Blackinkk started their Finders Keepers journey back in 2016, debuting their thoughtfully made Kangaroo leather wallets and accessories in Brisbane. Since then they have expanded their stall size, travelled the FK tour and grown their business, all without compromising on quality or craftsmanship. In the lead-up to Brisbane Autumn Winter, we thought it was the perfect time to chat to leather worker Varun on debut advice, stall success and future goals.
Read on for some glistening golden nuggets plus don’t forget applications for Brisbane SS19 close this Friday! Don’t miss out, apply now here.
Tell us a little about your label and when did you know you were ready to apply as a debut?
After tinkering in leatherwork as a hobby for a few years and making items for friends and family, I took the leap and started Blackinkk in 2015 with the vision of making kangaroo leather wallets that are slim, aesthetically appealing and long-lasting. Looking back now, there were readiness doubts on various occasions but there was also strong support and wise advice from my wife to just give-it-a-go rather than waiting for it all to be perfect.
I knew Finders Keepers was the right platform to present my products to customers alongside other very talented makers. The brand awareness that Finders Keepers has, coupled with the strong and supportive community, were key factors as well. I wasn’t successful with my first application but was lucky to be accepted when I applied the second time.
Top 3 stall design tips for making the most of 1.5m? And how has your stall set up progressed since?
Our setup has gone through immense change over the last couple of years as we have progressed from a debut 1.5m stall, to a 2m and now a 4m stall. It is a continuous work in progress with new ideas and minor (sometimes major) improvements at every market. Our top tips for making the most of the 1.5m space are:
- Mock set-up before the market – this is not just to see how it will look but also to visualise how customers will interact with your space and products
- Less is sometimes better – be innovative with your display and don’t feel like you have to fill every inch of it. Keeping it simple and clean can sometimes be much more appealing.
- Keep a thorough checklist – we keep it all online in Evernote.
The biggest lesson for us has been to be original, be ourselves, and stay true to our little brand and products.
What’s the biggest lesson or ah-ha! moment you’ve had being a part of Finders Keepers? What do you enjoy most about it?
The biggest lesson for us has been to be original, be ourselves, and stay true to our little brand and products. With so much to look at under the one roof, we feel this ingenuity and honesty comes across in the stall, our products and all other things on a market weekend which helps us better connect with customers.
We absolutely love the face-to-face feedback and reactions to our products – there is nothing like it and it cannot be captured online or elsewhere. This feedback has helped us immensely in making better products and improving what we offer.
Finders Keepers has played a critical role in helping us understand our target customers, their needs, wants, concerns – which has been invaluable in building our brand and creating our products.
Tell us a little about your progression and growth since debuting at Finders Keepers. What can we expect to discover at your Finders Keepers stall this AW19?
Finders Keepers has played a critical role in helping us understand our target customers, their needs, wants, concerns – which has been invaluable in building our brand and creating our products. The markets have also provided us with exposure to potential retail stockists and opportunities to grow outside of the market weekend.
In 2019, we plan to introduce new and improved products focusing on easier everyday carry and better travel. A YouTube channel is also likely… maybe. It is going to be a great year so stay tuned…
If you could give our new stallholders one golden nugget of advice what would it be?
As makers and designers, we are passionate about the products we create and making sure that same passion also goes into designing the stall space is equally important. Treat it as your pop-up shop and plan how the customers will easily walk in and around, as well as flow through and interact with the space.