When Sally Wood and Jo Hetherington cleaned out and removed a resident python from a disused space at the Currumbin Ecovillage on Queensland’s Gold Coast, they thought they were simply setting up a nook for locals to display their lockdown handiwork.
It has evolved into a growing business called The Curated Space, which is not only helping local creativity to flourish but also delivering on world-class sustainability goals and community connection.
Both Wood and Hetherington are long-term Ecovillage residents, and among the first to move into the international award-winning sustainable community that has now grown to 152 houses. The village in the Gold Coast hinterland, yet just seven minutes from Currumbin Beach, is the most awarded estate in Australia with more than 33 accolades, many for its environmental credentials.
“We are only a small village, but we get a lot of people coming through,” Wood said.
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“What we’ve done is really about connection and creativity in the one spot. We need connection as humans and we forget that, we build our homes with fences around them, and often shut ourselves in.
“At the Ecovillage we are a beautifully connected community and our shop that is full of local creativity is one little part of that.”
The Curated Space has found itself sitting right at the intersection of consumer trends such as buy-local, increasing demand for artisan and handmade goods, expectations of transparency about the production process, and desires for sustainability considerations like recycling, zero waste, resale retail and the rise of the circular economy. The Curated Space also carries one more elusive, yet much-desired stock: community connection.
“We run the space to showcase the creativity of locals,” Wood said.
“We just love it, we absolutely love it. We’re finding people coming in are loving it too.
“People can read about who has made the item, and they feel good that they have bought something from someone that they may even know, and that the money is going back into the local community, and they are not contributing to ground fill because we only stock sustainably-made items.”
The shop stocks and sells items that meet the criteria of being local, sustainable, handmade, upcycled or recycled. Funds from sales flow directly back to the local artisans.
The wares that it has curated since opening last April include pottery, jewellery, candles, artwork, wood-turned propagation vases, beeswax wraps, leatherwork, decoupage shells and upcycled furniture.
“We saw that during COVID-19 and lockdown that people were returning to the pottery wheels, the crochet needles were clicking, everybody was starting to get really crafty again and there was so much creativity coming out,” Wood said.
“There are a lot of people who craft in their spare time and they don’t have the time, inclination or know-how to get their business going on a website or social media, it’s so daunting.
“So, they now have somewhere they can bring their items in and we do it all for them.
“We’ve tried to create a sustainable community for people so they feel a part of something and don’t feel overwhelmed by trying to sell and be a business. And then people can come in to buy and see and feel and touch what they’re purchasing rather than just clicking buttons like shopping seems to be these days.”
This article was first published by News Leads.