Hi everyone! I’m Tanya. I’m a community worker by trade, political tragic, social media addict, exercise try hard. I am the proud creative director at Handmade Cans. Our brand started a few years ago, and is progressing into a lovely community hub, full of passionate creatives, getting a kick out of making amazing handmade items. It’s not my brainchild, but it’s turned into my baby! We work as a store front, open 6 days a week with a huge social media presence, selling amazing items, all as unique as the people who make them.

Handmade Cans operates with some rent money from stakeholders, and a commission from each sale. We have over 70 people involved and it’s truly amazing, even if I really hate the paperwork. We can be found on Sheridan Street, in the awesome Flying Monkey Café, opposite Cairns High. You can also find us on facey, Instagram and twitter.

Handmade Cans is quirky, fun, interesting and ever changing. Nothing is ever the same, every day we get new stock, new ideas and new customers. It’s a fabulous place to sell your goods, share your time, and spend some money!! Supporting locals is what we are all about.

Now, there is more to the Can than just a store front. We do support, training, market testing, coaching and encouraging behind the scenes. We offer a shop to come and gain experience in, and a place to call home, while you explore the handmade world. It is loud, it is crazy, and sometimes there are wars and bitching! However, it’s all in good fun, and everyone plays fair.

My philosophy on life is really guided by a passion for community development, my commitment to our community and our family, and making the world a safer space to just be yourself. That sounds a little like a walking cliché of a lefty, and I guess I am! Perhaps I was meant to be born into the era when feminism really kicked off?!! Eva Cox said, in the 1995 Boyer Lecture, ‘Let me put my values on the table: I believe we are responsible for each other, as well as ourselves. I act for others so I can live with myself. This position runs counter to some of the prattling on about the politics of difference by postmodernists who seem to deny that we can identify injustice, or that we can act to prevent it. I believe it is up to us, all of us, to make up our minds about the world we want and to take some responsibility to make this world happen. ‘ I’ve taken the bullets, I’ve stood on the front line, I’ve made policy, I’ve advocated and I’ve held the hands of some amazingly strong people handed a really tough hand in life. And it’s been truly inspirational.

Handmade Cans will no doubt change pace this year. I’m heading back to work at some stage, to keep my journey alive. That might mean sharing the HC journey with a partner, and relying on the community to help prop it up. It might mean finding a way to hire people to work in the store – something I hope we can afford. Who knows, but I’ll be fighting really hard to keep the doors open, and I hope you will join me. That does mean, as creatives, you will have to play a part. Brace yourself – you will find it rewarding and fun.

The long term vision is for a sustainable business model – utilising the income from rent to stabilise the store costs, and the commission to pay wages and manage marketing and branding. Then perhaps some pop up stores, some expansion, seeing more training both for our Can members and the Can community. It will also be about coaching people and supporting them follow their dreams. And supporting and linking more with the creative community in the region and across the state. It will be fantastic and fabulous! I urge you join in, in one way or another!!!!

Now, a little bit about me personally. I’m lucky to have married my soul mate and biggest supporter, even though I drive him nuts! I’m a REALLY proud Mother, daughter, sister, aunt and I have the best friendship network a girl could wish for! I drink far too much wine, and wish I exercised more. I do like shiny pretty things, and I swear a f*cking truckload. I’ve trained and studied with some amazing mentors and have my masters and law degree to lock down soon…. To add to my collection of paperwork. I’m a policy tragic, and love a good debate. I also play in online forums for fun. I try not to take life seriously, and I do battle to keep my mental health stable. I’ve lived a million lives, and don’t mind tackling the big goals. My resume is a dream – I’ve been blessed with cool jobs all over Qld. And I’ve even run for election once – next time it’s to get the PM’s role.