Monday, December 3, 2012

The Design Bloggers Pop Up for Christmas

This weekend two bloggers with international acclaim, both hailing from Melbourne, hosted very similar pop up events on either side of the river.

On the south side in Windsor, Lucy Feagins repossessed someone's castle for The Design Files Open House. In its second year (in 2011 it was hosted in Fitzroy), it's a concept that usually needs explaining more than once apparently.

'Does someone actually live here?' Yep
'You empty the whole house just for four days?' Yep.
'Everything here is for sale?' Yep.
'Is the house for sale!?' No.

And it's that last part that's unfortunate because 27 Eastbourne St is gorgeous. A two-storey converted warehouse with polished concrete and wooden floors, a high A-frame roof with exposed trusses and clean white walls give it a real gallery type feel.

The Design Files team have filled it with beautiful pieces by their favourite brands - furniture designers Jardan, Finnish design house Marimekko, Luke Furniture, Loom rugs and vintage purveyors Tarlo & Graham to name a few. Pieces from artists like Elizabeth Barnett, Kirra Jamison and Oslo Davis adorn the walls. It wouldn't be an event in this city without coffee - served up by Market Lane in the bricked courtyard under the Emily Green paper chandeliers.

It's everything you see in Lucy's famed blog, the blog that's seen her named in London's The Times as one of the world's top 50 design bloggers. And this was our opportunity to buy into that.

Back in the car to drive north along Melbourne's notorious Punt Road. Time to see what Bill Tikos had on offer.

Bill Who I hear you ask? Perhaps The Cool Hunter rings a bell. Now based in Sydney, he claims more than 2 million monthly website visits, almost 200,000 newsletter subscribers and 260,000 Twitter followers. Collingwood's Rokeby Studios is the first stop for The Cool House pop-up boutique on it's global tour which also lands in Sydney, New York and London.

The studio has been packaged up into rooms - bedroom, loungeroom, kitchen and dining, just like Feagin's but without the family in residence. There's even an area dedicated to pooches and a beautiful floral installation prepared by Melbourne designer Paul Hecker for Fleur's Florist in Armadale. There's furniture by Zuster, bird shaped letterboxes from Tikos' Playso brand and uncannily enough Loom Rugs and Jardan make an appearance. What better way to promote The Cool Hunter network than with a competition - subscribe on the spot to go in the draw to win that damn sexy Porsche parked in the entrance.

It's no surprise that these two events should take place on the same weekend. It is after all, time to unveil the advent calendars and capture consumers in the mad dash to Christmas. And rather than the retailers pushing product at bloggers for the typical seasonal advertorial, these events are being initiated by the aficionados of good design themselves. The celebrity like status of Feagins and Tikos mean these curated collaborations have more pulling power than the your local design market. Being selected alongside a handful of other brands by someone with more than 200,000 followers provides an exposure that fistfuls of marketing dollars can't buy.

It doesn't need to be an open house and it doesn't need to be a design blogger, but don't underestimate the power of this channel for selling your product because bloggers deliver captive eyeballs and an opening of wallets.

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