This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Many Hands Come Together To Support Women From Refugee Backgrounds

Creative People

Melbourne-based events social enterprise Merchant Road has just launched Many Hands, with support from some local hospitality heavyweights and much-loved creatives.

The eight-week paid-training initiative aims to create better employment opportunities for women from refugee backgrounds. To celebrate, they’ve produced this series of powerful portraits – a showcase of the resilience, strength, and potential of all the women involved!

17th June, 2019

Many Hands participants Nikki and Zeituna. Photo – Stina Evjan, of Gold and Grit Photography and Breeana Dunbar. Art direction – SO.LE studio.
Participants wear Arnsdorf apparel and Habbot footwear. Floristry by Cecilia Fox.

Many Hands participants Jess and Raga. Photo – Stina Evjan, of Gold and Grit Photography and Breeana Dunbar. Art direction – SO.LE studio.
Participants wear Arnsdorf apparel and Habbot footwear.

Many Hands participant Asanti. Photo – Stina Evjan, of Gold and Grit Photography and Breeana Dunbar. Art direction – SO.LE studio.
Participants wear Arnsdorf apparel and Habbot footwear. Floristry by Cecilia Fox, linens by In Bed Store.

Merchant Road founder Jane Marx. Photo – Stina Evjan, of Gold and Grit Photography and Breeana Dunbar. Art direction – SO.LE studio.
Jane wear Arnsdorf apparel and Habbot footwear. Floristry by Cecilia Fox, linens by In Bed Store.

Elle Murrell
Monday 17th June 2019

‘… strength, style, and power emanate from the women we work with.’ – Jane Marx.

Merchant Road believe that true hospitality is about welcoming others, and forging a sense of community around a table.

The Melbourne-based not-for-profit has just launched their new training program Many Hands. By providing eight weeks of paid training to women experiencing barriers to employment, it aims to equip participants with skills to find work in the events and hospitality industry.

‘The program has already helped me in many ways; it has not only helped me in gaining experience, skills, and knowledge in a practical environment, but also prepared me for job opportunities and made my resume broader and now I can proudly say I have the experience, and hence I am a good candidate for more employment opportunities,’ tells Many Hands participant Zeituna.

True to its name, the initiative leverages the strength of collaboration. Skills in coffee making, service, wine, and floristry, are being taught by the likes of Market Lane Coffee, Milieu Hospitality, Rachel Signer, Cecilia Fox, and Candy Mountain.

‘Merchant Road is a not-for-profit with a social mission to empower women through work, and the way we do this is quite unique’. explains founder Jane Marx. ‘We partner with the best busi­nesses in the industry; we have a strong signa­ture aesthetic and we create really special dining experiences. Ultimately, we invite people to come to the events we run so they can experience something exceptional. If they support our social mission, that’s a bonus!’

To celebrate its launch, Merchant Road has produced this powerful photo series inspired by a portrait of female entrepreneurs in CEO Magazine. ‘Obviously, the young women we work with are very much at the beginning of their career journey. However, when I saw that image, I thought, that’s us there. That same strength, style, and power emanate from the women we work with. This is an important step in changing the visual narrative of what a strong woman looks like,’ explains Jane.

Merchant Road worked with Australian-designed, Italian-made footwear label Habbot, local sustainable label Arnsdorf, Cecilia Fox, In Bed Store and SO.LE studio on the exquisite campaign, which was shot at The Establishment Studios in Fitzroy.

Funded by the Victorian Government’s Pick My Project initiative, Many Hands is currently being run as a pilot program with 14 young women until December. A series of long-table dinners will take place at the conclusion of each training, providing program participants with the opportunity to gain experience hosting events open to the public.

Purchase tickets for Many Hands’ upcoming dinners here. Find out more about the initiative at Merchantrd.com.

This Week

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Art

10 Emerging, Affordable Artists You Need To Have On Your Watchlist!

From ethereal still lifes to striking ceramic work, and meticulous soft pastel drawings, these are the artists to start collecting now!

Family

Journalist Nas Campanella On Parenting With Blindness + Building Disability Awareness

How ABC journalist Nas Campanella navigates motherhood as a person living with blindness and Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Creative People

How Powerhouse Designer, Yuwaalaraay Woman Lucy Simpson Is Making Waves

How the Sydney based designer weaves stories of Country and culture into her collaborations with leading brands, such as JAG and Breville.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Design Eye

How to Create Fun + Playful Interiors, With Studio Joy’s Kristel Marshall

The Melbourne designer shares how to balance minimalism and maximalism with playful colours and bold furniture – in a way that won't date!...
Christina Karras

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras
  14 hours ago

Interiors

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras
  6 hours ago

Homes

A Cosy Retro Rental In Melbourne’s North West

Dog lovers Michelle Campbell and Katy Louise share their warm and welcoming rented home in Maidstone.

Interiors

Before + After: A Dated Brick Home Turned Coastal Holiday Pad

Dark timber and dated tiles have been replaced with light and bright interiors in this Mornington Peninsula beach house.
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

On The Market

A Rare Robin Boyd House Is Available To Rent

You could be the next tenant of this house, designed by Australia's most famous architect.

Studio Visit

Dani McKenzie’s Detailed Paintings Look Like Familiar Photographs

The Melbourne artist recreates local streetscapes and everyday scenes, filled with intimate reminders of our own inner-worlds.
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

How An Architect Turned This 1930s Bungalow Into A Sustainable Family Haven

Architect Emily Sandstrom's warm family home runs off solar power, with a vegetable garden and impressive entertaining area hidden inside!
Christina Karras

Creative People

A Noosa Design Studio's Chic New Office, Inside A Former 80s Club

CLO Studios' have transformed an old music club into their dreamy new office space, and it's filled with eclectic design inspiration!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Dream Job

Nayran Tabiei · Cooking Instructor, Free to Feed

In between guiding a group of receptive young participants through the art of tabouli-tiny parsley chopping, the former Damascene chronicles...
Elle Murrell

Textiles

Labels We Love At Melbourne Fashion Week

With Melbourne Fashion Week commencing his Friday, we spotlight seven Aussie labels worthy of your attention!
Kate Gaskin

Creative People

'Refugee Camp In My Neighbourhood' Launches In Sydney

An immersive event bringing together community members from refugee backgrounds, who act as 'tour guides' in a simulated refugee camp. 
Elle Murrell

This Week

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras
  14 hours ago

Interiors

Before + After: A Dated Brick Home Turned Coastal Holiday Pad

Dark timber and dated tiles have been replaced with light and bright interiors in this Mornington Peninsula beach house.
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Creative People

A Noosa Design Studio's Chic New Office, Inside A Former 80s Club

CLO Studios' have transformed an old music club into their dreamy new office space, and it's filled with eclectic design inspiration!
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Dani McKenzie’s Detailed Paintings Look Like Familiar Photographs

The Melbourne artist recreates local streetscapes and everyday scenes, filled with intimate reminders of our own inner-worlds.
Christina Karras

Design Eye

How to Create Fun + Playful Interiors, With Studio Joy’s Kristel Marshall

The Melbourne designer shares how to balance minimalism and maximalism with playful colours and bold furniture – in a way that won't date!...
Christina Karras

On The Market

A Rare Robin Boyd House Is Available To Rent

You could be the next tenant of this house, designed by Australia's most famous architect.

Family

Journalist Nas Campanella On Parenting With Blindness + Building Disability Awareness

How ABC journalist Nas Campanella navigates motherhood as a person living with blindness and Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Art

10 Emerging, Affordable Artists You Need To Have On Your Watchlist!

From ethereal still lifes to striking ceramic work, and meticulous soft pastel drawings, these are the artists to start collecting now!

Interiors

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras
  6 hours ago

Creative People

How Powerhouse Designer, Yuwaalaraay Woman Lucy Simpson Is Making Waves

How the Sydney based designer weaves stories of Country and culture into her collaborations with leading brands, such as JAG and Breville.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Homes

A Cosy Retro Rental In Melbourne’s North West

Dog lovers Michelle Campbell and Katy Louise share their warm and welcoming rented home in Maidstone.

Sustainable Homes

How An Architect Turned This 1930s Bungalow Into A Sustainable Family Haven

Architect Emily Sandstrom's warm family home runs off solar power, with a vegetable garden and impressive entertaining area hidden inside!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Dream Job

Nayran Tabiei · Cooking Instructor, Free to Feed

The former Damascene chronicles her long and winding journey to a safe and purposeful present.
Elle Murrell

Textiles

Labels We Love At Melbourne Fashion Week

With Melbourne Fashion Week commencing his Friday, we spotlight seven Aussie labels worthy of your attention!
Kate Gaskin

Creative People

'Refugee Camp In My Neighbourhood' Launches In Sydney

An immersive event bringing together community members from refugee backgrounds, who act as 'tour guides' in a simulated refugee camp. 
Elle Murrell

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net