Paula Ossevoort outside Burger Culture in Nelson. Paula has helped set up the Christmas Market and Little Beehive Coop. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Talking creative with Paula Ossevoort, co-founder of the Nelson Christmas Market and Little Beehive Co-op


Every few weeks the Nelson Weekly speaks to someone interesting doing something interesting at either Burger Culture of the Vic Brewbar.

This time we sit down with Paula Ossevoort, a fashion designer who helped found the Christmas Market at Founders Heritage Park and the Little Beehive Co-op. We speak about being creative and entrepreneurial in Nelson.

How did you start out being a designer?

I have always been pretty creative. My mum’s an artist. I used to be a chef but didn’t like the hierarchy of the kitchens.

I wanted to work on my own so I learned how to sew in my 20s. And I’ve always liked clothes. I started making clothes and selling to friends, at markets and online and it went from there.

Then you decided to help set up the Christmas market?

When my son was born I started making kids’ clothes and set up an online store. I met two other women who were doing similar things so we teamed up to do the Saturday market. From then we decided to set up a Christmas market.

That was six years ago. It seemed like there was a gap for really great hand made goods.

How was that first one?

We were blown away by the turnout. You never know. There was a queue and it was crammed. There are also so many creatives tucked away in Nelson and it definitely brings a lot out of the woodwork. For an annual event people are going to make the effort.

Then you helped found the Little Beehive Co-op on Hardy St?

It was actually my friend Rachel Brown’s idea. She was looking for a space to connect with other creatives and not be alone. We found this space thanks to Jose G Cano, who owned the building and really helped us get set up. He was so supportive. We wouldn’t have got it off the ground without him.

That was four years ago – we started off with a little shop with no furniture. It just got bigger.

What does something like that do for local creatives?

We just wanted to make it easy for artists and make it worth their while. So we structure it so it’s a affordable. I think people appreciate that and it drips down into the community. We get so many supportive comments.

What about the future?

This year we are hoping to move premises to a new place on Bridge Street which is really exciting and it’s part of a cool vision.