ByMERRIN

ByMERRIN l Merrin Schnable Resort Wear

With a keen eye for style and design, Merrin Schnable has always had a dream to have her own fashion label.  Growing up modelling was when she first had a taste of the fashion industry and her love has only grown as she brought to life; ByMERRRIN.  A resort wear label of versatile sarongs, kaftans and capes with pieces that have been designed to be worn multiple ways and for women of all shapes and sizes.

EXPLAIN TO US IN YOUR OWN WORDS.. What is ByMERRIN?

ByMERRIN is a resort wear label – it is a range of versatile sarongs, kaftans and capes.

My collection has an array of colours and designs that represent the free spirited, mindful, creative and happy souls that they adorn.

I designed the pieces so that they could be worn multiple ways. The sarongs can be used as a cape, headpiece, scarf, light jacket or shawl, while the Kaftan can easily also be worn as a dress paired with a belt and heels.  I wanted to create pieces that women of all shapes and sizes can wear.  I was thrilled to secure top Australian model and former Victoria Secret model, Jess Hart to shoot my collection.

HOW DID BYMERRIN COME ABOUT + to life?

It’s always been a dream to have my own fashion label, I have a keen eye for style and design, growing up modelling entered me into the fashion industry.  As I am a social media influencer, I really wanted to utilise my platform and that’s how ByMERRIN was created.

HOW LONG.. has ByMERRIN been up + running for? 

ByMERRIN turned one on the 29th of November!

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING.. what do YOU love about your job?

I love that I get to create pieces for women to feel and look beautiful – designing feminine pieces so women can feel and look their best.  I have numerous projects I run and I’m all about empowering and inspiring women to be their best and to look their best!

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING?

Absolutely, YES! I adore every aspect of it.  Fills my cup to think women feel empowered and confident in my designs.

EVERYBODY NEEDS AN ADVISOR.. who do you turn to for help?

Mandy Wilkens has been absolutely outstanding for me and my business ventures – from being my accountant, to the abundance of business advice she has given me over the years and continues to give me.  The wisdom she has shared with me has been amazing, I feel so comfortable knowing I have someone like Mandy as my go-to for all my business questions I need answered.  Highly recommend seeing Mandy for all of the above!

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE.. what’s next for ByMERRIN?

To continue creating fashion pieces that women of all sizes and shapes can wear and are going to feel beautiful in.  Also incorporate a charity in some way in 2021 – as this is so aligned to me, as I’m all things humanity and charity, helping people and the world we live in.

I WANT TO KNOW MORE!  How do I get in contact with ByMERRIN?

EMAIL // merrin@bymerrin.com

PHONE // 0431 609 058

WEB // https://bymerrin.com/

INSTAGRAM // https://instagram.com/bymerrin?igshid=15wakryzl5c6r

MERRIN SCHNABEL Instagram https://www.instagram.com/merrin_schnabel/

Ko_Ku_Bo Collective

Ko_ku_bo Collective was born out of Adrian (Reg) and Andrea Zyppel’s love for sustainable design with a focus on quality, hand-made, limited-run furniture.  Their mission is to provide an alternative to mass produced, imported furniture.  Reg and Annie are the energy behind Ko_Ku_Bo Collective!

WHAT EXACTLY IS… Ko_ku_bo Collective?

A small, family-run furniture making business with a passion for producing creative, functional and timeless pieces.  Our mission is to provide an alternative to mass produced, imported furniture.

Ko_ku_bo Collective products are meticulously designed and made with integrity and love.  We value traditional, hand-crafted joinery methods and take inspiration from the simplicity, quality and functionality of Swedish and Japanese design and craftsmanship.  All Ko_ku_bo Collective pieces are unassumingly simple in design with clean lines and subtle detail.

HOW DID KO_KU_BO COME ABOUT + come to life?

Ko_ku_bo Collective was born out of our love for sustainable design with a focus on quality, hand-made, limited-run furniture.  We make furniture that will grow with you.  Furniture that is worthy of migrating throughout the home as timeless, statement pieces that will last a lifetime.

We are designing and making pieces that we love but were unable to find in the marketplace.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AROUND FOR… + has Ko_ku_bo been up + running for?

Ko_ku_bo Collective launched one year ago (18 November 2019).

It was originally launched as ‘Cali Kids Collective’ targeting the kids furniture market.  We re-launched as Ko_ku_bo Collective in August in response to a demand for our furniture to fill the entire household (not just kids rooms!).

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING… What do YOU love about your job?

  • Sourcing and working with ethical, quality raw materials (birch plywood, American Oak)
  • Designing new products
  • Problem-solving
  • Being creative

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING.. or do you just get to hang out making furniture all day?

I’m driven to make furniture as it should be made – handcrafted, using beautiful materials, functional and timeless in design.  Furniture that shows attention to detail, pride in its craftsmanship and gives joy.  I find that exciting!

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who do YOU turn to for help?

Krys Canny-Smith!  Krys is always available for great advice – both financial advice and business advice.  As a start-up company we rely on professionals like Krys to help us grow in a tough industry and unstable economy, especially during 2020!  Krys boosts our confidence and we are so grateful for her support.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… What’s planned for the future of Ko_ku_bo Collective?

Currently, we sell our products via our website only and you can see our current collection here.

We are considering moving into retail to give potential buyers the opportunity to see and feel the beauty of our products.  We are also working on new products such as, beds, dining table and more storage/locker options.

I WANT TO KNOW MORE… How do I get in contact + find out more about Ko_ku_bo Collective?

Based in Geelong on Victoria’s Surf Coast, we deliver to Greater Melbourne, Greater Sydney and Greater Adelaide.  Please contact us regarding delivery to other areas.

Website: www.kokubocollective.com.au

Instagram: @ko_ku_bo_collective

Phone: Reg 0405 037 281

Cranberry Design l Interior Designer

A house that’s pretty is great!  But Cranberry Design’s overall goal is to create homes that bring that feel-good, happy feeling every time you walk in the door.  Cranberry Design is a full-service interior Design Studio based in Melbourne.  Established by Principal Designer, Wendy Davey since 2010.  Wendy continues to transform countless homes all around Australia.  Sharing her wealth of experience, creativity, and passion to any project she takes on by her friendly and approachable style makes for not only an enjoyable experience, but one that will last a lifetime.

WHAT IS… Cranberry Design exactly?

Cranberry Design is a full-service Interior Design Studio based in Melbourne. Cranberrys interior projects are renowned for their warmth, creativity and personal attention to detail.  Offering a highly personalised and tailored service; Cranberry specialises in the interior design of family homes, holiday homes and ski lodges.  Working collaboratively with their clients, Cranberry Design creates uniquebeautiful and innovative homes that are a true reflection of their owners personality, taste and lifestyle. 

HOW DID CRANBERRY DESIGN COME ABOUT… + come to life?

Principal Designer, Wendy Davey, has a diverse backgroundFinishing her degree at university, Wendy went on to practice teaching, travel the world and became a travel consultant.  Finally, in 2005, Wendy listened to her heart and followed her true passion, becoming a fully qualified Designer and Interior Stylist.  After a few projects for family and friends, word quickly spread, and within months her side project had bloomed into a flourishing full-time business. 

Wendys creativity and love of colour and texture have since seen her work featured in numerous magazines including Australian House & Garden, InsideOut, Real Living and Home Beautiful. 

HOW LONG… has Cranberry Design been up + running for?

Cranberry Design has now been up and running for just over 14 years. My first “office” was the kitchen bench at our home in Turramurra (Sydney).  

As with any new business, there were some tough times early on, but you couldnt get the smile off my face – I  knew I had found my calling.   

In 2011, my husband, Simon, took on a Project Management role in Melbourne.  For a while there, it felt like I might have to start the business again from the ground up. I can’t tell you how important having a good relationship with your clients is. My first few jobs in Melbourne were based solely on recommendations from my Sydney based clients. I’m so grateful for their support and trust in my work.  I also continued my work in Sydney with the help of good friend and designer Peta Howe of Oasis Designs.  It meant I could commute back and forwards (and see my family) and really helped with the adjustment to living in a new city.

What do YOU love about your job?

Whats not to love – we help bring our client’s dream home visions to life! There is never a dull moment; no two days are the same; no two houses are the same, and, no two clients or their styles are the same!  

There are definitely some stressful days.  Things don’t go quite according to plan – think deliveries to wrong suburbs on the wrong day!  Honestly, nothing that beats that moment when you see the joy in your clients’ eyes – when they finally get to see their beautiful made-over space. 

Im also surrounded by some amazing people! Cranberry has a great crew of suppliers and trades that go above and beyond to help our projects run smoothly, and I‘m supported daily by aincredible team of women in the studio that I trust implicitly. 

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING… or do you just get to make houses pretty all day?

A house that is pretty is great, but our goal is to create homes that bring that feel-good, happy feeling every time you walk in the door.  The making “pretty” is really such a small part of the job. First and foremost, the space that is being renovated (or built) needs to enhance our client’s lifestyle; it has to be functional and well thought out, and it has to flow seamlessly with its surrounds. To get to that stage requires lots of meetings.  A lot of spatial planning, scheduling, ordering, budgetary requirements and paperwork, I guess the not so glamourous side of things! 

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE TIPS…?  When it comes to “Spring Cleaning” your house or your workspace when it comes to home styling?

Spending so much time at home now, it’s more important than ever to enjoy and be inspired in your home!  Even a couple of adjustments can make a huge difference to its look and feel. 

  • TIP ONE // Firstly, you have to think about how you use the space that needs a freshen upAre there pieces of furniture that you always bump into or that you dont like? Move them out.  Make space only for the things that you love.  Has the furniture in the room been that way since you moved in?  The look of a room can completely change simply by rearranging the furniture. 
  • TIP TWO // Bring in some colour!  Colour is more than just a visual experience; it plays a large role in how we feel.  Whether it is a fresh lick of paint on the walls or some beautiful new cushions or throwsa splash of colour can make a room feel like new.  You dont have to go with whaton trend choose a colour that makes you feel good and that works with the mood of the room.
  • TIP THREE // Invest in quality.  Everyone has a budget, but I think it is important to buy the best quality you can afford. Too often, we buy cheap, inferior products that end up costing us more in the long run.  A wellmade sofa is a far better investment than a cheap, mass-produced sofa that you have to replace every couple of years.  If your home is now your office, invest in an ergonomic desk and chair – your back will thank you for it! 

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who do YOU turn to for help?

Colours, lighting, joinery I’ve got you covered, but when it comes to the business side of things, I know my strengths and weaknesses and the importance of surrounding yourself with an experienced, professional team.  We’ve been working with Krys at the Canny Group for six years now, and they always offer new information, ideas and objective advice – their assistance has been invaluable.  Not only have they helped Cranberry become more efficient as a business, they’ve helped us to avoid some costly mistakes! 

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future?

We are currently working on some exciting design projects that will keep us very busy over the next few months, including new builds, complete renovations and some smaller residential jobs. Moving forward, we are looking to expand on the design work!  Focusing on the work we have been doing at Mt Buller, Blairgowrie and Anglesea. We have lovely builders and suppliers in many regional areas and love the joy of working on clients holiday homes – they’re always happy to take a little more risk in the design elements when its not their primary place of residence. And prettying up a home thats used for such lovely family time makes me happy. 

HOW DO I GET IN CONTACT + find out more?

We would love to hear from you! You can find us at 

Website: https://www.cranberrydesign.com.au/ 

Email: wendy@cranberrydesign.com.au 

Phone: 0414 906 301 

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Deśa Retreat

Emma Flick has been learning practices of yoga and meditation for the past 28 years and she is sharing them with the people who are lucky enough to join her on her 3/4 acre property in Jan Juc that she has started sharing with the rest of the world.  Hosting two eco villa’s and a ‘tiny house’ as well as the most breath taking separate yoga studio you have ever seen.  Emma is also a qualified Trauma Sensitive Yoga instructor and very passionate about working with children and teens to help them to be equipped with the remarkable tools of attunement and emotional regulation.

WHAT IS… Deśa Retreat? 

Deśa Retreat provides restful luxury accommodation, person centered private and group yoga classes, education and experience in food growing and preparation practices and a holistic approach to health and well-being. 

All the services we provide relate to the realization of individual and collective human potential.  The aim of our offering is to establish emotional safety through providing a warm welcoming space, where people are able to meet themselves as they are and discover their present moment truth. Through welcoming others into presence, via connection with nature, breath, movement and voice, we aim to support others to discover their unique flow of creativity and wisdom. This then becomes the congruent guidance people are looking for to maintain a balanced happy life. 

HOW DID DEŚA RETREAT COME ABOUT… + come to life?

Through her studies in physical education, hotel management, social science, yoga and meditation, Emma has been exploring the key principles of holistic well-being for 28 years.  Deśa a Sanskrit word meaning “place” or “space”, was created to be a place of experiential learning, self-discovery and community connection. The human species is facing an array of social, environmental, and economic challenges, with 2020 being a year of unprecedented chaos on all levels. The individualistic, materialistic and capitalistic way in which humans have lived on planet earth for decades, is proving to be unsustainable. 

At Deśa we believe change will come through the mobilization of every individual to return to a “simple living, higher thinking” approach to life. We aim to guide people back to the home truths of living in harmony with mother nature and therefore themselves. To see themselves as part of, not separate to nature, to step back into the flow of nature through growing food, composting, recycling and tending to all of nature as an extension of tending to themselves. We aim to build healthy connected communities by inspiring others to be leaders of change in their own communities. 

HOW LONG HAS DEŚA RETREAT been up + running for?

Deśa has evolved in 2 key stages. The accommodation was completed in October 2017 and involved the creation of 2 new luxury eco villas that can be rented as one joint accommodation or 2 separate dwellings. They are both powered by solar, hydronically heated, and all water to the villas moves through a sophisticated filtration system.  The second phase involved the renovation of the main house and the creation of the yoga studio. 

WHAT DO YOU LOVE about your job?

I love connecting people with the free resources within themselves that they often don’t realize they have.  Primarily teaching breathwork that can quickly and profoundly change physical and mental states of being.  I love seeing people experience the softening of the stress on their faces, the easing of tension from their body, and also connecting with people from all over the world and learning from others who come to stay at the retreat.  I also love incorporating music and mantra into yoga classes to make them a unique and grounding experience. 

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING… or do you just get to sit back + relax all day? 

Teaching yoga and serving guests really is such a pleasure and a privilege for me. I do find it exciting and stimulating to meet new people, hear their stories, and connect deeply through practicing yoga together or even chatting to them on arrival or during their stay. It is a really rewarding job that I feel very grateful to have been able to create for myself. 

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who do YOU turn to when you’re in need of help? 

Mandy has been the main adviser for me at Canny. I really love how she came to see the retreat at our first meeting so she could get a sense firsthand of what I was doing. I feel she really cares about my business and wants to see it succeed. 

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future of Deśa Retreat? 

I would like to begin to run longer, more comprehensive retreat packages, involving food, accommodation and yoga. Perhaps even inviting in other highly respected practitioners to help co-facilitate a range of different offerings. 

I am also really passionate about working with children and teens and running more courses to help young people be equipped with the remarkable tools of attunement and emotional regulation.  Learning these tools early is critical for supporting resilience and equanimity to life’s ups and downs.  There is always a peaceful place inside ourselves regardless of what is going on around us, but sometimes we need a little help trying to access it.  I would love to teach more children in my community and beyond these critical life tools. 

HOW DO I GET IN CONTACT or find out more about Deśa Retreat? 

www.desaretreat.com.au 

INSTAGRAM @desaretreatjanjuc 

FACEBOOK @desaretreat.com.au 

EMAIL emma@desaretreat.com.au OR call 0400820279  

K.G Consultancy

Katie Greig is a human being like no other, she loves being able to develop inclusive environments that everyone (both disability and neurotypical) can enjoy regardless of their diagnosis or challenges.  It all stemmed from doing a primary education degree at university and being offered a job to home school a non-verbal 14 year old ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) boy in Argentina!  Now she is on to designing and developing some big community playground projects which are about to be launched!

WHAT IS… K.G Consultancy?

KG Consultancy provides play-based therapy to address behavioural challenges, utilisng evidence-based approaches to children and teens diagnosed with ASD.  We also offer NDIA support and information as well as consulting on projects assisting organisations to develop ASD, sensory friendly playscapes.

HOW DID K.G CONSULTANCY COME ABOUT… + come to life?

It all stemmed from doing a primary education degree at university and being offered a job to home school a non-verbal 14 yr old ASD boy in Argentina.  After discovering that there was little awareness in the educational world at the time, KG Consultancy was born through a life changing experience providing ABA therapy.

Passion to spread awareness and understanding has led to collaborating on a number of projects to provide a sensory friendly, ASD aware environment for all abilities to be able to enjoy.

HOW LONG has K.G Consultancy been up + running for?

I have been working in the ASD field for nearly 10 years through various positions and self-contracting roles, KG Consultancy as a “name” is relatively new and has slowly been building over the last 3 years.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE about your job?

I love being able to develop inclusive environments that everyone (both disability and neurotypical) can enjoy regardless of diagnosis or challenges.  I thrive in being able to assist individuals to meet their goals, wheather it is around toileting, feeding, sleeping, independence skills, puberty or just community engagement.

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who do you turn to the most?

Mandy, every time!  She has been holding me accountable (pun intended) since I was doing VCE accounting. I turn to her with all business enquiries, big or small and trust Canny Group 100% for all my tax and business needs.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future of K.G Consultancy?

Currently working on some big community playground projects, which is very exciting but am also busily developing programs and workshops to assist individuals to navigate NDIA supports.  KG Consultancy has a person-centered, family-focused approach to services.

The aim is to further educate and raise awareness so we can live in an inclusive, neurodiverse world whilst focusing on and promoting the strengths of ASD people.  We will also continue to provide support to assist with the daily challenges that ASD individuals face by providing supportive and individualised programs.

HOW DO I FIND OUT MORE + get in contact?

KG Consultancy currently have their website under construction but you can follow us on Instagram (@kgconsultancy) or contact Katie directly for any enquires or referrals via email (katie@kgconsultancy.com.au) or directly via mobile (0409 224 078)

 

Carol + Terry Crawford Funerals

Being a funeral director is a challenging but rewarding career and it is not a static role.  The most humble task is being able to assist a family to arrange a service that reflects their loved ones.  It not only gives immense satisfaction of being trusted to support them at such a difficult time in their lives, it is also very fulfilling.  Every service is unique, as is each families needs, but being honored and entrusted with many people from different walks of life and cultures adds all the more richness to Carol & Terry’s own lives.

WHAT IS.. Carol + Terry Crawford Funerals?

Carol & Terry Crawford Funeral Services is a locally owned and operated family funeral home, offering funeral care, pre-paid or pre-arranged funerals and bronze plaques for Memorialization needs.  Carol & Terry Crawford Funerals is unique to Geelong and district.  We offer a beautiful chapel nestled on manicured gardens overlooking the Bay towards the You Yangs.  We believe our chapel offers a warm and inviting environment for families to farewell their loved one.

EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS AN ADVISER… who is it that you turn to?

Terry and I believe a good adviser is essential and would be impossible to run a small business without one.  Danny Grigg is the person we turn to constantly for our accounting needs together with Krystine Canny-Smith.  More recently we have been seeking Samantha Butcher’s assistance for our financial planning needs and are looking forward to continued work with her and the start of this exciting venture together.

DO YOU ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO PLAN… when it comes to thinking about their funerals?

The concept of pre-planning a funeral has been with us for quite some time with families having the option to pre-pay their funeral, to pre-arrange their funeral without payment until the funeral is required or to partially pre-pay their funeral, for example covering the cemetery or cremation costs only.  There is no cost or obligation to discuss pre-paid or pre-arranged funeral needs.

We also encourage families to think about estate planning in tandem with their pre-planning their funeral as this can be very beneficial in so many different aspects.

IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE THING… what do you love the most about your job?

Being a funeral director is a challenging but, rewarding role.  Being able to assist a family to arrange a service that reflects their loved one, gives immense satisfaction that we have been able to help people at a very difficult time in their lives.  Funeral Directing is not a static role.  Our day constantly changes as each funeral service is unique, as is each family’s needs.  We also engage with many people from different walks of life and cultures and this adds a richness to our own lives.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what are your plans for Carol + Terry Crawford Funerals?

Covid-19 had been a huge upheaval for our society, leaving many people confused and unsure about their futures.  At the moment, we are assessing what this means to us.  However, the one constant is being there for families when we are needed, just as we have been in the past.

HOW DO I FIND OUT MORE… + get in contact?

P // +03 5248 5500

E // admin@crawfords.net.au

W // www.carolandterrycrawfordfunerals.net

Fresh Creative Entertainment

From roller skating and flash mobs to huge group entertainment, there is nothing that Chantelle and Benji Fava-Leeks will let stop them from doing what they love – performing!  Catching a big break in 2010, Chantelle wowed the audience AND the judges of Australia’s Got Talent and took the show by storm, from there it’s all about keeping fit, raising four beautiful boys and bringing more entertainment and sparkle into each day!

WHAT IS… Fresh Creative Entertainment?

Fresh Creative Entertainment devise and produce amazing entertaining concepts Australia wide.  We also provide workshops and touring productions, plus we were also invited to entertain at Canny Group’s amazing new office for their launch party in February last year.

HOW DID FRESH CREATIVE ENTERTAINMENT COME ABOUT/TO LIFE? 

Chantelle started the business as Rolling Entertainment and had her big break on Australia’s Got Talent in 2010.  To shake off the roller skating only image, she rebranded to Fava Productions in 2014, and Benji became more involved than just one of the performers.  He officially partnered Chantelle in 2018 and this year the company took its final shape as Fresh Creative Entertainment.

Moving our company to Canny sparked this image shift.  Mandy pushed us to achieve far more than we could have ever imagined and putting us in contact with Roxie Bennett who was instrumental in establishing who we are and why we do what we do.

IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE THING… what do you love the most about your job?

We are all about the creative.  We love watching an idea develop from inception to final product!  Seeing the audience/participants reaction and the passion in our performers.  We also love being able to create work for the arts industry and nurture young talent.

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING… or do you just dress up in costumes + get to play on roller-skates all day?

Isn’t dressing in costumes and skating around exciting?!  We think so!
We are pretty lucky to work in an industry where each day brings something a little spectacular, breathing fire, acrobatics, dancing and even pretending to be Aussie bogans in our theatre show, Memoirs & Mullets.  It’s not all glitz and glamour however, we also need to fit in raising 4 boys, keeping Xero reconciled & costumes clean … so that part is pretty ‘normal’.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future of Fresh Creative Entertainment?

Well Covid-19 has definitely been a challenge for the entertainment side of our company.  We look forward to re-opening the Potato Shed season with Memoirs & Mullets when restrictions ease and hope to start performing for live and online events later in the year.  In the meantime, we are redirecting our focus to teaching more circus and Musical Theatre workshops as well as offering hump day entertainment for office’s when staff return.

TELL ME MORE… how do I get in contact or find out more about Fresh Creative Entertainment?

INSTAGRAM // https://www.instagram.com/fresh.creative.entertainment/

FACEBOOK // https://www.facebook.com/Fresh.Creative.Entertainment/

WEBSITE // https://www.freshentertainment.com/

E-MAIL // chantelle@freshentertainment.com + benji@freshentertainment.com

Colour Muse Design

Lauren McDonnell has always had a passion for arts and crafts and it was also a way to help her sleep after busy nursing shifts in the emergency department.  It wasn’t until she was 36 weeks pregnant that she decided to start studying graphic design and she hasn’t looked back since!

WHAT EXACTLY IS… Colour Must Design?

Colour Muse Design is a graphic design business, offering a broad range of services from print media, logo design, custom illustrations to mural paintings, book design and wedding stationary and decor.

HOW DID COLOUR MUSE DESIGN COME ABOUT/TO LIFE?

Colour Muse started originally as a way to help me sleep after busy nursing shifts.  I then decided to undertake a Diploma of Graphic Design while 36 weeks pregnant!  I started doing small jobs for family and friends and then broadened my scope by starting social media accounts (massive step for me).

I’ve always loved art, creating things and obsessed with very bright colourful things.

I never thought I would make such a big career swap, that I’d only ever be an appreciator of art and creations, but here we are!

HOW LONG… how long has Colour Muse Design been up + running for?

1st January 2017 I started advertising on social media accounts for friends and family.  It was the top of the ‘to-do’ list for that new year! Three months later I started receiving weekly orders and haven’t stopped since!

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING… what do YOU love about your job?

I love the freedom and flexibility of this job.  I’m able to work at night once my daughter is asleep, of an afternoon after a nursing shift or weekends at the beach or you yangs.  I can take work with me camping and sitting by the fire or I can sit at my favourite cafes and sketch away.  I am very passionate about creating affordable art and design and mostly I just love adding colour to everyone’s life.  I love seeing things be turned from boring and dull to bright and energetic.  I think art can me used as a healing method and good design can aid a business to next level success.   As I have branched out I have also met some truely admirable people who have now become friends.

IS YOUR JOB/S EXCITING… or do you just do arts + crafts all day?

Arts and crafts are as exciting as being an emergency nurse, sometimes I think even more so! I’m often caught saying I wish there was an extra day in the week called ‘artday’, and I could honestly do this job 7 days a week if I could.  I get such a thrill when I’m approached to start a new job or meeting a new client.  I love delving deep into my thoughts to bring a concept alive and truely appreciate when the client gets as excited as I do about brainstorming and talking through ideas.  Not to mention seeing the client’s reaction with the final design, concept or painting.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future of Colour Muse Design + what keeps you motivated in these troubled times?

Just before the pandemic hit I had been busily creating and sourcing a lot of items to hire for weddings and events which will launch once the world is back on track.  I’m currently working on a website build so that the business will be able to run while I take off with my family on a trip around Australia and work remotely! We are also currently working on some huge projects at this point in time, so it’s really reassuring that people still believe in small business and supporting locals throughout this world-wide tough time.  I am lucky to have a backup career, but Colour Muse has been receiving order after order since this ordeal as people are taking the time to set up their businesses correctly, style their homes and appreciating hand crafted gifts like no other time in history.  I’m also using this down time to set up my business admin and organisation side of things- it’s only taken a pandemic to get myself sorted!

TELL ME MORE… how do I get in contact + find out more about Colour Muse Design?

You can find me at @colour_muse_design on Instagram and facebook, @colour_muse_art for commission based canvases and coming soon at www.colourmusedesign.com.au

 

 

Okki

Okki is a grown up version of Fiona McPherson’s previous childrenswear label that was fiercely successful, known as “Oishi-M”.  Okki was born from the demand of her glorious customers + the curiosity of adapting her famous designs into a womenswear brand… safe to say that she is bursting to unleash her complete unfiltered kookiness into her passion for her garments that are created from the inside out.  Coupling this ethos with uncompromising workmanship, it imbues each garment with a rich + race character + quality.

HOW LONG HAS OKKI BEEN UP + RUNNING FOR?

Two and a half years, Okki has been adorning and flattering a myriad of lovelies.

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING… what do YOU love about your job?

I get to create.  I am living my dream career.  Intrinsically, there is nothing else I would want to be doing.  If I was really going to push myself into another career path – it would be architecture. When you think of it though – I create all of my patterns in auto cad just like architects create their designs/patterns for buildings – basically I would be doing the same kinds of things in a different industry.  Makes sense I guess.  I simply love and adore what I live and breathe every moment of “da business”.  The good the bad and the ugly… I’ve learnt to love it all… it all propels you forward in whatever way you need it to.

With Okki, I get to come up with big ideas and work towards them.  This year I will be getting back into childrenswear.  I love it!  It’s something that I can unleash my complete unfiltered kookiness into and celebrate it.  We all love colour and love the idea of wearing the same garment with different twists… but as adults we let fear get in the way of what people may think if I stand out. Whereas, people tend to live these outlandish dressing goals through their kids.  Okki is for the creatively curious and OkkiD is for the kooki kids that just love rambunctious colour, patterns and all the good stuff.

Yup… I’m living life like a kid in a candy store.

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING… or you just play with clothes all day?

There is not one day that I have encountered whilst running Okki, that I have dreaded getting out of bed and going to “work”.  I say “work” because I really feel like I’m not “working”… I love it all. It’s hard work running a clothing label, designing, spec-ing designs, drafting patterns, making samples, refining samples, improving patterns, making fabrication samples, photo shoots, creating and thinking up ideas for photo shoots, cutting bulk fabric, sewing production whilst, talking with potential wholesalers, fabric suppliers, accountants [I love mine btw], bookkeepers [mine is gold and I love her dearly], PR guru’s [also… I love mine… just say’n]… brainstorming and creating marketing campaigns, applying and following through with markets, trade fairs and their stall designs etc…

This business is hectic and big and the opportunity is huge.  BUT most of all I love every bit of it.

What I have learnt through my experience is that you need to surround yourself with knowledgeable, experienced, quality professionals who take the things that you are not glorious at [and really don’t want to be] to give you the space to be creative and let your skills speak volumes.  My ducks are lining up and the professional positions that I have needed to fill have been carefully curated… now it’s “go” time.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for Okki?

Okki has a big year ahead!  I’m launching OkkiD, Okki’s kidswear label.  This is an extension of what my old kidswear brand was with pattern refinements and new creations to spark intrigue, joy and comfort in every kids life [and their parents].  The clothes are all constructed on the premise that they will grow a size with your child… be good enough after a couple of hand-me-down moments to still wear due to being made out of quality fabrications, and the patterns will grow with your child.

Whilst launching OkkiD in April, I will also be endeavoring to inject new styles and fabulous-ness into Okki, whilst running our Geelong based factory and our growing employee base.

TELL ME MORE… how do I get in contact + find out more about Okki?

Please feel free to email me on fiona@okki.com.au OR check our our socials…

WEBSITE // www.okki.com.au

INSTAGRAM // okkicollective

FACEBOOK // okkicollective

Bright Minds ELC Bannockburn

Hanging up her longtime hospitality apron, Belinda East did the research on her home town, Bannockburn, which is the third fastest growing regional town in Victoria and the need for a private child care centre.  So that is exactly what she did, officially opening Bright Minds Early Learning Bannockburn in September 2017 and she hasn’t looked back since!

SO… WHAT IS BRIGHT MINDS ELC BANNOCKBURN?

Bright minds ELC is a 167 place children’s service’s centre with long day care and 3 year old and 4 year old kindergarten.

HOW DID CHANGING FROM OWNING HOTELS TO AN EARLY LEARNING CENTRE COME ABOUT + to life?

We were in hotels prior to having Bright Minds and were looking at venturing into some kind of other business.  With the growing population of Bannockburn, it is the third fastest growing regional town in Victoria, we thought maybe there was a need for a private child care centre.  So we hung up our hospitality aprons, did some research and found that there was a high demand for a private operator to enter the market… and so it began!

HOW LONG HAS BRIGHT MINDS ELC BANNOCKBURN BEEN UP + RUNNING FOR?

We officially opened in September 2017.  Before that, it took about 18 months of red tape and Government bodies to get approved.  It was a long, difficult process but we just dealt with it one step at a time and eventually got there!

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING… what do YOU love about your job?

It’s always a pleasure to go to work for me!  Being part of the community and being able to help parents is definitely the thing I love most about my job!  We employ around 45 full-time staff now so my job [most days] is managing staff and the issues that arise from that, if any!  I do fortnightly payroll and manage the financial side of the business as well.  We have a fantastic director, Jodie, who treats our business like it’s her own, a wonderful 2IC and full-time admin officer, so the centre basically runs itself without too much input from me now.

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING… or do you just look after other people’s kids all day?

Haha, don’t let my educators here you say that!  The industry is very regulated so most of my staff have a Diploma or a Bachelor in Early Childhood.  We tend to employ more qualified staff than what is regulated, we feel it delivers better programs and more experience gives depth to our service.

The notion of “just looking after kids” is long gone.  Our staff are well trained in educating all ages of children, from the babies room right up to kindergarten.  I think our 4 year old kindergarten program is one of the best, it not only educates the children through play but it also gets them socially/community aware and prepared for their schooling years.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future of Bright Minds ELC Bannockburn?

We are off to another busy start to the year with numbers filling up quickly again after our kinder children left for school at the end of last year.  So I guess physically, there is nothing left to do to the business, it is fully set up and developed.  We are constantly learning, researching, trying to improve our programs and processes, so that is always an ongoing mission which keeps us more than busy.

HOW DO I GET IN CONTACT… find out more + check out your amazing centre?

We are at 17 Archer Way, Bannockburn.

You can call 52 921 931 or email enquiries@brightmindsearlylearning.com.au to book a tour or come have a look at our centre.

We have a Facebook page “Brightminds Bannockburn” and our website is www.brightmindsearlylearning.com.au

We would love to see you x

Revitalize Lifestyle

Jo Surkitt created Revitalize Lifestyle to create sustainable positive change in the workplace, facilitating a whole range of corporate wellness programs as well as working in her clinic seeing clients 1:1 which then simply developed into including workshops and lifestyle wellness retreats.

SO.. WHAT IS Revitalize Lifestyle?

I created Revitalize Lifestyle to create sustainable positive change in the work place, facilitating a whole range of Corporate Wellness programs as well as working in my Wellness clinic seeing clients 1:1.  It then developed into including workshops and lifestyle wellness retreats.

HOW DID REVITALIZE LIFESTYLE COME ABOUT + to life?

I previously worked in the travel and tourism industry which I loved.  However, the travel industry was highly stressful, we usually worked 12-14 hour days, 6 days a week and travelled extensively around the world, it was a thriving industry, however after contracting Schistosomiasis in Africa I became very unwell and the disease lead to me having CFS and Fibromyalgia amongst other conditions.  In 1999 I had to resign from the travel industry and was bedridden for months until I took my health into my own hands and enrolled into a Naturopathy degree and a few years later Revitalize Lifestyle was born!

HOW LONG HAS REVITALIZE LIFESTYLE BEEN + RUNNING FOR?

I began Revitalize Lifestyle in Melbourne in 2002 before moving to the Surf Coast in 2006.

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING… what do YOU love about your job?

Meeting people from all walks of life and assisting them to achieve their health, wellness and life goals/vision.  My favorite part is witnessing the transformation in my clients, seeing them create a positive mindset that allows them to change all aspects in their life.  Being able to provide clients with strategies and techniques that they can use on a daily basis to allow them feel healthy, full of energy, motivated and focused.  It’s inspiring to watch and I love that I can be a part of their journey.

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING… or do you just get to sit back + with bunches of people at retreats all the time?

It’s always exciting, inspiring, fun and rewarding.  Every retreat and workshop is different as each group of people bring different experience, personalities and ideas with them and I tailor each workshop and retreat to what my clients need and want.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE… what’s planned for the future of Revitalize Lifestyle?

Some exciting workplace programs and retreats will be released this year and I am presenting at various national conferences which is always fun.  I am also very excited about a Wellness Adventure tour that will be released later in the year.  Keep your eyes peeled.

HOW DO I GET IN CONTACT… find out more + check out your amazing work?

WEBSITE // www.revitalizelifestyle.com

EMAIL // revitalizehealth@bigpond.com

LINKEDIN // Jo Surkitt

INSTAGRAM // @Josurkitt

FACEBOOK // @JoSurkitt

We All Rotate

Steve Beatty was trekking near Everest base camp when the devastating 2015 Nepal earthquake hit and he experienced first-hand the desolation inflicted onto the beautiful Nepalese people.  A month passed following the devastation of the earthquake and Steve was still in Nepal, rallying financial support from back home in Geelong.  He successfully raised enough month to send essential supplies by the truck load to remote areas that desperately needed it.  It was life changing for the communities, but also for Steve and that’s how We All Rotate was born.

 

WHAT IS WE ALL ROTATE?

We All Rotate is an Australian registered Not for Profit charitable organisation that focuses its operations entirely in Nepal.

We provide financial aid and educational opportunities for children and families living in poverty, and those struck by tragedy, loss or abandonment.  We source appropriate schools for children who have never stepped foot in a school before, or we negotiate with the child’s current school to form a partnership where we pay and cover all educational fees for that child moving forward.

We do this through a unique and personal sponsorship program. Sponsors pay a monthly amount and through this they provide the gift of an education, and they get regular updates and progress reports, videos and pictures from us and their sponsored child.  Sponsors also get the privilege of watching their involvement impact and completely change the lives of a child and their family.  As of November 2019, We All Rotate have over 90 students in our sponsorship program, and we will have more children in the coming weeks who have been evaluated as being in urgent need of sponsorship support for their education.

We also work to reduce the stigma, social injustices and poor healthcare surrounding menstruation in Nepal.  In rural areas we run health information classes for women and students, and provide reusable sanitary wear products made in Australia by an incredible team of volunteers.  In Kathmandu we also run classes in schools informing on women’s health and hygiene, menstruation and self-care.

In 2019 we started running Adventure Leadership and Teamwork treks for our sponsored students.  Students 14 yrs and older have the opportunity to participate in a trek into the Himalayas, where they see first-hand the beauty of their own country,  as many have never moved far from their homes.  They participate in games and activities that foster team building and leadership skills, and they are challenged physically with long days of trekking, and mentally with their own self-discovery and ability to face and overcome challenges.

We also provide financial aid periodically to those desperate for hospital treatment and surgery.  This past year we have helped a young boy get treatment for 3rd degree burns to most of his body, when he was caught in a house fire that claimed the life of his mum.  We supported a young girl with spinabifida that had created a large growth on her spine and left her incontinent and therefore a social pariah, and threatened to take the use of her legs into future.  Her intricate operation was a success, she is no longer is incontinent, she can return to school, and she will now not lose her ability to walk.  We covered costs of surgery, medication, food and toiletries for 4 year old girl violently attacked by her step father.  She needed immediate surgery and a part of her skull removed to release the pressure on her brain.  We monitored and supported her progress for months until she was given the all clear to go home.  We can only help these people because of the generous donations we receive – the support has been amazing.

HOW DID WE ALL ROTATE COME ABOUT + come to life?

We All Rotate was born out of the devastating 2015 Nepal earthquakes when I [Steve Beatty, now CEO/Founder of WAR] was trekking near Everest base camp and I saw first-hand the devastation and desolation inflicted on the beautiful Nepalese people when the earthquakes struck.  I stayed in Nepal for a month following the earthquake and rallied financial support from home in Geelong, and raised enough money to send truckloads of essential supplies to remote areas that desperately needed it.  It was life changing for the communities, but for me also.

Upon returning home I was unable to forget the scale and impact of the tragedy I had witnessed, and I was determined to continue helping the Nepalese people in some capacity.  In 2017 I registered the charity, and was guided and supported through the process by Canny Group.

EVERYBODY HAS SOMETHING… what do YOU love about you job?

Although my contribution to We All Rotate is entirely voluntary, this is the most rewarding job I have ever done.  I now reside permanently in Kathmandu, and I get to see firsthand the lives changed through education and support.  I’ve learned that my presence in a room beside a mother or father who have reached desperation point, and just listening to their story, can be extremely supportive – and I love doing that.  I also love sharing with our sponsors stories and videos that highlight the impact they’re making, and how their generosity is life changing – and I love seeing friendships grow between sponsors and the sponsored child and family.

IS YOUR JOB EXCITING..?

Yes it can be, but it can also be very hard and emotionally draining at times.  Seeing the hardship, and not being able to help everyone is tough.  Coming across children totally abandoned, and intervening in domestic abuse cases and sexual violence cases is heart wrenching.  I’m currently dealing with grandparents who are looking after their 6 yr old granddaughter after both the mother and father have abandoned her.  Now the grandparents no longer want her and we are desperately working on finding a solution to this.  Soon that little girl will be safe, in school and cared for. Yes, my job is exciting!

WHAT IS PLANNED FOR THE FUTURE OF WE ALL ROTATE?

We will continue to grow, but gradually.  We have no desire for We All Rotate to become a large organisation; my plan is to continue to operate as we do and do it well, for the sake of our sponsored kids and for our sponsors.  Our sponsors often make a real financial sacrifice to assist a child each month, and our ability to be able to sustain a close relationship with them is also important to us.  Additionally, although we have a very active social media profile, we intend to grow that presence with future social media use, and when funds allow, with website design features.

We will run at least two leadership and team building treks per year for students.  One for girls and one for boys, and we are considering offering this as a fantastic opportunity for key individuals wanting to travel to Nepal and participate in the trekking program and offer their skills as a mentor.

We continually are being asked by schools within Kathmandu to run our women’s hygiene training classes, and also have now been requested to initiate “appropriate behaviour between the sexes” classes.  Schools have seen the rapport and respect we have with the kids – and they want more!  In the future with funding we can provide resources and wages for local Nepalese women who can assist WAR to roll this out on a larger scale.

HOW DO I GET IN CONTACT.. find out more + look at being a sponsor?

If you would like to hear more, be involved, donate or sponsor we would love to hear from you.

FACEBOOK + MESSENGER // www.facebook.com/weallrotate/

EMAIL // weallrotate@gmail.com

WEBSITE // www.weallrotate.com