Featured Business: AGENCY

They say it’s the little things that make a home, especially those that are beautifully designed.

AGENCY, a new store by Craft ACT: Craft & Design Centre, is now open in the bustling suburb of Braddon—in the vibrant Ori Building—celebrating a whole new way of connecting with customers who appreciate quality items that last a lifetime.

Halie Rubenis, Business Development and Retail Manager, who has a Bachelor of Visual Arts in Gold and Silversmithing, sums it up this way: ‘AGENCY is selling a service, experience and lifestyle all in one go. Our innovative business model is set around changing how customers think and how they interact with the store.’

How you ask?

AGENCY supports artists in their professional practice and provide visitors with the opportunity to buy high-quality pieces, many combining beauty with functionality. The store has a broad product offering and showcases the work of a large number of carefully hand-picked designers and artists, some of whom have never sold in Canberra before. Indeed, the work of more than 150 local and Australian designers and artists will rotate through the store to continually refresh stock.

Even more fascinating is that the stock for sale includes anything you see in the store except for the front counter (and the staff of course). That includes the fixtures, fittings, shelving units, lighting, glass tiles recessed into the floor boards and more.

Halie says AGENCY was inspired to put everything up for sale early on when it was selecting suppliers to help with the design and fitout of the space.

‘Craft ACT is a not-for-profit organisation and we needed support to make AGENCY happen. A team of sponsors, each at the top of their game and all passionate about Canberra, got involved in pulling the shop together and we thought “why aren’t we selling their services and products” too?’ says Halie.

And so it came to be that customers can buy, for their own home or office, the store’s beautiful bronze wall hooks designed by Studio Henry Wilson, contemporary LED trackhead lighting by Affinity Lighting, sleek custom patented prism showcases by Designcraft, Ned Moss shelving units with hand-turned brass adjustable feet, which can be customised for any space or need. Customers can even order the coat hangers, which Tom Skeehan has taken to a whole new level.

AGENCY’s other lines feature furniture, fashion, textiles, jewellery, ceramics, homewares, and even custom bikes.

The work of silversmith Sabine Pagan will showcase at AGENCY, as will ceramics by Gail Nichols, fashion design by Corr Blimey, including the collection designer Louisa de Smet launched at FASHFEST 2015, lighting by Rohan Nicol, furniture by Nicholas Fuller, textiles by Al Munro and jewellery/objects d’art by Silver Atom. Even custom bikes by Luke Laffan are available through the AGENCY.

AGENCY will also, from time to time, feature artists and will work with designers and artists on collaborations, including for new product development.

‘We want to get our designers and artists used by architects and interior designers,’ says Halie, ‘and we want to encourage people to shop local and invest in quality items instead of a disposable lifestyle. It’s good for the environment and good for Australian creatives.’

The previous Craft ACT shop has already closed. The space will be used as the Headquarters for the annual Design Canberra festival.

Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre is supported by the ACT Government and the Australia Council for the Arts, the Federal Government’s arts funding and advisory body.

About The Author

Wendy Johnson graduated from uni with a Master’s in Journalism and has been working with words ever since. She is inquisitive and loves to explore, interview and share what she discovers, no matter what the topic.

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