2/154 Sheridan Street, Cairns
ABN 19 671 966 536
Handmade Cans is a quirky, funky, fake grassed retail space for creative people in the Cairns region. It is open 6 days a week, with boutique hours, and is situated right next to the very fabulous Flying Monkey Café.
Handmade Cans has been in operation for 2 years now.
Operating on a small commission and weekly rental, it holds the market edge as the only place in Cairns currently only selling items made by creative folk from the Cairns region!
Handmade Cans has over 75 suppliers, and those suppliers are moving and changing each month. Stock is managed through a paper based system, with each supplier having their own code. Accounts are done monthly, and paid into bank accounts. On average, the store moves over 1000 items per month! Huge!
Handmade Cans is fun, funky and innovative. We have already popped up once over the road, to accommodate and play with bigger furniture and art items. It was heaps of fun, and allowed our stockists to really play with their interior design and merchandising skills. We have capacity to run skill sharing, capacity building workshops, however space and costs have slowed this down considerably. We are also about to launch a Cairns Book Club – promoting local authors and assisting with their book sales. This is exciting and a real chance to spotlight the awesome in our community.
Our market is huge. We cater to anyone wanting quality, reasonably priced, handmade goods. Facebook tells me our audience is between 24 and 54, and mostly women. Accordingly, the store trades very well in children’s and women’s clothes, décor items, artwork and jewellery.
Currently, there are a few challenges to our business model. The first is space – Handmade Cans is in a small shop front, which limits stock we can keep on site. We also have very limited storage space – which means we can’t hold stock for our suppliers. The second is our location – parking is consistently an issue in the area, and it goes completely quiet after 3. Also impacting on our trade is the amount of local boutiques now stocking handmade ranges to fill out their stores at minimal cost to them. And the emergence of more markets, focussing just on handmade, also steals our exclusivity. None of that we begrudge, we are just acknowledging that these things are impacting on our trade. We are also a luxury item store, which means our trade drops when bills are due, school is going back, rates are due, unemployment is high.
Moving forward, in order to build and grow, Handmade Cans will need to work on some of these concerns. .
We are investigating moving sales to the online sphere. Stockists will be invited to supply a Handmade Cans only line, and that will be listed and marketed through the site and social media to build the audience across Australia and the globe. This has the double benefit of creating a reason to visit the Can – to get the limited edition items.
We are also hoping to market test a more central location, though the Urban Spaces Program being put into action by Cairns Regional Council. This will allow us to check our stock in the tourist market, and capture more walk by traffic. Watch this space!
Additionally – Handmade Cans is also really lucky with it’s presence in the print media. We have regular pick up of media releases, and Gerlinda is a supporter of all things local and we get a feature in the fashion section of the Cairns Eye every now and again. Oasis Magazine are also partners, and they keep us engaged in every issue, which is fabulous.
Handmade Cans has a huge fan base, and lots of good will in the community. We act as a hub linking small businesses to vital services, giving business support, adding to the social media hype for the region, sharing the love of things handmade.
It’s all things community, and all things handmade. With fun, laughter and creativity. It’s gold!
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