Support for business

3 businesses making night-time their time

Shutting up shop at 5pm? Not these Sydney businesses, who saw success by thinking outside traditional trading hours.


Courtesy of the Artist

Shop 122, Level 2
The Strand Arcade
412-414 George Street

Courtesy of the Artist is a retailer specialising in contemporary jewellery and objects.

15 years ago, founders Nina and Cesar Cueva opened a Surry Hills studio. They now have 3 stores, including a custom store dedicated to Australian artists and a beautiful loft space in the Strand Arcade.

“We wanted the space to be a creative hub for different communities. Talking and connecting with people is where you form relationships and those people have ended up becoming some of our best clients,” Nina said.

However, high staffing costs meant they couldn’t be consistent with night-time events.

“The grant really helped us get it all started and get the ball rolling. It’s allowed us to come up with a proper plan. We can now pay for the staff members and resources to do the night-time programs consistently,” Nina said.

“We felt really strongly about the night-time diversification grant. It doesn’t just have to be bars and restaurants. We need a healthy mix of things that people can do, and it can’t just be about shopping either!”

Courtesy of the Artist hosts a range of events, from jewellery and perfume making, to yoga classes, performances and panel discussions.

The events are aimed at everyone, with the simple but ambitious aim of bringing the community together.

“We’re trying to get people off the couch. People who are shopping online or watching Netflix or anything else they’re doing that keeps them at home. We’ve all got to try and be creative and think outside the box to bring people out!”

Di Bartoli Coffee

Coffee retailer and education space.
647 Botany Road

Coffee at night? A macchiato in the morning or even a latte after lunch is a stalwart of our routines, but for the team at Di Bartoli, evenings presented a new challenge.

“As soon as we found out about the City of Sydney night-time diversification grant, we knew it was a great opportunity – particularly as we were moving into a new venue in Rosebery which had space to do something really interesting,” managing director Ofra Ronen said.

“Suddenly new possibilities to engage the community opened up. What we had to offer was so much more than just coffee retail, and we wanted to come from a place of empowerment and education – really letting people know that whatever the barista around the corner can do, you can do too.”

So the team of coffee connoisseurs went deep. It developed a seed to cup evening workshop for coffee drinkers who want to really understand what goes into a great, sustainable drink.

“For us, it’s about bringing the community together and getting lots of brand exposure,” Ofra said.

“We’ve seen interaction and engagement on social media rise and we’ve opened the door for new audiences, while people become more familiar with the location and what we offer.”

Di Bartoli offers coffee workshops at night. Credit: Di Bartoli
Di Bartoli offers coffee workshops at night. Credit: Di Bartoli


Fashion and lifestyle retailer
13C Burton Street

Darlinghurst fashion and lifestyle shop Footage has long been a daytime destination for chic pieces and elegant gifts. But now, at night, the store offers a very special kind of service: to meet the people behind the products.

“Meet the Maker is a forum for people to come together, meet other locals and have interactions with the artisans or producers we feature. It’s a personalised experience that’s worth leaving the house for,” co-owner Phil Koh said.

“These days my competitor isn’t just a shop down the road, it’s the competitor in Germany or Japan who sells online. The way to stay competitive is to invite people back into our space and showcase these amazing Australian artisans.”

Each monthly event draws from 40 to 60 people. All bar a few leave with a purchase.

“It’s also been free market research. It’s invaluable to have those conversations with our customers which translates into choices we make for the shop. And the night presents a perfect opportunity: they’re not at work, they’re feeling relaxed and in the frame of mind to enjoy themselves free from the day’s responsibilities,” Phil said.

A $10,000 grant from the City of Sydney has enabled Footage to offer the events throughout 2019 and “go deeper" into its offering "from better drinks to being able to offer freebies and extras to make the experience more enjoyable and enriching”.

A City grant allowed Footage to hold monthly events. Credit: Footage
A City grant allowed Footage to hold monthly events. Credit: Footage

Think a night-time diversification grant could help take your business into the evenings? Applications for grants and sponsorships are open in a number of categories from Wednesday 5 February to Monday 9 March 2020.

Published 11 February 2019, updated 29 February 2024