Maker & Merchant | Bespoke homewares from talented sister trio

Maker & Merchant | Bespoke homewares from talented sister trio

Maker & Merchant is a Brisbane-based designer homewares studio established by three sisters, Imelda, Cecelia and Sonia Ryan. With a shared passion for design and fabrics, this talented sister trio create beautiful limited edition accessories and homewares that make any home stand out.

The ethos and aesthetics of Maker & Merchant is heavily influenced by the combination of the sisters’ different styles and love of all things art, design, craft, and fashion. Their handmade products are perfect for layering and bring fun themes and patterns into the home and office.

Their designs aim to communicate style and create moods in living spaces; from tea towels to baskets, and pillows to scarfs, the Maker & Merchant label offers organic styles for everyone (even puppies!). Their ranges often feature fun themes which offer unique twists on floral, nautical, and Australian motifs.

Exclusive to artisan, Maker & Merchant recently designed and created a range of limited edition clutches. This beautiful clutch is constructed of New Zealand deer hide and comes in a choice of colours inspired by Brisbane’s jacaranda flowers and summer evening sky.

With a new studio in the making and new stock hitting shelves, we jumped at the chance to catch up with the dynamic sister team to gain insight into the successful Maker & Merchant brand.



Each of you bring your own creativity and passion for art, craft, design and fashion to Maker & Merchant. How do you balance your unique, individual styles to the personality of the Maker & Merchant brand?

The strength is in our creative honesty in the process, we aren’t afraid to critique ideas. We all have slightly different tastes within the same kind of design ethos. Fluid, energetic – we all have roles within the whole, our ‘super skills’. If something needs to get done we just do it, we don’t have to step around social politeness. We are very good at sharing and support, which is key to any creative partnership.


Imelda, Cecelia and Sonia Ryan of Maker & Merchant and Bunny the dog. Photo by Gerwyn Davies.

Imelda, Cecelia and Sonia Ryan of Maker & Merchant and Bunny the dog. Photo by Gerwyn Davies.


Your homewares collection includes a range of gorgeous, hand-drawn and screen-printed designs. Can you tell us more about the process of making your handcrafted homewares?

We always begin with a starting off point; it might be a colour, a drawing, or an image. Then we usually have a fairly robust discussion about the application of the idea and how we are going to render it to create the piece. Seeing what starts as a ‘maybe I should try this’ turning into a bespoke quilt or hand drawn cushion that someone covets, and chooses to put in their space. That’s pretty satisfying. The ability to make all our products from start to finish gives us great control over the design process.



Photo by Gerwyn Davies.



Bunny with Maker & Merchant Spotted cushion. Photo by Gerwyn Davies.


You’ve been busy designing, building and decorating your new studio! What does a typical day in the Maker & Merchant studio look like?

It’s very early stages – we worked with an Architect to create a space we think will function perfectly.  The footings are in and it will be taking shape over the next few months.  You can follow the process on our blog!

A typical day starts with checking Instagram! It’s then on to the many emails and orders that have come in since the previous work day. We then plan out who’s doing what on our giant white board, which is centre of the deck at the moment. Most of the design work and production happens on the weekends – it seems to be a more creative time for us when we can actually all get together to look at samples and test new ideas.


Maker & Merchant, Pavlova tea towel. Photo by Cathy Schusler .


Maker & Merchant, Garland pillowcases. Photo by Cathy Schusler.


Maker & Merchant, Oyster tea towel. Photo by Cathy Schusler.


What advice do you have for up-and-coming artisans in establishing a sustainable business in Queensland?

If you love what you’re creating chances are other will as well. Don’t dilute or modify what you do to fit into the homogenised mass. My best advice is price your product fairly and include your time in the cost, believe in what you are doing and that there are like-minded people who will see the value and beauty of what you make.  It’s very easy to be disheartened by people who are comparing small run products made by hand in Australia with something mass produced overseas. Take comfort in the fact that most designers in Australia are faced with the same struggles.



Maker & Merchant, Hand painted storage baskets. Image courtesy of the artist.


Where can we keep up-to-date with your latest projects?

We are always posting our process and finished products on Instagram, by far our favourite social media tool – we try to keep our online store current and fresh with new products being added almost monthly. We also use Facebook and Pinterest for sharing our new products, inspiration and thoughts.

We have a Maker & Merchant blog, which this year will focus on our renovations including the building of our new studio.



Maker & Merchant, Hand drawn linen blend quilt. Photo by Gerwyn Davies.

You can find a range of Maker & Merchant products in our shop and online store!

Feature image by Gerwyn Davies.