This week’s HOT Chat is with Kim Hurley, a visual merchandiser and organiser of the fabulous Marche Rouge market at Nicholas Buildings that I visited just before Christmas.

Marche Rouge is back on next week from on Thursday 11 February and Friday 12 February from 11-7pm, and Saturday 13 February from 10-4pm, just in time for Valentines Day. In the meantime, here’s a little bit more about Kim and her work.

MarcheRouge Email flyer

Kim, tell me a bit more about your background and the story behind Marche Rouge?

I have a background in visual arts, hospitality and retail, for the last six years I have been a freelance visual merchandiser. My primary clients are Kleins Perfumery, Kozminsky Jewellers and Worksense haircutters. I also have a craft business called l’uccello.

I have had a studio in the Nicholas Building for 10 years, during this time I met fellow residents, designer Maximilian and stylist Robyn Bunting, the original creators of Marche Rouge. The Marche Rouge was created to celebrate the idiosyncratic nature of the Nicholas Building and as a retail outlet for our group of talented people. The beautiful old Art Deco Salon and its somewhat hidden nature provide a wonderful environment for browsing the various stalls and meeting the designers, artisans and writers who produce the items for sale.

What’s a typical work day for you?

Because of the nature of my work every day is different!

One day I am designing or manufacturing product for l’uccello, the next will be meetings with clients to discuss window display concepts, designing and production of props for windows, or it may installation of a window display, sourcing materials and stock or meeting with Max and Robyn to plan the next Marche Rouge.

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What are some of the most interesting or challenging projects that you’ve worked on?

Every new project feels like the most challenging! I make a lot of the props that I use, so there is always the challenge of sourcing new materials and working out how to make it.

I have made christmas trees from books, crocheted covers for trees, made 18th century dresses out of paper ephemera, birdcages from wire wrapped with fabric and hand painted easter rabbits and dressed them in little 3 piece outfits, made hot air balloons from cardboard covered with fabrics and trims and made enormous christmas wreaths full of bottles of perfume and related product.

Easter rabbit for Kominsky's

Easter rabbit for Kominsky Jewellers

The most interesting project at the moment is sourcing vintage supplies for lúccello, as the beauty and history of the ribbons, laces, buttons and ephemera is fascinating.

What are your next plans for your work and Marche Rouge?

Plans for this year include lots of new products for l’uccello, craft classes in the Salon, and possibly opening as a retail outlet a few days a week. We plan to continue with Marche Rouge, featuring a different theme each event, throughout the year. I am also in the process of establishing a web sites and blogs for lúccello and Marche Rouge.

What people, places or things do you turn to for creative inspiration?

I am constantly inspired by colour and texture, so fabrics, haberdashery, art , nature all provide inspiration.

Travelling is also a source of inspiration, Venice is my favourite, the colours in winter are so beautiful, Spain is amazing for its architecture and art, and Paris is always great for ideas.

The people that most inspire me are the people I work with. When I’m out of ideas I look for ideas in unexpected places, I browse hardware stores, local markets, stationery stores, or army disposal stores.

Painted lady for Kominsky Jewellers

Painted lady for Kominsky Jewellers

What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?

My advice would be to do make sure it is something that you love and make sure you know who your market is.

Finally, what are your tips for what’s HOT in Melbourne?

  • The baguettes from Waffle On in Degraves Street (Shop 9 Degraves St), totally fresh and delicious, form a queue!
  • The book Madam Brussels by LM Robinson from Arcade Publications a biography of Melbourne’s most famous harlot/entrepreneur.
  • Alphaville windows fabulous and a little creepy!
  • Masses of carnations in every colour from South Melbourne Market.
  • Tessuti (141 Flinders Lane, Melbourne) so many gorgeous fabrics I want them all!!