either way we would like to welcome you to the new phase of our business.

The Picker Concept

Why the change? Well, in short we felt we outgrew our old name. The name "Fremantle Pickers" was inspired obviously by "American Pickers", and our love for diving through old sheds, garage sales, swap meets, Op Shops and deceased estates to find those rare & unique pieces - something that has been our obsession for the majority of our lives. However, we started to become a lot more than just people who dig around in the back corner of abandoned sheds. When we started out as Fremantle Pickers, it was initially more of a sideline "hobby" business for us. Something we absolutely loved, but a business we never expected to grow to the extent it has. Along the way to meet the needs of all our new clients and customers, we found ourselves expanding in what felt like a million different directions. Buy/Sell, custom restoration & projects, item sourcing, events & product hire, pop up lounges, hand lettering, custom made events items, events hire, events styling, events management and more. We found ourselves trying to be everything to everyone because we love being able to present solutions to problems and create ideas, and we also love being able to interact with so many different people on so many different levels. This however, can oftentimes be overwhelming and sometimes even counterproductive. When you try to be everything to everyone, do you really give them your best? This is the question we have been asking ourselves over and over, especially over the last six months.

Ultimately, the answer was no - we were doing amazing things and giving our best to every new client, customer and project, but ultimately we weren't giving the best of our business. Many new clients, customers and colleagues that we would meet would express that after looking at our business online and across social media they would find it confusing as they couldn't figure out exactly what it is that we do, and that is because we started doing everything and anything. We lost the story of why we started and what we were doing, and what it was we were aiming to achieve everyday as a small business. For those new customers that had been referred by happy clients and friends, or customers that have been by our side since the beginning, it didn't seem confusing. But we weren't able to truly reach any new customers because what we were about became unclear.

It was a big learning curve, and a great opportunity to take a step back, break it all down, rediscover our purpose, and build it back up again.

So why The Picker Concept?

The name went under debate for quite some time, and was the cause of much angst and debate. But one day it all just clicked. Concept itself means an abstract idea, and it comes from the Latin word Conceptum (something conceived) > Concept (thought, imagination). This in itself is one of the cornerstones of what it is that we do, and what we're good at. We are good at seeing a piece not just as an object, but as a thought or idea. We see the value of a piece through ideas such as sentimentality, function, beauty, character - not merely as an inanimate object worth $$. We see a beat up, broken down, torn vintage piece and see it's potentially creative new purpose, rather than another piece of landfill. We see a piece and think "There is someone out there who will love this, and it will bring warmth and beauty to their space or event." We see the story and thought behind a piece - where it has been, what it is now, and what it could become. For us, this is an integral part of being a picker. A picker isn't just someone who buys old collectables & furniture to flip it for a profit, whilst rummaging through rusty sheds and estate sales. A picker is someone who sees a piece with love, acknowledging just what a treasure it is, and sees it for more than just a thing. A picker finds the idea behind a piece so much more valuable than the money it can fetch, because it has a history and a story to tell, and a personality of it's own. A picker knows that every piece has a purpose, and it is our job to discover what that purpose is.

This is who we want to be, and is an idea that we want to grow and share with you.

Thank you so much for coming along this journey with us. Old friends and new, it's good to have you here.