Etsy Made Local 2019 – Featured Stallholders Q&A with Kurly Wurly Bar

This series of Q&A is all about shining the light on our 6 large feature stalls that we have in the upcoming Christmas market: Etsy Made Local – Saturday 23rd November – Sydney Town Hall. 

‘Feature’ stalls are new to our market this year, they are stalls that are larger in size and life than usual and you won’t miss them! There are 6 artists and designers that will be running featured stalls on the day and we’ll be chatting to each of them on the lead up to the market here on the blog.

Today we are chatting to Michael from Kurly Wurly Bar who is an illustrator that loves to create quirky drawings of the parts of Australia he loves – galahs, surfer dudes, brush turkeys, chiko rolls and sea gulls.

Here’s what we chatted to Michael about: 

Tell us about you and your brand! What is your creative practice is, how and when you begin and how long have you been an Etsy seller? 

Kurly Wurly Bar is for blokes (and some cool women too) who want to make a splash! Created by me, Kurly (aka Michael Kovacs) a life-long illustrator who loves to draw all the things I love about Australia; galahs, surfer dudes, brush turkeys, Chiko Rolls and sea gulls. I’ve created a range of fashion items and accessories for fellas looking for some colour including party shirts, shorts, beach towels, stubby holders and socks.

Galah shorts

I’m located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and have been selling on Etsy since 2017.

Where do you call home and what are your creative hotspots where you live or beyond?

I live in Frenchs Forest and back onto the bush so the backyard is a great start. Plus I love parts of the older suburbs in Sydney that still have some of the historic architecture like Paddington and Glebe. Recently I did some trekking in the Red Centre and was blown away with it’s beauty and powerful landscapes.

What inspires you to make and where do you get your inspiration from?

I’m inspired by everything in our backyard – from brush turkeys and kookaburras to gum trees and hills hoists! I also love the beach and the old school surf culture – longboards and Chiko Rolls. Then my favourite, and what I find is very popular with my customers, is taping into the nostalgia of what it was like when we were kids.

Photoshoot 1-1783

ChikoMan shirt - 4

Tell us about a typical day for you in your creative practice, do you follow a routine or have a different approach? Which part of the creative process is your favourite and why?

My special creative space is an old desk in the corner of our living room –  can look out to the garden and bush during the day and keep working while the tv is on at night. I can paint, draw, cut, scribble and doodle to my heart’s content. Then if I want to spread out on the couch I can grab the iPad and keep drawing digitally.

Kurly painting at the markets

I don’t have many typical days as I’m all over the place depending what is the next priority. But when the place is quiet then there’s a good reason for me to bunker down and do another painting.

What would you say is the biggest challenge when running your own business, what is your favourite and least favourite part?

Biggest challenge is earning enough money by doing something you love.

My favourite part is imagining, creating and sharing. Ideas often take time to process, experiment, draw in 100s of ways and then begin to produce items showcasing them.

The reactions you get from customers the first time they see something, like the cheezles on the fingers which evokes childhood memories, is magic, it’s like a drug to your soul and ignites you to keep creating.

My least favourite part is “running the business”, ordering, stocking, paying bills, getting chased for not paying bills. I don’t mind a little of it but there is shitloads of it!

Kurly painting at home

What would you say is your proudest creative business achievement to date? And if it hasn’t happened yet, what do you aspire to?

We had a few items feature on TV shows like the Galah Stubby Mit was showcased on The Living Room (Amanda Keller described it as the “most Australian invention ever seen”) and the Galah Socks were worn by the lads on Gogglebox.

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All 6 socks - 1

Where would you like to see your brand in 5 years time? 

I’d love to see it recognised all over the world, in quirky shops and funky places. Hopefully we extend to a kids range as they would look super cute wearing the designs too.


What’s your favourite thing about being part of Sydney Made? Is this your first market, if not what do you like about attending our events?! 

I love the community, the sharing, the help and love of all things creative. From fellow stallholders to the beautiful customers that love having a chat – everyone is caring – they are my tribe.

If you could give yourself a piece of advice when you began, what would it have been?

Don’t buy the cheapest marquee on eBay as it will come in 400 pieces and take 2-3 hours to erect!

Kurly making surfer dudes

Follow along with what Michael is upto: Website, Instagram, Facebook.

Thanks Kurly! We cannot wait to see what you do with your feature space but we know it will be very bright and FUN!

Compiled by Sydney Made Leader – Katy of Shiztastic

To see more of our creative makers and designers, follow our Facebook page: Sydney Made