Our project is The Dollar Shop. The Dollar Shop is a concept developed and curated by us; Alex De Bonis and Louise Helliwell. We established and run Tough Titties (toughtitties.com.au) a website which is dedicated to showcasing Australian female creative talent. At last years Sydney Design Festival we curated an group show with 20 local female artists and designers who all exhibited their work on giant dollies.
City of Sydney have recently awarded Tough Titties a short-term lease on an empty shop in the city for a reduced rent, but with no funding or grants to help establish and run the project.
So what is The Dollar Shop? It is a multi-purpose space that allows collaboration between creatives and is both an artistic statement, a learning environment (with workshops and talks) and a shopping experience! A reaction to the current economic crisis, the main prerequisite for the shop is that all products, despite having a low price to attract customers should nonetheless allow a profit margin for the artists. It is a unique retail experience that will sell well designed products at economical prices.
The idea of The Dollar Shop is that local designers and artists sell their goods under the conditions that items must be sold for no more than $1, $5, $10 or $20. All items must be made or designed by the artist. What makes the The Dollar Shop awesome is that it’s the ultimate low cost high quality shopping experience. It challenges the idea of what a commercial retail space should be. It isn’t just a shopping experience, but is a place of value, not only economically, but in a cultural way to the community that it inhibits.
Based on the model used by McSweeney’s Superhero Supply Company in Brooklyn or their Monster Supplies Store in London, The Dollar Shop will also be a space with a dual function. The back section of the shop will be a place for workshops and talks which will also be available at Dollar Shop prices. It is our intention that this space will provide the opportunity for the wider community to learn new skills, listen to talks and participate/communicate directly with artists and designers.
The Dollar Shop isn’t about making money – it’s about opening up design to everyone, making it accessible and inspiring; it’s also about learning and sharing skills and knowledge by encouraging people to contribute in many different ways.
Funded by Sydney (January 2012)