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Retail Therapy January 20, Bali Advertiser

Over Christmas & New Year the roads were crazy and now they are pretty quiet, what’s happened?
Well, It’s the low season now, the road works are all but finished and the rains haven’t arrived?!

However, it’s this time of year to re-group and work out a plan - a plan to carry us on throughout the year…(that’s if you haven’t made a plan yet) everyone is talking, Moderation and Balance, these are good words to start with, so stay on the path and don’t do astray…. Moderation and Balance in all things for 2016!

Now the year has started and all one can see are empty shops, a number have closed and more to come I hear, never fear, more will take their place, although, perhaps not this year? one would have to agree that over the past years, there has been a build up of just too many shops, all selling the same type of merchandise which is not what we want to see, too many shops, too much the same. Believe 2016 will be a year of ‘leveling out’ too much excess, too much of everything, let’s pull back and re-think what we are doing.

Certainly in retail there’s a handful of outstanding fashion stores and the same with furniture and home product and that’s about it!! Some retailers continue at working hard to bring excitement to their stores and many others are frankly lackluster. I feel for the visitors to our island, there is not enough unique merchandise that gives them a reason to ‘buy’. Some years ago it was much more exciting, both in the look of the stores (inside and out) and their offering (fashion or home product) There is just too much mediocre product around that simply doesn’t warrant getting cash out of the purse!

So, we just wait to see what newness comes about meanwhile for an injection of retail therapy you get yourself up to Ubud, this town is rocking along beautifully! (apart from those dreadful buses that overcrowd the streets!) more and more of the better Seminyak stores have appeared which makes for a good shopping day out. But what is nice is that there are more artisans here, tucked in little shops making craft and plying their trade, this should be encouraged!

And don’t forget to venture out to other village areas surrounding Ubud town, this is where you will find special items that you can incorporate into your home, drive down the main road through Mas
and you will see for yourself, all the way to Sukawati.
And the other way up Andong Road, going north of Ubud, where you’ll see a plethora of small artisan shops on both sides of the road, for miles and miles!!

Speaking of which, one of my faves (which actually isn’t ‘a hole in the wall’ but a proper shop. CLOTH by Medina, Andong Rd, (on the right side of road not too far up, just drive slowly, parking at front, where there are trees! ( The owner is a delightful Australian named Carina and she sure knows her business, just to visit her shop is a joy. The merchandise is unique, the color blocking is great, her props instore are perfect, settings will give you lots of ideas for your home and the best point to note is that her product is crafted by artisans in villages; dyeing, spinning, making, sewing and the rest, now Carina is a real professional and it shows, she wins my vote for excellence in retail!

In fact, it’s becoming very apparent that the best product is by the clever artisans in Bali, let’s remember that Bali is the home of ‘handicraft’ but it’s taken on new meaning in recent years (I am not referring to the product in vast caverns like Oleh Oleh or similar haunts!) I mean exquisite quality hand crafted designer product that is made here from ceramics, wood, glass, artworks, fashion, leather, home product often exported to smart cities of the world…..

Let’s support the terrific Artisans in Bali is my motto for 2016!