Julie Nichols of Handmade Canberra

After serving in the Royal Australian Airforce for ten years and running her own small millinery business, Julie Nichols identified a gap in her local market and founded Handmade Canberra. More than a decade later, Handmade Canberra is an award-winning handmade market that has fast become one of Australia’s largest, independent Australian-made markets. 

Starting from a tiny gathering of 35 stall holders in 2008, Handmade Canberra now supports over 847 small businesses, with their quarterly market held at Canberra’s Exhibition Park showcasing more than 27 stallholders and attracting an average of 20,000 visitors per event. 

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Australia, Julie’s thriving business had to transform itself from a live, physical event. 

Julie’s aptitude for reinvention led to Handmade Canberra’s first curated virtual market. This week they launch their largest yet, the Spring Virtual Market, featuring products from over 400 stallholders, sold through the market’s portal, and delivered straight to Australian doorstops across the country.

REINVENTING OURSELVES ALLOWED US TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT WONDERFUL, CREATIVE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS WITH MULTIPLE PLATFORMS THAT THEY USE TO ATTRACT AND SELL [TO] NEW CUSTOMERS, BOTH LOCALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY

Today, the virtual market attracts the same number of shoppers per event as the live market, with some stallholders – like Honey & Glow – joining the market as veteran community businesses.

Handmade Canberra runs this Saturday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. AEST. Check out the full directory here.  


Interested in self-employment?

Veterans or ADF family members interested in entrepreneurship are encouraged to participate in a free Prince’s Trust Australia Enterprise program.

Are you running a business?

Veteran-community businesses are encouraged to register their business for free with the Veteran Community Business Chamber.

Veteran-community businesses interested in being featured for the campaign are encouraged to complete an Expression of Interest.