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One of the dangers of owning a shop filled with desirable objects is that you could end up buying them all for yourself.
Thea Bollington from Meet Gather Collect in Aranda says she limits herself to the occasional piece that she can’t live without.
“I’ve definitely bought a few jewellery pieces and some ceramics as well, we’ve got a couple of those in our house,” she laughs. “I really enjoy bringing something I love into my home, knowing that I’ve got something that is handmade and high quality and no one else can have it.”
Thea and her husband Pete opened Meet Gather Collect in 2015 and they have been overwhelmed by the positive response from the local community.
Meet Gather Collect is in good company at the recently revitalised Aranda shops, with Two Before Ten and The Bolt Bar also opening last year and Illeso yoga and dance studio starting classes this month. This location of Meet Gather Collect reflects its ethos of supporting local projects.
“My husband started a furniture business when we were based in Melbourne and we wanted to bring some of that back to Canberra when we moved here,” Thea says. “We’ve found there are so many amazing Australian products so we decided we wanted to have a shop so that everyone can enjoy them.”
Thea is focussed on sourcing sustainable and locally made jewellery, furniture and homewares, and Pete builds custom furniture right here in Canberra. She believes there is a strong network of artists around Australia, and shops like Meet Gather Collect are part of the connection between the makers and their customers.
“We have a distinctive style in what we do; a little bit of colour, mixing authentic, classic styles with contemporary,” she says. “We look for great craftsmanship as well as something that is eye grabbing. Because our products are made in Australia, you’ve got that sustainability aspect. We enjoy selling products that are going to last, not end up thrown away.”
Meet Gather Collect is hoping to expand into fashion in the future, but for now Thea spends her days making sure the shop is full of her favourite things.
“We have quite a lot of different brands, at the moment my favourites are the amazing hand painted pots from a family up in Brisbane called Arcand. We also recently got some great new jewellery from a lady down in Tasmania. We just love everything to be unique.”
What: Meet Gather Collect
Where: Aranda Shops, 68 Bandjalong Crescent, Aranda
When: Open Wednesday-Friday from 10-5 and weekend from 10am-4pm
All photos by Rachael Cunningham