Cooks Hill

The Colour Bug

African art & fashion boutique

Curating quirky African fashion, recycled art & lifestyle products, lovingly handcrafted by the people of Africa.

If you think The Colour Bug sounds familiar, you wouldn’t be wrong! Founded by the lovely Shivangi Maheshwari, the brand was originally popping up at our very own Sunset Gather and Five Senses Twilight Markets.

After juggling work through the week, and fitting markets in over the weekends, Shiv decided it was time to bring her vibrant, boutique brand into its own dedicated space.

“It was getting really exhausting with the markets, so it was just really nice to have a brick and mortar store and spread out,” Shivangi told me.

Only opening their doors earlier this year, visitors now don’t need to wait for markets to come along, they can head into the space on Darby St six days a week; Tuesday to Sunday!

The boutique retail space is curated of quirky African fashion, recycled art and lifestyle products; all lovingly handcrafted by artisans and women’s collectives in different parts of Africa.

Shivangi, or Shiv as she prefers, is an Indian born Australian, who actually spent half of her life living in East Africa; Kenya and Tanzania to be precise. Her parents are still living in Kenya and she visits frequently, but upon her last visit, an idea was born.

“I had visited my parents in Kenya, and I came back to Newcastle and honestly just missed all the fabric and colour. The idea came to me and it has become such a passion project.”

An accountant by profession, Shiv's creative side was always yearning for some love! Being a traveler and artist at heart, The Colour Bug has been the ultimate creative outlet and really embodies everything she represents.

“I love it so much it doesn’t feel like work. I don’t think I have been happier with my work-life than I do now. I get to travel, I get to work with people, I get to shop, I get to take pictures; everything all comes together.”

The concept of the products in store, is ultimately to show support for the artisans and women collectives in African communities, creating a base for sustainable employment and showcasing and sharing their artistic pieces to the people of Newcastle. Shiv is also passionate about building authentic relationships with her artisans; working only with those who share the vision of ethical and sustainable trade.

That means you, as the customer, know you are getting one-of-a-kind pieces that are supporting ethical and sustainable practices. Oh, and the best part? The Colour Bug offers a unique experience to the customer; for each product, attached is a story card, for you to meet the maker of your new unique item.

“This is so important to me as it connects the customer not only to the product but to the person who made it. You get to learn a little something special about them and their culture.”

So, what can you actually get your hands on in store?

Well, it’s always changing so you’ll never see the same thing twice, but generally speaking there is a beautiful range of clothing and accessories made from traditional African fabrics, hand-woven homeware, tableware and toys, and even recycled art sculptures which are made from discarded flip-flops; these are so cool, you have to see them in the flesh!

“Every piece in the shop is unique. You will never see it again because the products change so frequently. It makes it very unique as it is made for you and has a unique story.”

If you love having one-of-a-kind pieces that you know you can trust are coming from ethical and sustainable trade, you must get along to visit Shiv at The Colour Bug. The space is so inviting, and Shiv is always down for a chat; you might never leave!

The Colour Bug

104 Darby Street, Cooks Hill, NSW, 2300

Today - 1000 - 1500