Grand Designs Australia

Grand Designs Australia: Meet one of the artisans behind the Lewisham, TAS, home

When Alice was creating her dream home on Grand Designs Australia, she used an array of local artisans.

With Alice's home being described by Peter Maddison as a "jewellery box", we spoke to just one of the local artisans who helped make Alice's home tell a uniquely Tasmanian story. 

Tamika Bannister, founder and director of The Spotted Quoll store in Hobart, sits down to tell us about embarking on this journey with Alice and the importance of these types of businesses on the Apple Isle. 

In the beginning

Tamika launched The Spotted Quoll after making a move from the corporate world in search of a career with more heart and soul. 

"I started researching and found that I wanted to do something that was sustainable and that helps promote Tasmania," she explains. 

After trying to get back into her old job after having her first child, Tamika struggled as there was minimal flexibility and it motivated her even more to quit her day job and try launching something of her own.

Although, it wasn't that simple. Back in 2009, sustainable fashion and homewares weren't so commonplace as they are now. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by The SQ Studio Tasmania (@spottedquoll) on

"I was a little ahead of my time and it was a hard slog for quite a lot of years... there were times I didn't think it would work," she tells. "But I also really wanted to do something where I could offer employment opportunities to other mothers so they could have flexible employment."

Now The Spotted Quoll is a proud Tasmanian company with their own little factory so everything can be manufactured on the island, in Launceston. 

"I feel I have achieved my goal of creating a sustainable Tasmanian business that promotes and supports other Tasmanian makers," Tamika says. "We use sustainably sourced fabrics and natural fibres and everything we do is done with the environment in mind. A lot of products have minimal or zero waste and any off cuts go to the local weaving mill to be recycled or upcycled and by doing that we have created employment both in our factory and in our retail space."

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Tamika Bannister

Working with Alice

Tamika reveals that Alice got to know her over the years from being involved in various other projects in Tasmania.

"I guess because there are very few manufacturers here in Tasmania that actually do make homewares, a lot of people come to us and ask us to be involved in their various projects," she says. "For Alice it was important to have everything done and designed on the island. We did the wool bean bag and the wool throws and she took some wool cushions as well; she sourced a lot of little homewares knick-knacks through us."

Wool bean bag

Wool throws

The future

The lovely connection between Tamika's business and Alice's home is that they're both richly steeped in meaning with a strong story behind them. 

"People aren't buying things, they're buying a love story," Tamika tells. "I think small creative businesses are the life blood of Tasmania. We are always promoting wild Tassie and our brand sits well within that: a wild heart and ethical by nature."

Watch Grand Designs Australia Wednesdays 8.30pm on Lifestyle or On Demand.

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