Handcrafted from the Heart at Venue 114

Image source: Photographer Megan Gill

Embracing individuality over mainstream, Venue 114’s Mega Youth Market is empowering kids to find self-expression in the handmade and second-hand, as Georgia Beard discovers.

Amid a commercial ecosystem of formulaic designs, mass-produced brands and neatly packaged aesthetics, an affinity for personal style is emerging – and young people are leading the charge.

You’ll find them among the bric-a-brac of every op shop and flea market, in search of the original, the eclectic and the unapologetic.

They know individuality can’t be bought from department stores and fashion retailers. Instead, they’re finding reflections of their personalities in all things second-hand and handmade!

There is power in wearing threads and accessories you won’t find on anyone else; unearthing lovingly made décor to outlast seasonal junk; or collecting books, vinyls and CDs long out of print.

When you take a step back, you find all these treasures come together to represent an outward expression of the internal self.

The Sunshine Coast’s youngest generations have mastered this self-expression, going treasure hunting in the first thrift market for young people by young people last summer!

And it’s all thanks to the passionate team at Venue 114.

The Mega Youth Market saw bargain hunters empowered to shop sustainably and authentically, rifling through collections of repurposed clothes, books and games.

Alongside preloved pieces, young artisans and entrepreneurs displayed a myriad of handcrafted wares. From crochet to candles to jewellery to upcycled surfboards, their designs were rich with passion, imagination and sustainability.

As the owner of rahnistarbeads, Rahni Coulter first offered her beaded jewellery, seaglass art and paintings at markets in Moffat Beach. When she joined last year’s Mega Youth Market, her sales more than doubled!

Her online business bloomed out of lockdown boredom after she and her dad began collecting sea glass during their beach visits and gluing the pieces into portraits of whales and turtles.

“I started creating the jewellery for my friends this year because I thought it would be a fun thing to do,” she said.

“I get the majority of my beads from op shops. I crimp a ring or a lobster clip to fishing line, and then I thread the beads through once I’ve measured how much I need.”

Her designs emerge from improvisation – and a little inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest. Now at 14, she’s experimenting with beaded charms for phones and seaglass frames for mirrors in time for this year’s Mega Youth Market!

In the same space, we’ll find 13-year-old Dakota Hasted’s handmade earrings, keychains, cow hide coasters and candles under Coco’s Gifts.

“I get most of the cow hide from The Skin Thing, and it’s all made out of scraps,” she said. “I also get wooden backs for the coasters and glue it all together with super glue.

“For the candles, I melt down candle wax, add scents and colours and pour them into jars with new candle wicks.”

Borne from the intersection of free time and creativity, Dakota’s business is now expanding to multiple marketplaces – both online and across the region!

When developing the Mega Youth Market, Venue 114’s Marketing and Development Officer Kimberley Rider found young people were seeking stalls at larger markets on the Sunshine Coast which required heavy parental commitment.

“We wanted to offer a space that was indoor with plenty of facilities and that connected kids with similar interests,” she said. “Whilst parents attend with their children, it’s a more hands-on experience for the kids.”

At only $10 per stall, Mega Youth Market hosted 40 stalls in Venue 114’s socially and environmentally responsible event space, recognised through their EarthCheck Evaluate accreditation.

“It’s well documented that our younger members of the community are much more conscious of their environmental footprint and have a deeper awareness of how their choices impact,” Kimberley said.

“We hope to have this event on a quarterly basis, which means our young stallholders will be able to plan around this and regularly schedule a ‘clear out’ of their quality preloved fashion.”

Mega Youth Market is returning this year on 2 December from 10am to 2pm, upgrading to 50 stalls with a potential extension into the courtyard if demand is high. Venue 114 is also sending out the call for Youth Buskers, the first step in expanding the market’s range of entertainment!

Just in time for Christmas, Mega Youth Market is the perfect source for exclusive gift-shopping while supporting our young creators and keeping our natural environments free of unwanted products.

As they come home with preloved and lovingly made goods, young people will find their own story told in the clothes they wear, the passions they pursue and the spaces they inhabit. It’s one common thread our kids deserve to share!

Mark the date in your diary and support our young creatives.

To find out more, book a stall or nominate for Youth Buskers, email [email protected]

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