Small Business Stories

As part of our series, ‘Share Your Small Business Story’, we reached out to local small businesses to hear their challenges, celebrate their successes, and share their key learnings with our small business community.

Episode 6 – Electric Fitness with Chris Morton

Spencer sat down with Chris Morton, founder and owner of Electric Fitness, a premium CrossFit Gym created for strong and happy people.

In this episode, Chris shares his experience on:
  • Buying an existing business versus starting out on your own
  • The importance of researching and understanding local council permits
  • Tips on building and retaining a strong community of clients
  • The benefits of having a business coach to help you grow your business

Episode 7 – Karma Collab Hub with Candice Olivier

Sheree sat down with Candice Olivier, co-founder and managing director at Karma Collab Hub, Gold Coast’s most sustainable co-working and event space, supporting local entrepreneurs, artists, charities and change-makers in all pursuits.
Candice is also the founding leader of Gold Coast Passport Rotary and now the Foundation Chair and District Assistance for International Service.

In this episode, Sheree and Candice discuss:

  • The collective space of co-working
  • Why Candice is a strong believer in collaboration over competition
  • Some of the challenges Candice has faced as a business owner

Episode 8 – Aurelie Maron, Graphic Designer and Lettering Artist

Spencer speaks with Aurelie Maron, a passionate lettering artist based on the Gold Coast. Born in New Caledonia, Aurelie moved to Australia and studied Graphic Design at Griffith University. In 2010 she was introduced to the art of typography and began posting her work online to inspire others and has since developed her own creative design studio.


In this episode, Aurelie shares her thoughts on:

  • The rise of Canva and its value for small business
  • How to work with your ideal clients
  • The best way to price projects

Episode 9 – Urban Health & Fitness / BIL Athletic with Adam and Jaylee Mansy

Sheree catches up with Adam and Jaylee Mansy, owners of Urban Health and Fitness, one of the longest-running and fastest-growing CrossFit gyms on the Gold Coast. Adam and Jaylee also developed a new athletic wear brand BIL Athletic.

In this episode, Adam, Jaylee and Sheree discuss:

  • Trying out new ideas in business
  • The importance of focusing on customer experience
  • Having a plan to diversify your business

Episode 10 – Texcoco Collective with Monique Montfroy

Sheree speaks with Monique Montfroy, founder of Texcoco Collective, an artist-led initiative committed to cultural preservation, environmental conservation and thoughtful consumption, collaborating with grassroots artisans to design vegan leather handbags and accessories.


In this episode, Monique shares her thoughts on:

  • Starting a business during COVID
  • Building a luxury fashion accessory brand that’s committed to eco-conscious design
  • What she wishes she knew about starting a small business

Episode 11 – Connolly & Co Barbers with Nicke Connolly

Spencer chats with Nicke Connolly, master barber and owner of Connolly & Co Barbers, a barbershop like no other. With a shop designed to take you back to the 1920s, the comfortable environment and commitment to service makes you feel welcome and part of the Connolly & Co family.

In this episode, Nicke and Spencer discuss:

  • The importance of investing in your team
  • Creating memorable customer experiences
  • Alternative approaches to business (and life)
  • The Why – family time, freedom, and choice

Episode 13 – Mexx Engineering with Luis De Jesus

Sheree catches up with Luis De Jesus from Mexx Engineering, a Gold Coast based business that designs and develops state of the art automation solutions and innovative robotic system for manufacturers and defence prime suppliers. With over 25 years of robotic automation industry experience, Luis is passionate about industry-leading custom manufacturing automated solutions.


In this episode, Luis and Sheree talk about:

  • Why the Gold Coast is a location of choice to attract world class talent to innovative small businesses
  • Views on government grants and assistance in the high-tech space
  • The freedom of owning a small business
  • Why passion is such an important element for success

Episode 14 – Transworld Business Brokers with Jim Roddy

Sheree talks to Jim Roddy, partner at Transworld Business Brokers Gold Coast, a firm that specialises in helping people transition in and out of businesses, to realise the optimum value for the outgoing owner and maximum assurance for the incoming owner.

In this episode, Jim and Sheree chat about:

  • His knowledge and expertise in buying and selling businesses
  • Trends and new developments as a business broker
  • His advice to other small business owners

Episode 15 – Blue Surge Marketing Agency with Godson Michel

Sheree chats with Godson Michel, president of Blue Surge Marketing Agency, a premier, full-service digital marketing, website design, and consulting agency that generates explosive growth and revenue in businesses through creative strategy and optimization.

In this episode, Godson and Sheree discuss:

  • How he started a side hustle with no experience, loans, or mentors to fund his college education
  • How he was able to spot an opportunity to build an e-commerce company, turning it into a global enterprise within a few short years
  • His passion for using digital marketing to help small businesses increase revenue, and
  • The importance of cash flow, especially to small businesses, and being adaptable in such uncertain times.

Episode 16 – Media Shark with Lara Blake

Spencer chats with Lara Blake, Business Development Manager at Media Shark, an award-winning Gold Coast company that specialises in App Design and Development.

In this episode, Lara and Spencer talk about:

  • Her experience from within the app development industry
  • Her transition from the corporate world into small business, and
  • The challenges and opportunities that COVID-19 has brought.

Episode 17 – Edify with Kristen Buchanan

Sheree speaks with Kristen Buchanan, Founder and CEO of Edify, a software development firm that offers a platform to provide a frictionless way to onboard software engineers.

In this episode, Kristen and Sheree chat about:

  • Her expertise on engineering onboarding and developer enablement
  • Her journey from being a consultant to a SaaS CEO, and
  • Her thoughts on the future of work.

Episode 18 – MJ Home Sales, Epic Roll BJJ and The One Bottle Company with Matthew Wahlstrom

Sheree talks to Matt Wahlstrom, owner of MJ Home Sales, a real estate team serving clients in Virginia, Maryland & D.C in the USA, Epic Roll BJJ, a jiu-jitsu clothing and lifestyle brand, and The One Bottle Company, a revolutionary new product that finally gives you what you need in a sports bottle, launching in 2022.

In this episode, Matt and Sheree discuss:

  • His knowledge and expertise in starting and running small businesses across varying industries
  • His entrepreneurial mindset, and
  • His exciting new invention that is set to launch this year.

Episode 19 – VMA Promotional Products with Katie Bond

Sheree sits down with Katie Bond, Owner & Sales Director at VMA Promotional Products on the Gold Coast.

In this episode, Katie and Sheree discuss:

  • Her knowledge and expertise in marketing using promotional products and branded corporate gifts
  • Her experience managing and negotiating with overseas suppliers, which has been especially tough during recent challenging times, and
  • The lessons she has learnt in owning and running small a business on the Gold Coast.

Episode 20 – Atlantis Insurance and Risk Services with Matthew Swayn

Sheree sits down with Matt Swayn, Director of Atlantis Insurance and Risk Services, Principal of an Authorised Insurance Advice Practice of Insurance Advisernet Australia.

In this episode, Matt and Sheree talk about:

  • His expertise on business insurance and risk management
  • His experiences and stories, including the good and the bad, with business insurance, and
  • His lessons learned in small business ownership.

Episode 21 – The Power Within with Katie Chisholm

Sheree connects with Katie Chisholm, founder of The Power Within, where Kate’s passion is building community through connection and holistic health.

In this episode, Katie and Sheree talk about:

  • Her experiences with alternative approaches to business and life;
  • Her perspective on COVID-19;
  • Her experience in the military and work with veterans, and
  • Her why for creating a conscious and connected community.

Episode 23 – Tillman Creative Co with Kiel Tillman

Spencer chats with Kiel Tillman, Owner and Creative Director of Tillman Creative Co, a contemporary brand and design studio based on the Gold Coast.

In this episode, Kiel and Spencer discuss:

  • His journey from designing at Billabong to starting his own creative agency;
  • His involvement with the local creative community, including presenting at industry talks and workshops; and
  • His insight into his signature style which has been the foundation of his creative business.

Episode 24 – ALKAM with Jade Massaad

Sheree speaks with Jade Massaad, founder of ALKAM, an online fashion movement that seeks to combine fashion, sustainability and affordability.

In this episode, Jade and Sheree chat about:

  • Her experience with being stood down from her full-time job and starting a side hustle in the midst of a pandemic;
  • The challenges she faced when returning to work post-lockdown and how this inspired her collections;
  • And her beliefs that design, sustainability and affordability can co-exist harmoniously.