A Space 2 B!

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By Justyna Piechutowska


Well it’s been over two months since this amazing pop-up shop opened its doors on the 23rd of August, at 231 Carlisle St, St Kilda East, and it’s proving to be a hit with the locals, as I witnessed off-hand a curious lady looking eagerly into the colourful double shop front, on a Monday when the shop was closed. She remarked how wonderful it looked and that she needed to come back here tomorrow when it would be open!

Space2b is a brain-child of Janine Lawrie, a local (who is its founder, and a textile and fashion designer), and Mariam Issa (a story teller, writer, activist and the founder of RAW-Australia; a garden in Brighton East), who herself came to Australia as a Somali refugee 15 years ago. They both decided to keep this project in the South Eastern suburbs and looked for a good spot to place it in to test the water. Carlisle St seemed a natural choice; with its eclectic array of shops and a good mix of cultures.

This pop-up shop has been designed to help migrants and refugees network and make connections within the community while using their existing skills in textiles, designing, sewing, creating items of clothing, jewellery, etc… But that’s not all, they can also exchange ideas and build up their language skills all while working together with other designers, which support and mentor them in creativity and business – That’s where all the proceeds from the shop go.

Their main goal was to connect people, because as Janine said: “People need connections, without connections you’re a nobody”. She, along with Mariam, want to give the sense of belonging and connecting back to the people who, for various reasons, had to leave their native lands and come here to start a new life. Their goal is to merge migrants and refugees into the community to become a part of it, so they are not seen as ‘The Migrants/Refugees’ but as equals and as an integral part of the community. Their products are displayed and put out equally with other established designers.

They have so far wowed the local crowd, who love the space because of the happy, cosy and positive vibe it radiates. At the moment the shop has the lease till January 2015, but is looking for a permanent shop/space to call home. So if anyone knows of a great location or is willing to lease one out for this wonderful project, it would be much appreciated!

Next on their menu is the Christmas Design Market held at Space2b on November 29th, 11am – 5pm. Where there will be gorgeous gifts for sale made by all the designers; activities for kids; and food, coffee and cakes!

Looking for unique products or workshops with proceeds going to a very good cause? Make your way down to Carlisle St, and check out this amazing space! You won’t be disappointed, because it really is the Space to Be!
231 Carlisle St, St Kilda East
For more information contact Janine Lawrie on 0413678144



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