Melbourne’s retail scene (and particular it’s fashion scene), has always been an incredibly eclectic place driven by wonderfully creative people who are all looking for their own unique piece of the puzzle. Whether you are a consumer looking to partake in Chadstone’s Mecca shopping experience or you are looking for a quirkier, more boutique experience, Melbourne has something for you. What I particularly love about Melbourne are the retailers themselves. The individuals who are looking to create something truly unique in the market, to not only differentiate domestically, but to also compete in the ever expanding global market place. In today’s cluttered environment, it is becoming increasingly important for retailers to stand out. One family who certainly knows how to bring their own unique style to the market; are the Munros. The Munros are the brains behind three of my favourite businesses; Tractor Home, Pan After and After Store. Many of you may already be aware of these businesses, as they have been profiled in Broadsheet and Design files, but for those of you who don’t, you are truly missing out.
Tractor Home is a wholesaling business founded by husband and wife duo, Mandy and Michael. The business specialises in selling a wide range of gifts and home wares from Africa and its surrounds. Most of the products are produced by local crafters who artistically turn old rubbish into amazing objects for the rest of the world to enjoy. By marketing these products Tractor Home is aiming to create employment for disadvantaged individuals and empower the lives of the people within these troubled communities. These communities have no backup from social services and rely on our selling their goods so that they can survive. The couple ensure that all artisans and craft people are paid fairly, at a rate that they mutually agree on. Every product chosen as part of the range are hand crafted and therefore each piece is unique.
Warehouse location : Rear 126 Franklin Street, Melbourne
(by appointment only)
After Store is the brain child of daughter, Phoebe Munro who decided to open shop after spending time travelling with her mum sourcing objects from South Africa, Mexico and Cambodia. After Store is situated on Therry Street near Queen Vic’s vibrant market, and is a wonderful showcase of artisan talent and creativity. Clay skulls greet you at the door and works from local artists and artisans, including her brother Hamish Munro’s jewellery, feature throughout the space. You may have seen Hamish’s work in our previous blog on his exhibition, Binding Faraday, in design space, Piece of Eight. Phoebe has left the store quite rustic with exposed brick walls and concrete flooring which only add to the store’s charm. Phoebe cleverly steers away from the conventional idea of a gift or homeware shop, with her range of products including woven African blankets and industrial furniture to pendants, seeds and mexican candles. The philosophy behind the store is simple: everything is handmade or recycled, showcasing a melange of crafty pieces from designers around the globe.
Location : 99 Therry Street, Melbourne
Open : Tuesday, Thursday – Sunday 10-5pm
Pan After is the ‘love child’ of these two businesses, a space full of wonderful unique pieces from around the world whilst owning its own unique spirit and personality. This new space incorporates industrial and vintage furniture, sourced by Michael, Mandy’s husband, who has a passion for salvaging and restoring industrial objects. The store showcases a mix of the very best of Tractor Home and After Store’s favourite products and is essentially an extension of After Store for the family.
Occupying a huge, loft-like second-floor space down a laneway not far from the Queen Victoria Market, Pan After stocks a great range homewares, furniture, garden products, soft furnishings, basketry, light shades, textiles, props and furniture. The lineup is very international – there’s linen from Japan, homewares from the USA, candles from France, textiles from India, jewellery from Africa, as well as the work of many local designers.
Rear 126 Franklin Street, Melbourne
Open : Thursday – Sunday, 10 – 4pm.
Director of Brand Projects
Images sourced from Broadsheet and the Design Files.