David Slimings has a keen appreciation for the fun, funky and eclectic.
A graphic designer by trade, back in his home country of England, he worked in the music industry and created artwork for all the big music festivals - Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds.
"So I wanted to bring a lot of that kind of thing into my work," he said.
He's now landed in a sweet spot in Canberra - able to do his art and sell a curated range of gift products, all from the same location.
David and his wife Claudia have opened their "alternative gift shop" Needs and Wishes in the Ori Building on Lonsdale Street.
His workshop is at the back of the light and airy store, and a window at the cash register allows visitors to see through as he creates his designs - and customises products on the spot.
Needs and Wishes has been a wholesale business for eight years but branched into the retail space only a few months ago.
It opened in Braddon in June, hit COVID lockdown and re-opened in October.
There are David's Needs and Wishes products, from mugs to greeting cards, but also carefully-curated gift wares from retro food containers to a Dracula garlic crusher to Mr Boho watches to beauty products.
"We try to stock the store with items not seen in Canberra before but keeping it to our core values of fun, funky and a little bit of retro feel to it," he said.
One of his most popular items are the Needs and Wishes mugs, including the Straight Outta range - aka Straight Outta Tuggers, Straight Outta Belcompton, Straight Outta Queanbeyan - a cheeky take on N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton.
David also sells his artwork, heavily informed by pop culture, and has done commissioned work in Canberra, including a piece featuring Madonna.
The couple came to Australia originally because Claudia was born in England but was brought up in Perth.
"It was a lifestyle change really. A fresh start," he said.
They lived in Perth and Sydney before settling in Canberra in 2012 and were running the wholesale business from their Civic apartment. The first COVID lockdown in 2020 saw the wholesale side of things boom as online sales grew and led them to consider a bricks-and-mortar store.
"Needs and Wishes has grounded us here now," he said.
David's biggest thrill is hearing customers' reactions as they stroll around the store.
"They giggle and laugh and usually tell us, 'We didn't even know you were here'," he said.
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