Surry Hills Markets Mothers & Daughters

Surry Hills Markets has always been great for the whole family, with stalls full of treasure for all ages and plenty of sunny lawn and play equipment. But many people don’t realize just how deep the family connection goes. Not only are the markets run by a close family team, this month the mother daughter element was stronger than ever – with at least six stalls run through mother daughter collaboration and half a dozen others where mum/daughters stopped by throughout the day to offer support. There is also a number of stalls run by siblings, partners, best friends and fur baby parents – because families of all shapes are always welcome in Surry Hills.

Our longest running family connection might be the Cooks, who keep their own bees and sell honey along with antique treasures each month. They’ve been a staple at the Surry Hills Markets for decades, Alice Cook was practically born here according to her mother Jemima; “She was born in June and come the July markets she was in a basinet under the table. People still come up to her and say ‘oh, I know you from when you were breast feeding at the table.’”

Not everyone is bringing their babies along; A couple of our stall holders have taken a step back to take care of infant daughters, but their wears are still going strong. Emi from Ems Pottery doesn’t have time to create since her daughter Mia was born but Ichi Joy carry on the legacy with some of her ceramics still for sale at their stall. Another mum on parental leave is Monique from vintage clothes stall Pretty Frocking Vintage, whose daughter is only 10 weeks old. Her sister Janine, the other half of Pretty Frocking, isn’t worried though: “I miss having her here, not because she’s not doing the work but because that market time is the time I get to hang out with her. But we have trained Avery (her 3year old) so well that he’s been asking when we can go op-shopping again, so I’m sure it won’t be long before baby Elodie is coming on vintage frock hunts with us, part of the family business.”

The markets has a great mix between handmade, vintage and bric-a-brac and that is reflected in the family teams. Bianca and her mother knitted and crocheted adorable baby toys, blankets and pot holders especially for this months markets. Another crafty bunch are scrunchy makers Sofia and Majken, local primary school students who design and made 73 scrunchies over the last few weeks. “Mum sewed them but we did all the turning inside out and cutting the threads. We chose all the fabric.” They were with Harriet and Lauren who’d made Swedish cinnamon scrolls with their dads help.

 And Irene from the Criticos Collective has some beautiful living wreaths created by her mother Vicky at her stall this month. “It’s very clever” explains Irene when talking about how her mother invented these air plant wreaths that keep growing, “It’s not something you throw away, it’s living art.” Her mother is in her 80’s and an avid gardener, “She loves to share her plants and it makes her feel like she’s contributing to the stall, sharing the love. It’s nice, it brings us together.”

That togetherness and quality time is a big contributor in many of the mother daughter teams, almost all the mums reflected on having a dedicated day together; “From a mothers point of view it’s wonderful because we get to see each other at least once a month – we have a great rapport, we have fun. It brings us closer together as a family.” Said Jemima Cook.

Asako aggress – it’s a main motivation for having her succulent stall paired with her daughter Layla who’s selling clothes. “We can talk, we can have the time together – when kids grow up you don’t get so much time together but here you spend the whole day talking.”

And it’s not just quality time, mums want to support their children’s dreams. Jules really appreciates the dedicated help from her mother Linda since starting her own sustainable fashion label Whipp. “You can’t do this without your mum – you just can’t” says Jules. “It feels impossible to do without a mum. I went to a slow fashion event and all the designers had their mums there – all of them. At the end of the day the mums all got together and joked about unionizing.”

“It’s a lot to do on your own” Linda agreed, talking about all the different elements of the business she can help with, especially emotional support through the challenges of running a fashion label and the reward of seeing your child’s succeed in their passions. “I’m paid in “I love you mum”, and we have a lot of fun. We have a good laugh.” “It’s fun,” aggress Jules, “We get a nice bottle of wine on the way home and we have a good laugh”

Laughter is a common sound here – stall holders are always laughing with each other and their customers and everyone is always down for a chat. “It’s great interacting with the customers – Lots of interesting people come here. It’s nice, I enjoy it – I wouldn’t come if I didn’t enjoy it.” explains Atlantis’ mum Vicki, helping her at the colorful Not Too Shabby clothing stall. Atlantis agrees “Mum’s here every markets, she just loves being at the markets and giving me a hand – we meet so many interesting people here.”

Connecting with your family isn’t the only important social aspect of coming here for stall holders. Asako reflected on how important the social element of the markets is, particularly after a year of isolation and separation. “If you’re home all the time it’s really depressing – with covid I hardly go out or see friends and family so this is really special, I meet so many different people.”

“It’s the community that keeps us coming back for years and years.” Said Jemima “We just love spending time with the people, the other stall holders and the people who come every month to see us – it’s our social time.”

The effect of all the family influence on Surry Hills Markets is clear – whether it’s chosen families or blood families, these connections have created a community that’s so much more than the sum of its parts. We feel enriched by the love and laughter that’s flowing between the stalls – it’s filling a need that’s especially vital during these isolating times – a sense of caring and connection much deeper than the euphoria of finding a bargain (though we do love that bit as well). Coupled with the abundance of friendly dogs and beautiful park, The Surry Hills Markets can feel like an oasis in the hurly burly of city life.

The Surry Hills Markets are on the first Saturday of Every month except January. We hope to see on December 5th.