Melbourne is a great city to live if you’re a maker, thanks to all the retailers that champion local designers and artists. Next time you’re looking for something special, why not visit one of these boutiques or markets?
Looking for a present? We've compiled the best gift shops and online boutiques Melbourne has to offer. Low on cash? Take a peek at our guide to cheap shopping in Melbourne.
Shops that stock locally made wares
Venture to North Melbourne and you’ll find a ceramic paradise. Guild of Objects is a collaboration between three small batch potters, Brooke Thorn, Chela Edmunds and Tao Oudomvilay, who know how hard it can be to get a small business off the ground and get your work seen by the wider community. Here you’ll be able to support a new generation of Australian makers. They sell tableware, planters, vases, jewellery, clothing and more.
The Food Repository pride themselves on selling those small batch goods you normally have to hunt around for. Selling anything from chai to honey, lentils to hot sauce, they’re all about putting small businesses in the spotlight. Each of the items stocked in-store are handpicked by store owner Joni Marcelis, and are chosen specifically for their sustainable production methods and their use of natural ingredients.
Back in 2005, owner Roula Tazidras opened her small Brunswick East boutique with a vision to stock a carefully curated selection of independent labels from Australia and beyond. These days, Monk House Design is a well-loved fixture on Lygon Street, offering womenswear, accessories and homewares by the likes of Dress Up, Kloke, Base Range and Monk House Design’s very own self-titled and Melbourne-made range of wardrobe staples.
Any plant and homewares store named after a cat is alright by us. Store owner Bree Claffey fills her Brunswick shop with handcrafted work by local makers, like a vase by Melbourne potter Sandra Bowkett, woodfired in Tallarook, or a pastel-coloured ceramic cup by Iranian-born Melbourne artist Elnaz Nourizadeh.
This ain’t your average gift and homewares store. Over the last 14 years, Third Drawer Down have worked with more than 50 Australian big-name artists including Charles Blackman and Del Kathryn Barton in designing everything from tea towels to purses. Some of their fun and colourful products are also made from the folks at Arts Project Australia, who work with artists living with intellectual disabilities.
Did you know that the South Melbourne Market is home to one of the city’s best pop-up design spaces? Tear yourself away from the gourmet food stalls and browse bright homewares at theSuperCool, kooky cycling gear at Spin South Melbourne, colourful brogues at Lost in Seasons and more. The space showcases new Melbourne designers alongside its permanent stalls each month.
Housed in a custom-built space in the CBD, this Melbourne gallery regularly runs exhibitions, workshops and events that showcase the carefully selected collections of local artists. In store, they sell handmade, limited edition jewellery and objets d’art, each piece as striking and bold as the last. They also organise commissions, including wedding rings, by many of their artists.
Head down the coast until you reach Baluk Arts: a non-profit arts organisation owned and run by Indigenous artists from the region. As well as providing support for local Aboriginal artists, Baluk also sells their one-of-a-kind pieces in their shop. Here, you’ll find everything from handcrafted clap sticks made from Mornington Peninsula tea trees to jewellery crafted from natural materials, as well as picture books and paintings.