Dear Parkette Pals,
Heads up: this edition of our newsletter is pretty personal, and a little longer than you might have anticipated. But we hope you find it worth it.
Here it goes.
While Parkette is a (very small) team of people, this business was born in the mind (and heart) of the person who writes to you today. Me, Maria.
In a way, a version of Parkette has always been with me. Today, I want to share that story with you.
As a kid, I would pore over my favourite picture books over and over again until I could see them with my eyes closed. (To this day, I still find myself hunting on Ebay and Etsy for out-of-print titles that I can still remember.)
I would imagine I oversaw the Oleson’s Mercantile of Little House in the Prairie fame in my parent’s kitchen, because - although we lived in Argentina - the cabinetry reminded me of an old-school general store.
I would hold tight to catalogs that my dad would bring home from his international work trips, mesmerized by their shiny pages and product selection.
When we got our first Apple computer in the early 90s, we had no games on it, so instead, I filled reams of spreadsheets with imaginary items for sale.
In my high school yearbook, I jokingly said my future was in museum curation because I’ve always loved creating collections, learning about them, and sharing them with others.
Then, I got sidetracked, and did what I thought adults were supposed to do.
I enrolled in a very serious university program. I worked in my field of study for 10 unhappy years. I found out the following: unresolved things have a way of circling back, and they won’t stop until you sit up and pay attention to them.
So, with my eyes, mind, and heart wide open, I’ve (finally) paid attention. Which brings me here, today, many years later, typing to you as I’m on the cusp of becoming a shopkeeper. It’s taken me longer than I hoped to get here, which means I now have years of happiness to bestow onto you and yours.
Enter Parkette. As humans, we make and surround ourselves with objects. The best ones can be so many things at once. They can be jokes or bookmarks for a certain time and place. They can be time machines, allowing us to relive the memories that their sole appearance can conjure in our minds.
And while I’m certainly not advocating for mindless consumerism, or for consumerism at all* I do believe that well-made, beautiful objects can be powerful – helping many people along the way, from the individuals who conceive of and make them to those who bring them home and integrate them into their everyday lives.
With Parkette, I’ve tried to bring some of these objects to you, so that they can become a part of your lives, and hopefully be passed on to become a part of someone else’s life once they are no longer needed.
*We try our best to include a range of price points without betraying our values, and we want you to know: you never have to buy a thing at Parkette to be part of our family. Aside from the goods at the shop, we plan on hosting a wide range of activities and workshops that will keep your kids and kids-at-heart happy. Promise.
All of this is to say thanks for reading and thanks for being here.
As a parting gift this week, five links to stop and see, rejoice, reflect, listen and make:
- A collection of photographs by women and non-binary photographers exploring the many layers of fatherhood, curated by The Luupe: https://theluupe.com/blog/100-visions-of-fatherhood;
- A short interview with illustrator Charlotte Lemaire on the Aww Magazine blog: https://awwyours.com/blogs/journal/how-to-steal-the-show-with-paint-brushes-ask-illustrator-charlotte-lemaire;
- Ahlix Olin writes about the sad, strange brilliance of Tove Jansson and her Moomin stories for The Millions: https://themillions.com/2014/06/sad-strange-brilliance-on-tove-jansson-and-moomin.html;
- A link to a playlist of songs by Maria Elena Walsh, Argentina’s most revered children’s songwriter: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DZ06evO369xjB?si=3278cd78e5ab4f2e (you can read about her here if you’re looking for an introduction: https://theculturetrip.com/south-america/argentina/articles/meet-the-argentine-songwriter-who-defied-dictatorship-with-childrens-songs/); and
- An apple cake that brings back memories of childhood for Melbourne-based cook and cookbook author, Julia Busuttil Nishimura: https://www.goodfood.com.au/recipes/warm-apple-brown-butter-and-almond-cake-20220720-h2572w
Maria and the Parkette team