NSW - Telstra Australian Business Awards

HTC Start-Up Award

Coffs Coast Health Club

‘Our vision was to create a professional fitness club that was genuine about creating a healthier and happier Coffs Coast community.’ Duncan Marchant, Owner

Duncan Marchant is committed to creating an environment which encourages fitness and fun for everyone on the Coffs Coast. He took over Coffs Coast Health Club in 2009 which according to him was a rundown facility with a small member base and limited services. Since taking the helm, he has invested in making it a safer, cleaner, well maintained facility with supportive and qualified staff and a member base of more than 1200. The Club caters for the experienced and beginners, both young and old. Through forging close relationships with local businesses, community groups, schools and allied health professionals, Duncan has created a solid following and says listening to member feedback was essential in creating an environment which met their needs. In addition, the club receives a consistent flow of doctor referrals for rehabilitation due to the trust they have in the professionalism and quality of the club’s 30 staff.

Evolve Orthodontics

‘It is a happy business to be involved in and it is immensely satisfying to see the patients so pleased with our orthodontic treatments.’ Dr John Brabant, Owner

Putting smiles on the faces of children and adults was the inspiration for Dr John Brabant to open Evolve Orthodontics. John derives great satisfaction out of improving people’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Based in Albury, the business was formed after the wind up of a local orthodontic service. It now caters for patients from southern NSW and north-east Victoria with satellite practices in Wangaratta, Bright, Myrtleford, Yarrawonga, Cobram, Corowa and Deniliquin. Soon after its opening, John began to acquire the latest in orthodontic technology, including an invisible alternative to braces. John believes all businesses should give back to the community so he began the Carevan Foundation in 2009 which feeds homeless and disadvantaged people in Albury-Wodonga. The company has grown from one orthodontist to two and now employs a therapist, a hygienist and four full time staff. It has also increased its auxiliary staff and such is demand, the company now offers Saturday consultations.

Flying Penguin Extraordinary Educational Toys

‘A visit to our shop should be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for adults and children alike and our success in this is demonstrated through repeat customer visits and growing sales.’ Vicki Harding, Director

While parenting their first child, Vicki Harding and Jackie Braw became interested in good quality educational toys and games that are creative, fun and environmentally-friendly. Flying Penguin Extraordinary Educational Toys began as an online business in August 2009. Two months later they opened a shopfront in King Street, Newtown. They chose the area because Newtown is a location where people shop to find interesting and alternative gifts and there are a lot of young families. To date, the company has won three business awards and initiated a Penguin Partner’s program with local schools and childcare centres and providing discounts for teachers when purchasing resources for their school. In a short period, they have managed to double their website revenue and future plans include opening stores in every state. They also pass on materials they can no longer use, such as empty boxes to people who are moving house.

Forward Thinking Design Pty Ltd

‘We focus on building long-term relationships and aim to become a leader in the interior design industry through maintaining an exemplary standard of ethics.’ Vanessa Cullen, Managing Director

Having gained extensive experience as an interior designer, Vanessa Cullen became dismayed with some of the standards in her industry. She also saw the need for a service that attacked projects from the client’s point of view and could help them through the process step by step. Forward Thinking Design was set up as a part-time company for Vanessa while studying full-time at university in 2003. By 2005, it had become a full-time obsession. Company revenue has grown by more than 100 per cent year on year, which has been helped by strong strategic alliances with shopfitters. A more aggressive web-based marketing strategy has also had an impact. The Baulkham Hills company provides interior fit out design for restaurants, retail stores, health and commercial premises, with clients including Kmart Tyre and Auto Service. In addition, it conducts experiential concept and brand design, architectural construction documentation and project management.

LeadBolt

‘LeadBolt was born out of the realisation that digital advertising - especially in the online and mobile space - was struggling to remain effective.’ Dale Carr, Chief Executive Officer

Noticing an increasing number of people were tuning out to traditional website ads, Dale Carr developed a software system to give businesses a different option. LeadBolt was launched in 2010 to enable companies to advertise on mobile apps and the web by using innovative formats, superior ad serving technology and a customer-focused interface. Product innovation has been the primary factor behind the company’s success. When starting out, the company found the development of the network required a ‘chicken and egg’ balancing act and it was difficult to find resources in Australia with appropriate digital experience. They also needed to be closer to their customer base in the United States. It overcame these challenges through building a sales and marketing team in the US, developing skills and expertise here, including a training program for new employees, and assembling a technology team to drive innovation. LeadBolt is now serving more than one billion advertisements per month.

Ormeggio at The Spit

‘We believe in quality, simplicity, passion and teamwork - this sums up our attitude to food, service and style.’ Alessandro Pavoni, Co-owner

Suffering a heart attack while working at the Park Hyatt forced executive chef Alessandro Pavoni to reconsider his life in mid-2009. He decided to bring forward his dream to open up his own harbourside restaurant. Around the same time, a site became available at D’Albora Marina at The Spit. Alessandro decided to team up with long-time friend Fraser Guthrie and take the leap to start Ormeggio at The Spit. Featuring an adjoining kiosk, it is a fine dining restaurant specialising in contemporary Italian cuisine. The new restaurant has received positive accolades in 2012 food and restaurant guides. Appearances on MasterChef have also helped build their customer base. Despite their industry experience, Alessandro says they have learned much about business operation through their new enterprise, in particular cost control. With a staff of 20, annual turnover has improved due to their team’s skills and a menu restructure – including two degustation menus with matching wines.

News Limited Micro-Business Award

Accounting & Taxation Advantage

‘We want to change our clients’ lives though having a positive impact on their business, which flows through to their family and community.’ Melissa Browne, Owner

A divorce six years ago helped Melissa Browne refocus her mind on her burgeoning accounting and advisory venture. Since that time, a business she set up as a part time company from her home, has come on in leaps and bounds with the business opening a second office in North Sydney to support its Glenbrook site. The company’s goal is to change the lives of clients by helping them minimise tax, generate and retain wealth and become better business-owners. Melissa says there is a ‘sea of sameness’ among accounting firms, so she works hard to differentiate her business by visiting clients for free each year, hosting free client events and charging through fixed process agreements. The business has also introduced a system to guarantee each client has their work completed by the end of a dedicated month at an agreed fixed price.

Cushie Tushies

‘The three keys to our success to date have been our vision, passion and persistence.’ Catherine Langman, Co-owner

As young mothers, Catherine Langman and Michelle Fowler were inspired to create a business that balanced work and family while challenging their professional and creative interests. The birth of Michelle’s first son provided the inspiration to design their first nappy. They wanted the benefits of cloth combined with the ease of disposables. With few options on the market, the two created their own. The Croydon business started in 2008 with a few metres of fabric, a sewing machine and a home-made website. Cushie Tushies now creates a range of quality eco-friendly nappy products. The business now services 90 national stockists and sales representatives across Australia. While the Cushie Tushies current range is focussed on ‘birth to potty training’ products, this is set to expand this year with the release of new ranges, including eco-friendly breastfeeding pads and sanitary pads. In addition, from 2014, it will offer franchises to current sales representatives and brand advocates.

Highlands Drive Safe

‘If you want to build and expand a new business in an established area, you have to think big and believe in your strengths and abilities.’ Murray Tyler, Director

Enjoying the experience of teaching their teenage children to drive, Murray and Sue Tyler leapt at the opportunity for a career change. With a strong commitment to road safety, Highlands Drive Safe took on its first learner drivers in 2007. The home-based business covers an area from Hilltop to Goulburn. During the past five years, its services have expanded into older driver lessons and assessments, rehabilitation lessons, such as for stroke victims, international licence conversion classes and community education sessions. By operating in an area already well serviced by driver education providers and with no reputation or history, the couple knew it was going to be a difficult road. But by targeting prospective clients through social media and a simple and effective marketing approach, their customer base has grown. This financial year, turnover is expected to double from the previous year. Future plans include business expansion to continue regional growth.

S1T2

‘The entrepreneurial spirit which grew our film production society was the catalyst for the beginning of our commercial enterprise.’ Chris Panzetta, Managing Director

S1T2 started life as a film production society at the University of NSW in 2005. It was used by members as a vehicle to express their creativity, gain practical production experience and network with like-minded individuals. Soon after its founding, members instigated a restructuring process to transform it into a commercial enterprise. Co-founder Chris Panzetta says the company observed traditional film production companies had yet to dominate the online space, which it felt provided a substantial opportunity. The Bondi Junction-based company now creates digital media productions including online video. Despite a lack of start-up capital and no industry experience, it now numbers international companies such as Visa among its clientele. Due to its boutique size, customers still get personal service and a level of accountability which is often neglected by bigger players. Their long-term goal is to become Australia’s most sought after independent digital creative agency.

StoneSet Permeable Paving Pty Ltd

‘Reaching all of Australia as a small business has been a huge challenge but we have been able to attract other companies, get them to take on training and become approved installers.’ Andrew Newton, Co-founder

StoneSet Permeable Paving started in Australia in 2008 after the company’s founders emigrated from the UK with an idea to introduce an innovative porous paving solution. Co-founder Andrew Newton says the team is passionate about paving and has developed a product that is versatile, hard-wearing attractive and porous. Their products, which are used throughout Australia and New Zealand, are made from natural or coloured recycled glass bound in a crystal clear resin. Its applications include tree surrounds, driveways, pathways and decorative areas. The company has worked with many councils, including Marrickville in Sydney’s Inner West to develop and install a retrofit permeable paving carpark and stormwater management. The company has strong environmental values, which are demonstrated by working with Carbon Neutral Australia. The company aims to be the market leader in resin-bound paving and develop unrivalled expertise in porous paving solutions for stormwater management and rainwater harvesting. They plan to bring their products to DIY enthusiasts through landscaping supply centres.

Visual Expanse

‘Our passion for what we do and perfection in each piece helps drive our success.’ Alex Rix, Director

A love for photography and framing has evolved into a sustainable business for directors, Kirsty Creed and Alex Rix. Visual Expanse prides itself on being able to frame anything - from ballet shoes to horse halters. The company also specialises in replica medals, militaria, military honour framing and mounts medals for people to wear. The idea for the company formed in 2005 when Kirsty decided she wanted to frame her own photography and took a course. The business started in a small garage in Queensland. With a family military history they decided to branch out into militaria as well. A family illness prompted the pair to move to Mudgee in 2009 where they were approached by the local RSL to reframe every picture in the club. The three-month assignment has evolved into an on-going project and spurred more and more work and a loyal customer following.

MYOB Small Business Award

enLighten Australia

‘A number of early project successes established our business credentials and drove us to pursue our vision for energy efficient lighting.’ David Whitfield, Chief Executive Officer

Driven by a belief that the developed world wastes too much energy on lighting, inventor David Whitfield formed enLighten Australia in 2008. His vision was to design and supply high efficiency, intelligent lighting systems. His company has developed a new generation of occupancy sensing technology. When combined with its patented LED lighting technology, the company's solution achieves electricity savings of up to 90 per cent. An increased corporate awareness of climate change and the importance of reducing electricity consumption as part of carbon emission management has provided the business impetus. In addition, a range of government and industry energy efficiency schemes has driven interest in improving lighting technology. David says the Sydney-based company overcame the resistance of large corporations to new ideas and technology by undertaking site trials to prove performance. Clients include NSW Department of Housing. The company has expanded and opened an office in Melbourne earlier this year.

Home Loan Experts

‘We guide customers through every step of the home lending application process - we treat their loan as if it was our own.’ Otto Dargan, Director

After working for a number of home lending companies that promoted some products over others for their own financial benefit, Otto Dargan decided to start his own totally independent business to give customers a better deal. Initially offering mortgage broking services from a share house in Leichhardt, rapid demand led to the recruitment of more brokers and support staff and a move to dedicated office space. Home Loan Experts specialises in helping people with complex financial circumstances. Its niche finance areas include guarantor loans, non-resident home loans, and loans for people in unusual employment situations. Otto said the Global Financial Crisis provided a boon for recruitment as the banks let go of their most expensive staff, enabling him to hire and utilise their skills. The GFC also taught him to target niche markets. The company is now a major part of the online finance industry with 18 staff and a multi-million dollar loan book.

iKOU

‘We were motivated to launch a brand that promotes daily rituals of beauty and relaxation into everyday life.’ Naomi Whitfeld, Co-founder

The inspiration for iKOU came in a flower petal filled bath in Ubud, Bali. Husband and wife team Naomi and Paul Whitfeld had a goal to achieve work-life balance and create an environmentally friendly business. After researching ethical ingredients and environmentally sustainable production methods, they launched their products at a Sydney trade fair in 2008. Working out of their kitchen, they were overwhelmed by the demand, including an order from a national retailer for 1.5 tons of bath salts, 2000 candles and massage oils. All products are hand-made with production off-set by solar and wind power. The flagship iKOU retail store and eco Day Spa are both located in Leura and their products can also be purchased online and found in retail stores and hotels. Earlier this year, they became a supplier for the new Sydney Park Hyatt Hotel Spa. Future plans include opening stores and spas nationally and internationally.

Laservision Pty Ltd

‘We get more enquiries from clients than we can possibly action, so we have the benefit of being able to pick the projects that intrigue us.’ Paul McCloskey, Director

As a teenager, while working in television during the conversion from black and white to colour, Paul McCloskey fell in love with the marriage of technology and entertainment. After taking a wrong turn through military college Duntroon in Canberra, he decided he wanted to be a pioneer rather than a follower. Laservision has now been operating for four decades and is considered a world leader in entertainment communications, offering high powered laser shows, pyrotechnics, architectural lighting, surround sound and multi-media services. In the 1980s, Paul experimented with lasers and lighting for fashion parades and night clubs so he could perfect his equipment. Today, the company’s technology has been taken around the world with completion of projects in more than 25 countries. Apart from their Sydney home, to keep pace with international demand offices have also been opened in Singapore, Hong Kong and India.

LX Group

‘The electronic products we develop for our clients are diverse, usually cutting edge and rich with innovation.’ Simon Blyth, Managing Director

A passion for risk-taking and a drive to help others motivated Simon Blyth to start LX Group. It is an innovative electronics design house specialising in the design of embedded systems and wireless products. Their services help other businesses take a new product idea from concept through to design and production. The products they have worked on are diverse ranging from gaming keypads, to heart monitors and high speed Wi-Fi routers across a number of industry sectors, such as mining and defence. Clients include ResMed and Cochlear. Simon started the design house in 2006 without any capital after finishing university. He went back to the family farm to drive tractors to save up money to purchase equipment and develop a website. LX Group has averaged almost 130 per cent year on year revenue growth and now has satellite offices in Canberra, the Gold Coast, US and Europe in addition to its Sydney base.

Oasis Property Corporation

‘I believe the main reason Australians get out of bed every day, compete for jobs and drive productivity is so they can pay for their biggest asset - property. We help clients make the right decision around gaining that possession.’ Gavin McPherson, Owner

While working in the property development business, Gavin McPherson was asked on a number of occasions to purchase property on behalf of investors. He attempted to resist this course of work but when demand kept growing he decided to make it a full-time career in 2003. Gavin says the aim of Oasis Property Corporation is to ensure people get the decision about their biggest investment correct. The company is a ‘one stop shop’ for property procurement. It advises people on the correct property to buy, price to pay and all due diligence measures. In the past five years, the company have added conveyancing, financing and rental management to its list of services. Starting with a client base of about eight, the company now completes up to 160 transactions each year. By developing other sides of the business, they have been able to ride out market fluctuations.

Commonwealth Bank Medium Business Award

Booktopia Pty Ltd

‘The website started to sell books faster than we expected and we realised this could be something quite big so more effort went in to make sure it kept on growing.’ Tony Nash, Chief Executive Officer

Booktopia started on a budget of $10 a day as a small side project to a web marketing consultancy. In 2007, the consultancy was wound down to focus on the book business, which was experiencing skyrocketing demand. At the end of its first month of operation, Booktopia had sold only $2000 worth of books. This year, the company expects to ship 1.2 million books from its 3,500 square metre warehouse in Sydney’s Lane Cove West industrial park. Booktopia, which now employs more than 50 people, has managed to grow without the need for external investment as all profits have been re-invested. Along the way, staff have become experts in email marketing and social media. Hiring quality staff and building a call centre has helped propel sales. Investing in $1 million worth of stock has helped them stay ahead of competitors. The company has made the BRW Fast 100 list for the past three years.

FirstClick Consulting

‘What looks like a threat or a problem can be turned into an opportunity - the GFC actually helped catapult our business forward as I took the opportunity to recruit some high calibre executives.’ Grace Chu, Chief Executive Officer

Pregnant with her son in 2005 and seeking a new challenge after working with eBay for a number of years, Grace Chu sensed the internet was rapidly becoming one of the fastest growing marketing channels in history. However, she could see Australia’s biggest brands were not tapping into online opportunities. Utilising her internet marketing background, FirstClick Consulting was formed to meet this demand. The company specialises in search engine marketing, search engine optimisation, conversion optimisation and delivers digital strategy. It works with clients to help them acquire new customers through delivering strategic and measurable internet marketing results. Grace says while most companies scaled back during the GFC, she took the opportunity to recruit some high calibre executives which paid off in the subsequent economic upswing. The company now has 27 staff with offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore. Bluechip clients include ANZ, Medibank, Seek.com.au and MYOB.

Hume Building Society

‘While the internet is becoming the preferred means for banking, we believe branches are regaining their importance as finance becomes more complex.’ Andrew Saxby, Chief Executive Officer

Hume Building Society was founded just over 57 years ago by a group of Albury residents who wanted to help locals purchase their own homes. Growing from a membership of only 58, today almost 50 per cent of Albury does business with the financial institution. Its customers stretch from southern NSW to north-eastern Victoria. It recently expanded to Wangaratta and Wagga Wagga. Hume Building Society offers a full range of banking products, from savings accounts to home and personal loans. Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Saxby says while internet banking is becoming the preferred means for many, Hume has more branches in its footprint than any other bank or institution because it values personal service. Despite the GFC, it has grown its assets and customer base through a willingness to sacrifice short-term profit. In 2011, it was judged Building Society of the Year by Money magazine.

Invisalign Australia Pty Ltd

‘Invisalign is a once in a generation product that breaks down patient barriers to undergoing orthodontic treatment.’ Mark Van Weelde, Managing Director

As an initial shareholder in the American company Align Technology Mark Van Weelde lobbied for the introduction of its Invisalign product - which straightens teeth without braces by using plastic aligners – into the Asia-Pacific markets. He set up the company in Australia and was appointed Managing Director. His belief in the product saw him acquire 100 per cent of the Australian company in 2007 and mortgage his house to invest in staff, systems and marketing. Invisalign Australia is now the exclusive distributor of Invisalign to various Asia-Pacific countries including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and other countries in the region. Mark says one of the biggest challenges was convincing orthodontists that the product was effective. The company has achieved 42 per cent compound growth in case volume during the past five years and is now the largest orthodontic company in Australia by revenue.

Kilimanjaro Consulting

‘The overall objective of our business is to improve efficiency in our clients’ businesses through the clever use of innovative and proven technology.’ Ronnie Baskind, Managing Director

Understanding the challenges faced by medium sized businesses when introducing new software, Ronnie Baskind seized on the rollout of a new business management system in 2006. Kilimanjaro Consulting helps companies implement MYOB EXO to improve efficiencies by extracting maximum benefits from the technology. The technology supports accounting, customer relationship and inventory management and job costing data to help companies get ‘big picture’ information about their performance. Ronnie says Kilimanjaro believes in long, strategic and ongoing relationships with clients. Initially, the company had to plug early losses through personal loans and had to grow capacity to meet demand by finding the right people with EXO skills in the marketplace. To overcome the skills shortfall, the company developed internal training courses, incentive schemes and a strong team culture. The investment has paid off with demand exploding. In its first six years, the team has grown from three to 30 and turnover has risen more than ten-fold.

Red Lantern

‘We have embarked on a journey to promote ethical eating by using the freshest in local sustainable and organic produce.’ Luke Nguyen, Co-owner

Red Lantern’s business partners, Luke Nguyen, Pauline Nguyen and Mark Jensen, have always had a strong passion for the hospitality industry and the hunger to make a difference. In 2002, Luke injected his life savings into a run-down terrace house in Surry Hills to open Red Lantern which serves Vietnamese cuisine with a contemporary attitude while staying true to its origins. The business subscribes to the culture of ‘Kaizen’ –constant and never-ending improvement. Restaurant management promote ethical eating by using the freshest in local and sustainable organic produce in the restaurant as well as through its cookbooks and television presence. They decided on this path during the height of the Global Financial Crisis which was a huge risk due to higher produce prices. The gamble worked with annual turnover increasing four-fold. The business plans to overcome demand pressure by opening a second restaurant this year with an adjoining bar. Empowering employees has also helped the restaurant succeed.

Telstra Regional Award

Coffs Coast Health Club

‘Our vision was to create a professional fitness club that was genuine about creating a healthier and happier Coffs Coast community.’ Duncan Marchant, Owner

Duncan Marchant is committed to creating an environment which encourages fitness and fun for everyone on the Coffs Coast. He took over Coffs Coast Health Club in 2009 which according to him was a rundown facility with a small member base and limited services. Since taking the helm, he has invested in making it a safer, cleaner, well maintained facility with supportive and qualified staff and a member base of more than 1200. The Club caters for the experienced and beginners, both young and old. Through forging close relationships with local businesses, community groups, schools and allied health professionals, Duncan has created a solid following and says listening to member feedback was essential in creating an environment which met their needs. In addition, the club receives a consistent flow of doctor referrals for rehabilitation due to the trust they have in the professionalism and quality of the club’s 30 staff.

Evolve Orthodontics

‘It is a happy business to be involved in and it is immensely satisfying to see the patients so pleased with our orthodontic treatments.’ Dr John Brabant, Owner

Putting smiles on the faces of children and adults was the inspiration for Dr John Brabant to open Evolve Orthodontics. John derives great satisfaction out of improving people’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Based in Albury, the business was formed after the wind up of a local orthodontic service. It now caters for patients from southern NSW and north-east Victoria with satellite practices in Wangaratta, Bright, Myrtleford, Yarrawonga, Cobram, Corowa and Deniliquin. Soon after its opening, John began to acquire the latest in orthodontic technology, including an invisible alternative to braces. John believes all businesses should give back to the community so he began the Carevan Foundation in 2009 which feeds homeless and disadvantaged people in Albury-Wodonga. The company has grown from one orthodontist to two and now employs a therapist, a hygienist and four full time staff. It has also increased its auxiliary staff and such is demand, the company now offers Saturday consultations.

Highlands Drive Safe

‘If you want to build and expand a new business in an established area, you have to think big and believe in your strengths and abilities.’ Murray Tyler, Director

Enjoying the experience of teaching their teenage children to drive, Murray and Sue Tyler leapt at the opportunity for a career change. With a strong commitment to road safety, Highlands Drive Safe took on its first learner drivers in 2007. The home-based business covers an area from Hilltop to Goulburn. During the past five years, its services have expanded into older driver lessons and assessments, rehabilitation lessons, such as for stroke victims, international licence conversion classes and community education sessions. By operating in an area already well serviced by driver education providers and with no reputation or history, the couple knew it was going to be a difficult road. But by targeting prospective clients through social media and a simple and effective marketing approach, their customer base has grown. This financial year, turnover is expected to double from the previous year. Future plans include business expansion to continue regional growth.

Hume Building Society

‘While the internet is becoming the preferred means for banking, we believe branches are regaining their importance as finance becomes more complex.’ Andrew Saxby, Chief Executive Officer

Hume Building Society was founded just over 57 years ago by a group of Albury residents who wanted to help locals purchase their own homes. Growing from a membership of only 58, today almost 50 per cent of Albury does business with the financial institution. Its customers stretch from southern NSW to north-eastern Victoria. It recently expanded to Wangaratta and Wagga Wagga. Hume Building Society offers a full range of banking products, from savings accounts to home and personal loans. Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Saxby says while internet banking is becoming the preferred means for many, Hume has more branches in its footprint than any other bank or institution because it values personal service. Despite the GFC, it has grown its assets and customer base through a willingness to sacrifice short-term profit. In 2011, it was judged Building Society of the Year by Money magazine.

iKOU

‘We were motivated to launch a brand that promotes daily rituals of beauty and relaxation into everyday life.’ Naomi Whitfeld, Co-founder

The inspiration for iKOU came in a flower petal filled bath in Ubud, Bali. Husband and wife team Naomi and Paul Whitfeld had a goal to achieve work-life balance and create an environmentally friendly business. After researching ethical ingredients and environmentally sustainable production methods, they launched their products at a Sydney trade fair in 2008. Working out of their kitchen, they were overwhelmed by the demand, including an order from a national retailer for 1.5 tons of bath salts, 2000 candles and massage oils. All products are hand-made with production off-set by solar and wind power. The flagship iKOU retail store and eco Day Spa are both located in Leura and their products can also be purchased online and found in retail stores and hotels. Earlier this year, they became a supplier for the new Sydney Park Hyatt Hotel Spa. Future plans include opening stores and spas nationally and internationally.

Visual Expanse

‘Our passion for what we do and perfection in each piece helps drive our success.’ Alex Rix, Director

A love for photography and framing has evolved into a sustainable business for directors, Kirsty Creed and Alex Rix. Visual Expanse prides itself on being able to frame anything - from ballet shoes to horse halters. The company also specialises in replica medals, militaria, military honour framing and mounts medals for people to wear. The idea for the company formed in 2005 when Kirsty decided she wanted to frame her own photography and took a course. The business started in a small garage in Queensland. With a family military history they decided to branch out into militaria as well. A family illness prompted the pair to move to Mudgee in 2009 where they were approached by the local RSL to reframe every picture in the club. The three-month assignment has evolved into an on-going project and spurred more and more work and a loyal customer following.