Getting crafty with our friends at The Boroughs

Tell us a bit about the transition in this area over time.
The transition in this area happened from the late 90s to the mid 2000s and really what it was, was an influx of people who really wanted to live in Fitzroy but it got too expensive by the time they were ready to buy into it or they wanted to open a business somewhere like that so they came out here where the rents were lower and there was plenty of opportunities both residential and commercial.

They were quite entrepreneurial people with not a lot of money so they moved into spaces and they did everything themselves so they recycled furniture so you get a few more of those quirky details that come from the past. Whereas the new people who moved in who have a little more money can start out with a whole new vision.

I thought that Wildlife Bakery was an interesting example because although new, I find that chatting with Huw and having been there the fact that he is doing that sourdough it does feel Brunswick to me because it is so natural and by hand.

There is another one that pops up every weekend that is called The Evan Street bakery and it’s just literally a commercial food grade space and it just looks like a warehouse space with a roller door and I think it’s only Saturdays and Sundays you can go and buy sourdough and loves that they make so yea it probably is a very Brunswick thing.

Tell us a bit about Boroughs?
Boroughs was started in 2008 its originally started to support the local maker community and that’s what it has continued to do. So, the reason why there is a predominance of ceramics in the store at the moment is that of the Northcote Pottery Workshop which is on Dawson Street.

It’s become an area where a lot of ceramicists have moved into because they are either teaching, taking workshops, buying materials, getting firing done at Northcote so it brings them into this area. So, we are really lucky we have got a really deep maker community to draw from. The store has always been about the community around it and doing things in the community to benefit the community.

Are you a local yourself?
Yea I actually live out the back when I first started here I was living out in Thornbury and sort of traversing across each day. Then I had the option to live here as well and I decided to in the last few years so I’m on the strip 247 and I really like it – it’s fun.

Do you have a favourite spot?
Yea I do. Emotionally, Sugardough is a really favourite spot because it is one of the first café businesses in the area that I got to really like. My go to a lot now is East Elevation – great staff, good food and then at night time I’m a big fan of the East Brunswick wine store, down to Mr Wilkinson occasionally and then love Teta Mona the Lebanese restaurant and Bar Idda.

What strikes me coming into this store is that it’s very polished in terms of like you say you’ve got things that can be packaged and sent, with gifts and stuff like that.
So, we’re more, small batch production than we are, we are a bit more like craft beer and chocolate than we are about at a craft market. It needs to be repeatable, consistent and people can rely on the quality of it.

I’ll be honest, nothing against craft, but it’s not something I would go and buy as at a craft market which is fine but here I could totally pick up something for my mum and give that as a gift and feel a bit more like, oh this is something I found that’s local it’s Brunswick.
Yea I guess there would be nothing in here if it wasn’t for the word craft but there are things at all levels. These are people that are really skilled at their craft. We are always telling the story of the area.

Support the immensely talented artisans of Brunswick East and Melbourne by exploring The Boroughs and its amazing wares.