The Collective New England

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The New England Collective is a group of New England based designers and artisans creating gorgeous items across a range of media. We are aiming to bring a new type of retail to Armidale through promoting local start-ups and creatives alike.

How did the New England Collective come about?

The Collective came about after many conversations between our little group, who were all keen to expand their market. As individuals it was impossible to open a retail space; as a collective it became possible. For us, the concept only works as a group. We know the New England is a creative hub for artists, makers and small business start-ups, and we are keen to extend the opportunity to other New England associated people who are in this position. There has been a huge resurgence in the desire to purchase local and handmade products. We believe this is not a fad and more a movement. To this end, we created The New England Collective, went in search of a space and are now seeking expressions of interest from other like-minded individuals.

Tell us about the people and products that are involved?

There are four partners in the Collective:

Tracy Wright – Raw Fibre

Raw Fibre was founded in 2016 and is focused on challenging the trend of fast fashion by producing a range of women’s clothing from beautiful natural fibres. All garments are currently made locally using fibres such as wool, linen, cotton and silk. 

Tracy’s focus on the use of the finest quality fabrics and yarns has been well supported by women in the New England and beyond, with the business continuing to grow.

Raw Fibre’s garments reflect their clients – women who are passionate about quality and timeless fashion. The designs are classic with a modern touch and will not date.

Debbie Cartledge – Pinotcat Designs 

From the moment I started playing with clay, I loved it. All clay designs are 100% from me and made by me; no two pieces are ever the same. I am obsessed with colour and pattern and I have recently been incorporating other media into my pieces. Clay gives me the opportunity to be creative and at the same time, I find it so relaxing. I am always expanding my range, currently producing a lot of earrings; however, in the future hope to produce a bigger range of accessories.

What’s in a name: (everyone asks!) Pinotcat designs came from naming one of my cats Pinot, after my favourite wine Pinot Noir – hence Pinotcat Designs!

Leanne Brien – Trims and Things

Trims and Things founders Leanne and Sandra (sisters) are self-confessed craft queens, who give credit to their mum for giving them a taste of all things crafty as they grew up.

The Trims and Things concept came to us in 2012, when Sandra was keen to start some kind of business together. We didn’t know what this future business would be, but started to explore our options. Our shared passion was for beautiful papers, ribbons, tags and cards, so it soon became obvious how we could make a business out of something we both love.

So, if you love cute tags, cards, pretty wraps and all things gifty as much as we do, you’ve come to the right place. We aim to create a place for people who want to bring a touch of beauty, creativity and fun to their lives. We’re so excited to be doing something we love.

Stevie Chadd – WildHeart Candle Co

Previously known as Soy Candles by Stevie, WildHeart Candle Co is a local business creating a range of soy candles, melts and reed diffusers using a range of hand poured fragrances. The elegant designs and subtle scents are the perfect addition to any space.

Tell us about your pop up store?

We were previously known as the New England Makers, so this is our third pop up store. The new space will come under the name The New England Collective. It will feature local artisans and small business owners. Our focus is Mother’s Day and getting Mum that perfect gift that is made or distributed locally. 

We have had a lot of interest from local businesses to be involved, and the range of products available will be far greater than in our previous pop ups.

The store will be located next to PasTish in the beautiful Hanna’s Arcade from 5th – 12th May. 

Plans for the future?

At the end of May, the New England Collective will progress from the pop up into a permanent shop, which will become a unique retail space for locals who are looking to sell the products that they either make, source, or distribute locally. Our goal is to help and support each other in growing our businesses. Starting a business, especially one that puts your creations out in the world, can be frightening and nerve-wracking; we hope to ease that by working as a group. The fantastic thing is you may only make one item or one hundred, and we will be able to assist you in getting into the retail market.  

Tracy, Debbie, Leanne and Stevie are very excited about what the future holds for this space. We are looking at holding workshops and small exhibitions of unique products. There are so many possibilities, that the only problem will be where to stop.

For more information regarding the New England Collective, you can contact us at or follow us on Facebook or Instagram thenewenglandcollective.

Thanks everyone.

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