Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Red Bamboo heads south!

What a year it has been, and the new year seems to be following along very closely. The latest news from this end is we have bought our very first house (Yay!) and....... it's in Tasmania!
Tassie has always been a much loved destination, and after a weeks holiday there a few months back, the seed to buy was planted (mainly by Drew's cousin and his family who are living there now).
We were lucky enough to find some lovely houses and do a few inspections while we were there and the one we are buying was one of those.
We think she is very pretty!......
Built in 1900 with 3 huge bedrooms and a massive lounge and kitchen, she is zoned Urban Residential and so we can run a business from her if we like.
Needs a little TLC (especially the bathroom and toilet) but her structure is solid and for the money we are paying, she is way above what we could ever hope to afford here in Brisbane.
While Drew and I will be happy for a new town to play in, it will be hardest to leave the awesome people I have met through the markets. I hope to keep in touch with as many as I can.
I will definitely be continuing with red bamboo down there and Drew's cousins wife (Gemma of 'Loz and Dinny') is already a market goer and is scoping out the best ones to go to as we speak!
I will always be able to post any orders for people and will be aiming to get a website up and running as soon as I can.
We are looking at a February move and so our time is speeding away already! Thanks to everyone who has supported us and my little venture. Special thanks go to Rachael and Leasl of Designers Emporium, Cathy from Peg and Kate, Wendy and Sharon from Mellow Moods Soy Candles and all the other brilliant stallholders. Best wishes for the Christmas season and a great new year to us all.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Christmas comes but once a year.....

Well, Christmas is racing towards us once again and it is a great time to to find bargains - if you know where to look for them.Personally, I intend to not set foot inside any large shopping centre if I can help it (I managed this last year to my delight!).

I have added these little guest sized soaps to my repetiore - the mould design is called 'Fleurish' and they look a celtic design to me.
I have a lady who wanted them as soaps for her guesthouse in the Moroccan Rhassoul (rhassoul clay, nutmeg, orange and cinnamon) scent. I have also put them on my market stall and dusted them with a lovely gold mica to give them a little 'bling' for Christmas.
I hope people like them.
It's a bit of a challenge to know how much to make of everything. On one hand, you want to have the stock there to sell - on the other, you don't want to be left with a lot of leftover stock to try and shift in the quieter months early in the year. Especially with perishable items like the soaps that can lose their aromas or sometimes their looks (scratches, dullness etc). But fingers crossed we will all have a great season and make enough money so we can go buy other marketeers goodies!
Be well.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Problematic weather patterns....

Finished a batch of vegetable glycerine soaps of the other week and have been waiting for them to cure. Unfortunately, this is one of the problems you can have when you make your own soaps....

It's called 'beading', 'sweating' or 'just plain annoying'!!

Often it happens when too much moisture is lost when making the batch (overheating or not enough added into the mix). This time it's actually due to the hot and humid weather we are having here in Brisbane at the moment.

Sometimes you can get away with no troubles whatsoever, but other times......

Best case scenario, the beading is not bad (or fatal) and you can salvage the batch... worst case, the beading ruins the entire batch and you either rebatch or start from scratch.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Introducing Hot Toffee + Peg & Kate

Just come back from the Melbourne Cup version of the Designers Emporium Markets (bit quiet) but got to chat to some of the other awesome stallholders, so not a loss at all!
Two of the talented folks are Nicole from 'Hot Toffee' and Cathy from 'Peg & Kate'.

Hot Toffee ( is an amazing collection of fired glass jewellery inspired by Japanese Art and Design and influenced by Australian Beaches. They are wonderfully colourful and quite intricate when you get to look at her pieces up close.
Working from her home studio west of Brisbane, Nicole creates little pieces of art, that you can wear!

She has stockists throughout Australia - in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales as well as Queensland. She has just joined us at Designers Emporium Markets and is wonderful company!
Peg & Kate ( has been created by the lovely Cathy ('Peg' was her Grandmother, no longer with us and 'Kate' was a nickname she used to call Cathy - much to Cathy's mothers dismay!).
Cathy hand sews these great rolls for childrens colouring in pencils, chair bags, book covers and also sells the best colouring in pencils (Lyra) that make me want to sit down and colour in all day!

Her kits are very popular and she is doing well at the Markets with the littlies.

Her daughter, Rose often comes along to different markets with her - but I believe Rose likes to see what other stalls are doing and is very good at borrowing money from Mum to buy lots of goodies!

Thats what I am finding is one of the best things about doing markets - the people you meet. What a clever and friendly bunch of people. Now I just need to make some money so I can buy all the lovely things from other peoples stalls!

The Markets hit TV!

Just got a call from one of the lovely ladies who organises the Designers Emporium Markets - we are doing a Melborne Cup special market tomorrow - she let me know that the local Brisbane television show, 'Extra', from Channel 7 will be coming along as well to shoot footage of us all.

'Very exciting' was my first thought, followed very quickly by, 'what does one wear for their first television outing?!'. Actually, my second... the first was a TV ad for a spa I once worked at!

I beleive they are doing a special on Christmas Markets around town, so fingers crossed it will mean a rise in business for us all, as the past few weeks have been a little quiet.

I am in the process of making up another batch of one of my favourite soaps - the 'resting woman' soap.

I fell in love with the picture of the mould from one of my suppliers and she is even more lovely in the 'flesh'. I chose to scent her with beautiful Ylang Ylang, Lime and Bergamot essential oils and colour her a soft, pale green. Just sublime!
As much as I would love to have her out for all the world to see, I package her in a clear bag for her own protection, but have a small sample soap for people to smell available.
I don't usually go for moulded soaps, but she is one exception.
I hope others love her as much as I do!
Ciao for now!


Sunday, 26 October 2008

Getting ready for Market

There seems to be a Market happening every time I look around right now! It's still a lot of fun, but it is also a challenge to keep my stock levels replenished and ordering the right amounts from my suppliers.

I have been blessed to be given an order from a lovely lady by the name of Carol. Carol owns and runs an online Gift Hamper business called '' (well worth a look) and she came across my stall at a market a few months ago.

As these things happen, just as I go to fill Carols' order, my suppliers change two of the containers I have been using since last year - and they are two that Carol really likes!!
I also have a few orders coming in from some of my Clients at the Spa I work at and another one from the wonderful Raylee (my hubby's Mum!) for friends and colleagues as well.

So, I have been making batches of soaps, lotions and lip balms the past few weeks and thought I would make an effort to get some photos to show some of the process.

Yes.. this is my kitchen table! These are some of the products I have made up in the past few weeks awaiting labels and wrapping.

The 'tottles' (upside down bottles) are now white instead of clear bodied. I am hoping to be able to get the clear ones back as I think they look better (and I can see which lotion or body polish is which!), but unless I buy 10 000 of them in one go..... the chances are slim!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

red bamboo is created!

It all started with an opportunity to become part of a temporary Artist Store at Portside Wharf on Brisbane's river late last year.
There some wonderful Artists involved, some of whom are great friends, and it seemed a great chance to 'dip my toe in the water' and see if people would like what I created.

We had a fantastic space, rent free courtesy of the kind Portside Wharf Body Corporate, and it became a co-op venture with everyone helping to man the store when they could.

It was called 'Schmik' and the idea was to showcase local talent and handmade items. We had jewelllery from gifted people such as Marisa Molin, Eliza Tee and Pia Robinson, paintings by Simon DeGroot, digital artwork by Janice Kuskowsky (sorry if I have spelt your surname wrong Jan!) and photography by Romy Willing, plus much more. What was originally a 2 month timeframe stretched out to almost 6 and so Artists left and new ones joined.

My original product line included Body Lotions, Soap and Lip Balms in Chocolate & Fig and Vanilla and Red Grape varieties. After consistantly good feedback, this grew to include Body Polishes, Candles and then more varieties of Soaps. Such fun!

We each had a great space to display our works within the store. Mine seemed to keep growing as I added more products.

The biggest trick seemed to be not to let my imagination get away from me and end up creating dozens ot differnet soaps and lotions!

The feedback I received was great, even if it was something a person didn't like. It gave me information to build on.

I started looking out for another way to get my products to the public and began researching different Weekend Markets. I orignially found one that sounded just right over at Everton Park, called Designers Emporium Markets. I just missed out on getting in with them, as they had another lady doing similar products, and so I moved on to the Manly Creative Markets.

Since I am still working and often have different courses on, I needed something that wasn't every weekend and was affordable for someone just starting out. Manly was perfect.

The other stallholders are a great bunch and we have a lot of fun down there. My range grew more and more and continues to be ridicuously fun to create.

I hope I can continue to shape and grow my little business and I look forward to seeing what else I can create in the near future!

Love and light


Tuesday, 7 October 2008

redbamboo @ Designers Emporium

redbamboo has arrived at Designers Emporium!

This is a wonderful Market run by two clever ladies who decided to showcase local, handmade goods. They veto everyone coming on board and ensure a high level of quality and variety. No two stalls sell the same things.

I applied for this Market many months ago, but missed out to another lady who had a similar range of products - I thought at the time I didn't have Insurance to cover me and she did. As it turns out, I had it all along (it's part of my Insurance for Massage Therapy)! Wasn't meant to be.

The lady eventually moved on and Leasl and Rachael got in touch to see if I was still interested. Oh yeah! The Markets run the first Sunday of each month and my first day was last Sunday (5th October). We hold it in a permanent marquee at the Everton Park Hotel and there is a great variety and standard of clever things to buy.

It was a little warm (Summer is speeding towards us), but we had fans and opened up the sides of the marquee. We had music piped through all day and the Hotel supplies the tables! So much less hassle for all us stallholders!

Plus there was a bar just across from us, so no complaints here!

Meeting the other stallholders from this Market and from Manly has definitely been one of the greatest joys about this whole experience. What a wonderful group of people and such a wide range of personalities and backgrounds.

The next step is to make redbamboo a sustainable business (at present there is still more money going out than in!) and to continue to grow and refine my products.

Each batch I make teaches me something a little more (sometimes what not to do ever again!) and I am still loving every minute!