Founded in 2007 by designers Stephanie Fleming and partner Kyle De Kuijer, Melbourne’s Five Boroughs is very much the quintessential labour of love. Hand-crafted from graphic design to build, it’s a blood, sweat and tears kind of place. The deeds may have changed hands a few years back, but the passion pumped into it by the young design duo has far from waned – new owners Justine Law and Alasdair MacKinnon sharing equal ardour for design and craft of a local, authentic, handmade bent.
One of the hands behind “souvenir shop with a difference” Melbournalia, MacKinnon was also a key cog in the rejuvenation of a 40-odd year old local family knitting business, turning an ailing business into brand Otto & Spike. Crafting beautiful design products just steps away from the Brunswick East store, their story epitomises the ethos behind Law and MacKinnon’s Five Boroughs – the lion’s share of product hailing from a Melbourne postcode – and emphasises the pair’s commitment to locality and championing of native design talent. Where products and designers aren’t sourced from Melbourne and its surrounds, heritage, craft and passion persevere: Duluth Pack bags may have made their way across the Pacific, but have been hand-crafted in the same Minnesota factory since 1911. On hand with a story behind each product, Alasdair is every bit the child in his own sweet shop – and who wouldn’t have a sweet tooth for the artisan-crafted delights he and Justine curate? T’rrific.