Specialising in one-off furniture and homewares sourced from India in a neutral palette, Noosa-based Karmin Kenny of Alabaster Trader spends weeks (sometimes months) at a time working with local craftspeople to refurbish pieces. ‘I love finding old pieces covered in dust, and seeing how they are transformed after being refinished!’ she says.
Sourcing mostly antique furniture from North-West India, Karmin is drawn to unique pieces with a rich history. ‘Pieces like old wedding chests are are around 100 years old,’ she tells. Once found, each piece is re-finished locally using skills passed down from generations (and no machinery). Some items are also re-purposed – old table legs can be turned into candle holders, door panels into wall hooks.
The Alabaster Trader range also includes textiles designed by Karmin, printed in a small village in India using traditional wood block printing techniques. In line with the rest of the collection, these Alabaster Trader textiles are available in a palette of soft neutrals, hand-printed on natural fibres.
Though she only opened her charming retail store in Noosa Heads just one year ago, Alabaster Trader has already gathered a loyal following. ‘I really didn’t know how my concept would be received, but I soon knew it was going to be OK when I had to rush back to India just five weeks after opening to source more stock!,’ Karmin recalls! Starting out initially with a short term lease on a small shop, she is already on the hunt for a long-term home for her business, with an outdoor space, so she can realise her vision for a truly unique lifestyle store.
Shop 5, The Pavilion
19 Sunshine Beach Road
Alabaster Trader founder, Karmin Kenny, has been travelling to India since she was 23. Photo – courtesy of Alabaster Trader.
Living in Scandinavia gave Karmin an appreciation for a soft, neutral palette. Photo – Villa Styling.
Details of a refurbished cabinet. Styling – Simone Barter. Photo –Anastasia Kariofylidis.
Karmin hopes to eventually open a showroom that includes an outdoor space. Photo – Paulina Arcklin.
The Alabaster Trader store. Photo – Villa Styling.
The Alabaster Trader showroom in Noosa. Photo – Anastasia Kariofylidis.
Alabaster trader founder Karmin Kenny. Photo – Anastasia Kariofylidis.
Alabaster Trader specialises in homewares and furniture in white and neutral tones. Photo – Saskia Patel.
Karmin travels to India to source the one-off pieces. Photo – Villa Styling.