Mesh Mash was founded in late 2014 and through artists collaboration, produced two releases of limited edition T-shirts, tea towels, tote bags, stickers and badges. The sales of the limited release stock has been positive with five market appearances, a pop up shop/ studio and interest from a number of shops opening up a wholesale market for part of the range.
Mesh Mash started as a strategic program at Woods Street Arts Space, Laverton with the support from the Hobsons Bay City Council’s Mayoral program; under the name ‘I am a Local’ to engage with young people in Hobsons Bay. This need for engagement was identified through Council’s social planning and the latest census data. After trialling some initiatives with street art with a mixture of success we were to learn from our experiences. A print making studio was developed to enable the young participants a way of owning their ideas and empowering them through making products to sell that would diversify the way they made art. This process also included business development learnings.
The young people currently engaged in the program, now identified as ‘The Foundation Crew’ came up with the idea for the name, which can be translated as the fine mesh of a print making screen alongside the design process, which is all about collaboration and mashing ideas together.
One of the critical factors to success in youth engagement is building solid foundations around trust, we felt to do this we needed momentum and longevity.
Often programs like this that are developed through local government frameworks are short-lived, with fresh new ideas being tested constantly within the realm of community cultural development. Mesh Mash would be different as we saw the need for a longer-term vision and a sustainable business model, that wasn’t forever reliant on local government funding and that would further incubate the trust and momentum already established.
Mesh Mash as a social enterprise was born.