Jess Henderson set up Cactusilk, a business specialising in exquisite handmade Moroccan silk cushions, vintage Moroccan rugs and rug cushions, a couple of years ago as a “side project” – a stall at Avoca Beachside Markets. Since then, Cactusilk has expanded to a sizeable online store. 

Photo: Ingrid Sjodahl Photography

Jess first visited Morocco on a retreat for women in business but had no thoughts about establishing a business – she just wanted to experience the culture, shopping and food. 

“Well, it seems I fell hard for this country!” she says. “I was inspired at every turn by the beauty, colours and chaos of the medinas, the warmth of the people and the artisans’ creativity.” When Jess returned home, she realised she wished she’d brought home more of the pieces she loved and re-contacted some of the suppliers she had met to organise a few shipments of rugs, blankets and cushion covers. 

“I didn’t want to lose touch, so I kept ordering things – both for myself and friends – then decided to start the stall at Avoca … and it’s just grown from there.” 

Cactusilk is available online at, by private appointment in East Gosford (call 0418 964 775) and at the Avoca Beachside Markets (on the last Sunday each month from 9am to 2pm).


Central Coast Life & Style's editor is now a resident Coastie, having visited many times over the years. Sally is a well-known travel and cruise writer and loves exploring near and far. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’ve got a local story to tell!