Nickelby At Darnum

Welcome 2019

shop newsAngela Betheras

Well 2018 was certainly a huge year for us here there is no denying that. Our clothing range Nickelby Designs took off and gained a great following around the world and it is leading to some very exciting events coming up in 2019. It however has made for some changes here at Nickelby At Darnum.

The most exciting thing is that we have joined forces with a couple of other artists to open a new shop in Yarragon. For those who don’t know, Yarragon is a gorgeous little tourist village located about 10 mins from us here in Darnum and has thousands of visitors every month coming to explore the quaint little village and all its delightful shops. Well the Campbell Street Emporium has joined the collection and in it you can find not only Nickelby Designs but other textile and jewellery delights. It is certainly worth a visit. We are easy to find, just turn right at the very famous lolly shop and we are opposite the supermarket. Too easy as they say!

These changes have complimented our new opening hours here at Darnum perfectly so now I am working out of two shops - we are nearly a conglomerate !!

It has also meant that changes have continued here at Darnum. I have made the decision to stop having the licenced café. I was finding it all a bit too difficult with everything I was doing and I was baking new cakes every week and giving them to the birds when no one turned up to enjoy them. Even when I knew it was going to be a quiet week due to the weather or school going back, I still had to be stocked up just in case someone came in. I actually don’t really like cooking so it was all getting a bit much and on top of all the govt fees one has to pay to have a café it was proving to be not financially viable. My time is far better spent creating the clothes that everyone wants to purchase and in reality I don’t have time to bake cakes anymore! I do know there will be many however who will miss the very famous apple and walnut cake, including me.

As I am writing this I am looking out onto the “shop paddock” where the girls are sitting under trees and I cannot see a blade of green grass anywhere. We are down to the last 20cm of water in the tank and that is for the alpacas to drink and there is a smoke haze over the property from fires further in the hills. Summer can be a fun time to be with friends but it can also be a very scary time and we are keeping our fingers crossed that the rain promised for this week comes and doesn’t disappear before it arrives but that it comes without the fork lightening which can start the fires.

Despite the heat we push on and we hope to see you at one of our stores in the not too distant future when the weather cools down and keep an eye on our events page as we will be planning more events possibly teaming up with people who do like to cook and make wine and having some specially fun days here at Nickelby At Darnum.

Hope everyone has a wonderful 2019 and that all our dreams come true. xx


Nickelby Designs hits the runway at Eco Fashion Week Australia 2018

shop newsAngela BetherasComment

Last June I happened to stumble across a website about a new style of fashion show which happened for the first time in Fremantle, Western Australia in November 2017. It sparked my interest as it was an Eco Fashion event. I had stumbled across a fashion show which celebrated designers who cared about their environment and created their designs with total respect for our world and the impact we all have with how we live.

Fashion is one of the top four world polluters and I have spent my entire corporate career working for fashion companies, running their international supply chains so I was impacting the world in such a huge way.

My label; Nickelby Designs is an eco friendly label. After all, the alpacas live on the farm, I send their fleece after shearing less than 100km to be processed into yarn, I dye and weave the fabric I then sew into garments, all in my studio on the farm. If ever I was going to hit the runway it made total sense that I do so at an Eco Fashion event.

I decided I would enquire with the hope that perhaps I could participate in 2019 as I was sure I wasn’t ready for November 2018. So I filled in the enquiry form and within about twenty minutes I received a phone call from a very passionate woman named Zuhal. Zuhal is the founder of the event, a veterinary, fashion designer and also a breeder of alpacas! She was very excited that she had found another designer who made garments from alpaca and wanted to know all about my processes. We got along like a house of fire and I was so excited that I met all the very stringent requirements to be a part of Eco Fashion Week Australia. You see to be part of it you not only have to design in your country of origin, all manufacturing has to also occur in your country of origin. So 100% Australian in all criteria is the requirement or if you are international then 100% (n) country. Many apply but designed in Australia, made in China just doesn’t cut it.

So off I set to raise the funds to pay the fees, organise the airfares and the accommodation and get ready for not only a week in Fremantle in November but also a week in Port Douglas, (perfect spot to hold an eco event when we consider the plight of the reef). Oh and also design and make 12-16 outfits for the runway.

So from July - October, I sat at my SAORI loom nearly every day weaving cloth ready to then sit at the sewing machine to create the garments. I managed to finish 12 and then various tops, scarves and hats for the designer studio which was also part of the event.

The time came to leave and to set the farm and shop up so my mum could manage it for the weeks away and off I” flew to Port Douglas.

I was so excited to be finally doing something I had dreamt of doing since I had decided that I wanted to be in the fashion industry over 35 years ago and I was so proud that I was embarking on this journey adopting sustainable practices. Nickelby Designs was finally reaching out to the world. My byline that I use when I am dreaming was one step closer. “Nickelby Designs; made in Gippsland, sold to the world”

As I write this my final show was on two nights ago at Freemantle, the reception from the crowd was fantastic, the bloggers have loved my work, magazines have made lovely online comments, there are photos galore and I was so proud of what I had managed to achieve. From the start of my career where I worked in the marketing department of Country Road organising fashion shows, here I was 30 odd years later participating in my own. What a circle! What a buzz!

There are a couple more shows to go and tonight I will be in the audience supporting more wonderful designers.

I am sure I will do much reflecting over the next couple of months of this incredible ride, I will work out how to showcase the wonderful photographs that have been taken, I will post some of the pieces in the online shop, but I think the best thing that I will take from this entire experience is the wonderful people I have met. Not only have all the designers been so supportive of each other and making sure we give the loudest applause for each other at the end of each show, but the organisers; Zuhal, Carl, Regina etc., the wonderful young models, their mums, the volunteers, the make up artists, the hair stylists, the media and the list goes on.

I have been involved as I have said in the fashion industry for most of my working life and the family feeling that is here at this event is unique. I have felt as though we have all been wrapped up in a warm blanket as we all look to 2019 to keep designing, keep dreaming but most importantly we keep working on doing out bit to save our planet.

Now to start designing for 2019


Living in Yurts and Pods - well hopefully one day

Angela BetherasComment

As I have shared on previous posts, I purchased my farm practically empty, certainly empty of a house and 11 years on that is still the case however there is some movement at the station.

Outside of working with textiles and alpacas my next great love is house design and interior decoration and design and I have done a few house renovations and redesigns over the years and can't wait to do this next one. When I first moved here I had approved by council a rather large boomerang type house which was going to be fantastic. I mean I was designing conservatories and walls for large paintings, boot rooms, bedrooms for the dogs; this house had the works and then some.  Then reality set in and when I found out that the concrete slab was going to cost more than 80k.  I had to think it all out again and let that permit slide.

I could have just made it smaller but that would have just been annoying as I would have always felt it just wasn't right so I decided I would just have to get the pen and paper out again and start over. So one day when I was up a ladder checking a tank I was looking at the view from up there (it was lovely) and thought how well the round tank fitted into the environment so I thought - what about a round house!

Down from the tank and onto the computer and I found a company in NSW who sold kit yurts. Perfect! I would live in 3 round rooms with annexes for office, library, WIR's and ensuites and I would join them together with a couple of "pods". Very technically I measured the yurts using dinner plates and bread and butter plates and measured up the pods and sent them off to the yurts company draftsman in QLD and set about getting them costed.

So a few months later back in 2016,about this time of year, on the back of a B Double truck the kits arrived for my builder to put together the 3 yurts (he would have to build the pods).

I had done the figures, sorted out the finances to get the next stage done and once the 3 yurts were up I set off to meet the bank. That is where it all started to come undone. They all said no they would not give me money to finish my house despite what my spreadsheet said.

So two years down the track, the yurts are there framed and with a roof on each, they have been wrapped but with every breath of wind the paper blows off so I am always up the ladder trying to rewrap. I can't reach the top as they are quite high off the ground and there is only one of me so it is a pretty painful task and often quite scary but we do what we have to do.

The building permits have now expired so will be up for many more $$$$ but I am hopeful that sooner rather than later I can get the doors and windows in them and put on the Colourbond cladding for the walls and make them all water tight and then set about building the pods and getting it all to the ever important "lock up" stage but with no bank coming to help it has to all be done from income from the shop.

I did set up a "go fund me" page but I don't think I ever had any intention of pushing the button as I wouldn't feel comfortable with that so I just make sure I have a ticket in the lottery each week and hope one day I will have a house again after 11 years of not having one. But on the plus side I say to people well it is a good thing I like planning house interiors as I have so much time to research and do pretend shopping for this house it is satisfying all my design needs and I have changed the cladding material at least 4 times! Below is a picture of when they were first put up and wrapped by the builder and his team and you will see I will have a beautiful view and the gaps are being joined by the "pods" which will be a kitchen/dining on one side and laundry and bathroom on the other. 

Ahh one day! So if anyone knows of a way to find a few hundred thousand please let me know!