Provider Store: Conscious Consumerism Series 004
Updated: Dec 18, 2019
Provider Store is a Sydney siding design studio and shopfront specialising in tools for the home that have been inspired strongly by Japanese culture. Their offering teems with handmade and eclectic pieces that are either created by their founder Tara Bennet or by local and international artisans who Tara has met along her travels. With each piece serving a clear purpose and exploring the concept of slow living, Provider Store is a showcase of the importance of ethical and sustainable products that tell stories and how they immediately demand keepsake status. I spoke to Tara about how Provider is contributing to the new age of conscious consumerism culture and what 'slow' personally means to her operations in sunny Surry Hills.
Tell me a little bit about your business and what has inspired Provider Store’s growth into what it is today...
I started Provider over five years ago after visiting Japan for the first time. I was so inspired by the way they design things to last and people respect their belongings. There’s less of this disposable way of life when it comes to product creation. Here in Australia, we love fast fashion and we love buying cheap things and then throwing it out to buy the next. I wanted to start a brand where people would want to keep the items forever. They aren’t “trend” driven, they won’t go out of fashion and most things are designed to be multiple purpose. I’ve been pushing this way of life ever since and the more creative makers I met around the world, the more stores I can tell and the more Provider grows.
How are you building a culture of awareness in terms of conscious consumerism?
Stop buying cheap crap. If you buy one of our candles for example, each cup is a Japanese tea cup, so once they burn out then you can use it to drink your coffee in the morning, or you can drop it back at the store for a candle refill. We call it an “investment candle”. It’s also nice being able to gift someone thing that has a nice back story and something that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing.
The concept of ‘slow’ production and purchasing, has become more widely accepted over the past few years and at its core places a greater emphasis on a products story and subsequent maker, rather than its price. How important is the concept of ‘slow’ to you both personally and at Provider Store?
Well first and foremost, my products are literally slowly made. I hand paint my cushions, I pour every candle. It’s a long and satisfying process. Usually when you know that someone has hand crafted something it makes the item more valuable emotionally, not just financially. I think it’s starting to educate people that they should know where their possessions are made and who made them.
What are you 5 top brand picks for Christmas gift giving this year?
A Provider candle is a fail-safe option for anyone, any age.
The Aroma Diffuser Stone is still the best-selling thing to date. It’s a room diffuser that uses no electricity or fire. It’s an interesting and thoughtful gift.
Hand carved chopsticks. For those who have a small budget, a set of hand carved chopsticks are such a lovely present to gift someone.
Kino – Their little DIY sets will teach you how to carve your own spoons, butter knife, fork and chopsticks. It’s fun for all ages and will give even those who aren’t creative a fun activity.
Hinoki wood sake cups. We recently went to Nara in Japan and met a lovely man who carved each cup by hand from wood in the Yoshino Forest. They smell amazing and look cool too.