MERCHANT & MAKER
What did you do in your past lives?
Our past lives have virtually just extended to now include running a store, we are a bit crazy like that, never doing things by halves. We are a husband and wife team (Craig & Rachel) with our 3 children aged 15, 13 & 9. I am a photographer and my husband Craig has an Electrical Contracting business. We moved to Dunsborough from Perth 3 years ago.
When and why did Merchant & Maker open its doors?
We opened in the April school holidays earlier this year and kind of fell into shop-life by default haha… It was a combination bore partly out of loss of no longer having a General Store in town to run into for all the essentials, and also partly because we had almost secured a premises in town that I had planned to lease last year for a shared creative studio space for photography, creative workshops etc However, at the last minute that particular space became no longer available. We looked around at other empty buildings and nothing seemed to feel quite right. Then in December we stood outside of the windows of our lonely, bare and empty old general store and thought, why not? and decided to bring it back!
Having spent my childhood and my last 10 years of adulthood in Dunsborough, the general store has always been my favourite "go-to" shop. How does Merchant & Maker differ from the stores of years gone by?
Essentially we desired to create a modern day General Store with a bit of an old-school vibe. Whilst we are still a General Store with all of those convenient everyday goods and supplies such as bread, milk and papers, we wanted a carefully curated space that also somehow celebrated the many Makers that our region and beyond is so very fortunate enough to be rich in. We didn’t want to predominantly stock mass produced ranges, but more the small-batch pieces made by the hands of locals from near and not too far, supporting fledgling makers where suitable, as they find their way into a wider market. Amongst the general items you will find things from old-fashioned themed toys to temporary tattoos, from lollies to
linen, confetti filled helium balloons to fishing bait, from seasonal publications to in-season cold-pressed juices, from rice to reels and gourmet artisan wares. In the past the General Store has changed hands a few times and we are grateful to those who have gone before us in serving our community, we only hope we can look after our locals and visitors alike in the best way possible. In our small community we love that we can all help each other out and that there is room for everyone here in town. We hope to fill the gaps where we see when it comes to practical, simple and stylish supply and need.
Who's the Merchant and who's the Maker?!!
So we came up with our name over family Christmas Dinner:)
With the definition of a Merchant in mind, as in, ‘a trader, a storekeeper, a buyer and seller of commodities’ we felt that that covered part of the equation. ‘Merchant’ in a word covers our general supply range and one half of us as owners.
That, teamed with works of Makers from near and not too far, we concluded that those two particular words best represented the ‘who’ of what we are about.
Personally speaking however, we joke that Craig is the Merchant, (he’s just better at the business & trade side of things) and I’m the Maker (I’m often found tinkering and making things, loving all things creative, something I can’t help but do!)
Describe M & M in 3 words…
Simple, Practical, Stylish
What's in store....any locally-made products?
We are all about supporting local livelihoods, there’s plenty of products from close to home here in store including: Crunch Preserves, Yallingup Woodfired Bread, Yallingup Organics, Foley’s Frothing Fermentations, Bahen & Co, Hobo & Hatch, Sarmarie Designs, Enliven Organics, Livity Margaret River, Raw Weave, Cinnamon Girl Spices, Busselton Eggs, Nannup Honey to name a few…
What's been your biggest seller since opening?
Other than the everyday essentials such as the bread, milk and papers our Truffle & Mushroom Ravioli practically walks out the door along, with our natural fibre blend blankets and shawls by local label Hobo & Hatch.
Tell us about your upcoming Winter Workshops…
Winter is a sacred time for us down here in our beautiful south. As visitors lessen and and town quietens off somewhat it’s a great time for locals to come out of the woodwork, to gather together in a place of warmth and creativity. We wanted a space to do just that! Our winter workshops will range from food to writing to making and doing and learning. We love the idea of keeping hands busy and hearts happy in what can sometimes be a long and lonely season.
What do you love about the south west?
Well that list would be endless! SO much to love
Where lush green landscapes meet russet rocks and turquoise seas, where folks will lift a hand from the steering wheel whilst driving on quiet roads to give a wave to a passerby or at least to stop to give a hand if in need.
But mostly just because it has always only ever felt like Home.
South west restaurant/cafe: La Casina
Beach: Point Picquet