More About me
My name is Erin Madeley, I’m the owner and organiser of Perth Makers Market. For those who want to learn more about me - read on!
It was 2008 and I started working at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), where I remained for the next 9 years working between Human Resources and Emergency Management. During that period I also got married, bought a house, had two children and started Perth Makers Market before giving up my role at PMH at the end of 2016.
When I became pregnant the first time I was very ill and I was trying to find a way to keep my mind active. There is only so much tv you can watch and books you can read before you start to go a little crazy! I started becoming more involved in crafting as a way to pass the time. Initially I learnt sewing and embroidering from my mother as a child, who has always been very creative herself throughout my life, and comes from a family full of creative people.
My medium for creativity quickly became… socks! It’s a little unusual, but began when I made a sock monkey for a friend who was having a baby, and I discovered that I love making them. Someone then asked if I sold my sock toys and I figured “why not?”! I then started making more, creating my own designs for different sock animals, and opened an Etsy store and started attending markets as a seller myself. As a stallholder I found it very frustrating when trying to apply to markets and with how many of them are run. It was difficult to get in to many markets as they have permanent stallholders, and therefore don’t take new businesses. Communication was poor and the high quality markets in Perth, whilst really amazing events, were way more expensive than someone starting out could afford. Not only that, but as someone making a purely handmade product it was next to impossible to compete with products that were either imported or manufactured overseas due to the difference in price point.
I had been thinking that running a market is something that I could do; and that we could use more high quality handmade market south of the river. Based on my experience as a stallholder, I wanted to create an event with a strong community focus, that showcased the amazing talent of artisans across WA, created opportunities for new crafters to be involved in a large, high-quality market, and has an exciting, vibrant atmosphere to attract thousands of visitors - as well as being strictly locally handmade (as at the time there was no such market in Perth). All I needed was a suitable venue…
In the middle of 2015, when taking my youngest son to the playground at Heathcote I realised that it had the potential to be an amazing venue for a handmade market. At this stage it was still just an idea I had, and I’d not done any research or planning – or even discussed my idea with my husband. I popped into the Museum and Gallery on site and asked the question “do you hire the site out?” The answer was yes, and what did I have in mind? I outlined my basic idea and the response I received was hugely enthusiastic. After putting together some costings, making some agreements with the City of Melville for use of the space, and finding enough capital to fund an initial event, we set a date for our first event, 5 months later in February 2016. This left a lot of work to do! The organisation, find enough stallholders and promote so that there were enough visitors to make the first event a success.
Since the beginning of 2016, Perth Makers Market has been operating an exclusively locally handmade market at Heathcote Cultural Precinct, along with occasional markets in other locations around Perth. Our markets have a strong community focus, with a special focus on providing free space for community groups and non-profits to engage with the community.
Since our first market in 2016 we have gone from having just over 70 stalls and approximately 1500 visitors, to an average of 170 stalls per market and an average visitor attendance of approximately 4500 visitors per market.
In 2018 I started hosting a radio show on the new online streaming station; Boss Mode Radio. This weekly show is called Makers Market Scene and focuses on highlighting the talented creative community we have here in Perth, Western Australia (and hopefully beyond as we get more established). Each week I interview someone on the show to learn their story. These people are either makers, artists, gallery curators, shop owners or specialists in their field who have knowledge that can help the handmade community. We hear their story of how they got started and what is their passion, as well as having them share their Top 5 Tips with our listeners to help people grown their own handmade business. Each week we also let you know where you can find and engage with handmade whether that is through attending an art exhibition, open studios, craft workshops or (of course) - markets!
I also am passionate about teaching handmade businesses the skills they need to take their business to the next level, so we have started offering workshops teaching small business skills to the handmade community. Of course, anyone can come along and learn (it's not just for those who make their own products), but we do tailor content towards those who are makers.
*Phew!* that's a lot! If you'd like me to tell you more or if I've missed anything, let me know!
- Erin Madeley