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Brad Munro

He’s the Gold Coast lad behind one of the greatest inventions of all time, thongs combating the blowout epidemic with replaceable straps and we are forever grateful for that.

Brad Munro launched Boomerangz Thongs after discovering a gap in the market and realising, as a true blue Aussie, that thongs are a fashion staple around these parts and the less dramatic blowouts the better. Bless him.

We sat down for a chat with Brad about how his crowd funding campaign reached $50,000 and why Boomerangz Thongs are an absolute life-changer (actually). 

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
January 2008 – now I don’t want to be anywhere else!

What do you love most about our beachside city?
I love that there’s always something to do, somewhere to explore and the weather is usually perfect for being outside. I believe that this puts people in a good mood, which makes the GC locals a friendly bunch of people.

Tell us how Boomerangz came about?
Way back before we even started the business, I was travelling around Europe while the Soccer World Cup was on. My friends and I had been dying to go to one of the beer halls in Germany only to suffer from “the dreaded thong blow-out” (when the plug snaps off the strap) within metres of the front entrance. I wasn’t allowed in because I was wearing only one thong (or flip flop, as they are also known) and it wasn’t considered appropriate footwear! My friend and I sat out the front for a while trying some MacGyver-like solutions to my problem including trying to put the strap back together with a paperclip, we borrowed a cigarette lighter and tried melting the rubber together… all to no avail. My friend ended up going in and borrowed one of our other friend’s thongs to smuggle out so I could wear them in! A year or so later, I met my soon to be business partner who was telling me of a similar experience. We got together and discovered that a lot of the thongs on the market are all the same and decided they could use some improvement so we started the business and set about solving this common problem.

Talk to us about overcoming the ’thong blowout’…
Firstly, we asked a lot of questions. We questioned customers, friends, shop owners, retail staff and anyone who would talk to us. We discovered the biggest pain point with this type of footwear is when the straps break, and you are left hopping around in one thong or walking barefoot to the nearest store to buy a pair of ‘cheap pluggers’ to get you through. We found that it was better for the plug to pull through than to snap off completely which obviously renders the thong useless. Being able to replace the straps means that you don’t need to wear in a new pair, they last longer and importantly, less pairs end up in landfill over time. We offer our customers free replacement straps if they have a blowout with no time limit on the warranty. Our new design for minimising blowouts allows the straps and bases to become interchangeable. They became fully customisable thongs with the ability to swap over your straps or bases and mix and match colours whenever you like.

How did you create such a successful crowdfunding campaign?
The idea behind the crowdfunding campaign was to not only raise money for production but to see if people would buy our product. That is the best viability test for the success of any product…will people part with their hard-earned cash for it? A lot of work went in to the crowdfunding campaign. We put together a light-hearted info video explaining the product; its benefits, how it works, what you can expect and so on. Before launch day we made sure plenty of people were hyped and ready to order. We launched the new range through the crowdfunding website and immediately sold $10,000 worth in the first hour, $25,000 a week later. We reached our goal of $30,000 and finished with close to $50,000 in sales. Astonishingly we confirmed the product was something people wanted, and our customers were willing to part with their cash to get their feet in a pair of our thongs.

Where can we find these epic thongs on the Gold Coast?
Online at Boomerangz HQ, 69 Slam in Surfers Paradise, The Outlet in Broadbeach Waters, Gold Coast Longboards in Surfers Paradise and City Beach at Pacific Fair, Robina Town Centre and Surfers Paradise.

What’s next for Boomerangz?
We’re searching for an endless summer! The plan to explore international markets came about sooner than we anticipated, as we are a very seasonal product. We needed to get that year-round income or as we like to call it, ‘the never-ending summer’. Every now and then we received enquiries from people in other countries who somehow heard about or saw our thongs somewhere and was wondering if we would ship internationally. Which we can, but unfortunately the postage costs are often more than the cost of the thongs themselves. Thus far, we have our product in the US, India, the U.K. and more recently in the islands of the Caribbean. International expansion and testing is a timely and expensive exercise. Testing these markets has allowed us to amend our original strategies and learn some new strategies as we actively look to partner with a global distribution company.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Restaurant: I always seem to find myself back at Edgewater at Capri on Via Roma for consistently fantastic food and drinks, Hellenika in Nobbys and Bonita Bonita in Mermaid Beach.
Cafe: It’s hard to choose a favourite with so many great options! It would have to be Bam Bam Bakehouse with a couple of close seconds like GG’s Eatery & Bar, Wildernis and Quade & Co. Love my Locale Coffee beans!
Beach: Anywhere from Mermaid to Burleigh where I can take my dog for a walk along the beach. A sunny arvo with friends on Burleigh Hill is a MUST and I also spend a bit of time down at Currumbin Beach followed by an icy cold beer at Currumbin Vikings Surf Club.
How does your weekend usually look: I used to think getting up early was for suckers. Now that I have two little rug rats, getting up early and out of the house is ideal. Running your own small business means a lot of extra work, sometimes on weekends (as any entrepreneur will agree). But in a perfect world, my beautiful wife and I will usually take the kids and meet some friends for coffee, followed by a stint at the beach, walking the dog… basically tiring everyone out so an arvo nap is on the cards. Saturdays are generally for catching up with family and friends for either coffee, beers or dinner. Sundays are for housework, groceries and business prep for the week ahead.

 

Morgan Walsh

She’s the brains behind two of your favourite local venues, Bonita Bonita and Poké Poké, and now the busiest gal on the Gold Coast is at it again.

Get excited gang, Morgan Walsh is opening a Chinese diner called FuFu and it’s going to blow your minds. It’ll taking up the (rather large) Mermaid Beach space where Burger Fuel, Bernie’s and Ashby Bines Clean Eating Kitchen once lived.

We sat down for a chat about Chinese bento boxes and in-your-face pink velvet.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
It has been nearly 12 years now, time goes so quickly these days. I moved over here from Auckland because I’m not really a big city girl. I like the sun, the beach, warm weather and I think once you get a taste of this lifestyle, it’s hard to go back to the hustle and bustle when you can do the same things in a beautiful place. 

What do you love most about living here?
Definitely the lifestyle, it’s just so relaxing. I think being in this industry, there are lots of great opportunities to open venues that have a point of difference and suit the Gold Coast market. Gold Coasters have a certain style; you don’t really find places like Poké Poké in Melbourne and Sydney. People like that restaurant vibe here so it works perfectly with the style of businesses and direction I want to go in.

Tell us about your latest venue, FuFu…
Yes FuFu. Originally the idea was to go Chinese but you always start somewhere and things change. It’s now more of a Chinese diner in style. The fit out is going to be a little bit crazy, definitely in your face and will definitely stand out from the crowd. There’s lots of great modern Asian inspired restaurants already, so rather than compete with that market, I want this to be in the same vein as Poké Poké with that casual feel to it where you can walk off the beach and come grab a quick bite. Nothing fancy just really laid back and fast food made friendly. So the food will be things like bao burgers and cheeseburger spring rolls and a little play on bento boxes. So Chinese style bento boxes which will be a meal for one that has say sweet and sour pork, wonton, fried rice and all as a package, so you don’t have to share and at a really good price. Dining has gotten so expensive so having places that people can come to more often is where I want my businesses to head. We’re going to have Chinese inspired cocktails and some ridiculous milkshakes, all in the same diner vein.

Your venue interiors are always beautifully quirky, any insight on what FuFu will look like?
Think pink velvet because I like the ridiculous. We’ve got a really beautiful service window so we’ll be bringing that out into the middle of the seating area and it’s all very casual. So you’ll go up to order and it will be similar to what you’d see at a market stall. There’ll also be a really beautiful spot to take a photo.

Why Chinese?
All my food tends to lead back to Asian influences. I’ve always wanted to do an old school type of Chinese restaurant. Growing up in New Zealand we always used to go to a little local takeaway and it had all your dirty classics. I didn’t really feel like anyone was doing that style of venue so it’s very much going to play on my childhood. It will be old-school Chinese dishes made funky and fresh.

What inspires you to come up with such unique ideas?
I have a crazy brain. I want to do things other people aren’t doing so I see ideas from lots of different places and try to mould them to fit food that I can cook and food that I think will suit Gold Coast people and what they’ll like. You always start somewhere and it ends up taking a different direction. I thought a Chinese diner was definitely something no one else was doing so let’s do it.

How did your foray into the restaurant biz come about?
I’ve grown up in the industry, my parents have always had little cafes and restaurants back home in Auckland. It was never something I grew up wanting to be as a kid but I got stuck doing it and realised I’m okay at it so I’ve run with it. It’s really rewarding building something and watching it grow from scratch and I’m really proud of all the styles of venues I’ve opened but being in the restaurant game made me realise other passions and things I want to get into too. This will definitely be the last restaurant, there’s no more.

What are your thoughts on the Coast’s rapidly growing foodie scene?
Four years ago when Bonita opened there really wasn’t too much around which is why I got the idea. I wanted the style of venue people my age could go to that was affordable, casual and fun. Since Bonita days, the growth has been a bit crazy. It’s great because it always forces you to stay on your game and you can’t ever become complacent. It forces you to always be better and be pushing to try new things. Competition is good for everyone I think.

Best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
I think these days what probably resonates more is having balance. It’s good to be driven and want to achieve more but to have down time and really appreciate that is important too. Life isn’t a competition but as you get older you realise you don’t have anything to prove. For me, this year is definitely about down time, spending more time at home, cooking at home, going to the beach more and having more of a life. Just finding some balance.

Being a Gold Coast local, we have to ask your favourites…
Café: I love All Time Coffee, Background – I’ve started going there heaps and they’re really lovely people and Alfred’s has been one of my favourites since day one.
Restaurant:
Other than Bonita, I love the crew down at 8th Ave Terrace, they do everything so well
Beach: I live in Mermaid Beach so that’s definitely my favourite
How does your weekend usually look: Really busy. My weekends are usually Monday and Tuesday, which is nice because there are usually less people around and it’s a little bit more chill. I prefer to be at work on the busier days, I like it when it’s chaotic

Cedar + Stone

Kate Samson, Keri McKenzie, Anna Hamilton and Amelia Gartner have taken the Gold Coast by storm with their plant-based, chemical free skincare range Cedar + Stone.

The much-loved brand has since grown into an international brand, stocked in over 550 stores worldwide. 

We sat down for a chat with the local ladies on experimenting with beautiful, plant-based ingredients and the real meaning of natural skincare.

How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
One of the few born and bred! Although the company is made up of Aussies and Kiwis who travel in and out every chance they get.

What do you love most about our seaside city?
The versatility of our surroundings. You can be in the middle of the rainforest one minute and after a ten-minute drive you’re in the surf. Pretty sure we lucked out living here!

How did Cedar + Stone come about?
Two sisters frustrated with the selection of natural skincare in stores got together and turned a small Currumbin Valley kitchen into the home of C + S. From there Cedar + Stone has grown into an international brand, stocked in over 550 stores worldwide.

What’s the process of creating plant-based, chemical-free products?
Firstly, being a chemical free, cruelty free brand, it’s imperative we know where all of our ingredients are sourced from so we can ensure our products are pure. After that, it’s a fun and wild ride of creating and experimenting with all of the plant based ingredients this amazing world has to offer. It’s lots of fun and hard work mixed into one.

Why is it so important we use such products in our homes and on our skin?
With so many free radicals surrounding us on a day to day basis it makes sense to eliminate as many chemicals as we can, not only for the environment also for our family and little furry friends too.

What did you hope to create with your brand when you started out?
We really disliked walking into stores and seeing the term ‘natural’ being thrown around loosely when really the product was actually riddled with nasties. When we say no bad stuff, we mean it. We also want to spread awareness and knowledge on chemical free living.

Is there a Cedar + Stone product we absolutely must-try?
The Lemon Myrtle & Rose Face Oil, our best seller since, forever! It can be used as directed as a face oil or turned into a cuticle oil or underneath makeup as a primer. We’ve even heard of people using it in their hair for frizz control!

What’s happening with Cedar + Stone for the rest of 2018?
Watch this space! Lots of exciting things are happening within Cedar + Stone this year, but if we told you we’d have to…

What’s your favourite piece of life advice…
Be good to your skin – you’ll wear it every day for the rest of your life!

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Beach: Palm Beach
Cafe: BSKT, Spikexx Cafe, Canteen,
Restaurant: Jimmy Wah’s, Greenhouse Canteen, Sticky Rice, Zipang, Govindas
How does your weekend usually look? Sun, ocean, good food, good music, friends and family

Simon Gloftis

We’re going to call it, Simon Gloftis is the man who started the foodie revolution on the Gold Coast. Starting with Little Beans, then now-iconic Greek eatery Hellenika and finally The Fish House, the restaurateur has a slew of local firsts under his belt.

His passion for the Gold Coast’s dining scene has seen him become one of the most familiar faces in town and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

We chat with Simon about Hellenika’s soon to be opened rooftop bar and the game-changing plans he’s got in store for the Coast.

How did your passion for food came about?
I didn’t realise but obviously growing up in a European family, it was ingrained in me when I was a kid. My godfather has one of the most famous Greek restaurants in Melbourne and we used to go there as a family but I wouldn’t sit at the table I’d go and stand at the door of the kitchen and they’d pass me food and I’d take it out. Then I got a job delivering pizza, worked in a few restaurants, then went to pizza maker and floor manager then I went back to the kitchen. I eventually left hospitality and got my real estate license but every night I was going home and instead of studying the real estate course I was looking at cookbooks so I realised what I loved. I had three cafes on the Gold Coast and then from the cafes I opened Hellenika then Fish House.

What is it you love so much about it?
I literally wake up in the morning and start thinking about food, then I eat food and I don’t stop until I go to bed. It’s my life. I don’t travel anywhere other than for food. When I go to Europe I book the restaurants before I go, even if I’m popping down to Sydney I book the restaurants before I book the flights. It’s all I want to do.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I went to Marymount College from year four. I was born in Melbourne then we moved to Brisbane, back to Melbourne then to the Gold Coast.

What do you love most about living here?
I just think there’s an energy here on the Gold Coast that the bigger cities could only dream about. We can actually make an impact with such a small decision. When I opened up Little Beans in Nobby’s it was probably the only real espresso bar on the Coast and people followed it straight away.  We needed these places. In a big city you can make an impact but you get lost. My whole success on the Coast has been because people supported me. They followed me from Three Beans to Little Beans to Piccolo to Hellenika to The Fish House and now back to Hellenika. I’ve got the same customers from back then and some of my staff have worked in all those venues. The Coast has been a massive support for me.

Why are you so passionate about bringing such quality dining venues to the Coast?
Some of it’s a bit selfish, I actually do things I like and then hope enough people like the same thing. I’m a big fan of healthy food, not as in quinoa salad, as in King George Whiting and Greek salad. When you come to one of my restaurants you will get the best produce in Australia, bar none. We’re either equal to, or better than, every other restaurant in the country and that’s my whole motto.                                               

Do you have a personal favourite of all the ones you’ve opened?
Hellenika. I love every one of my venues because they’re all a piece of me but when I walk into Hellenika I feel like it’s home. I eat there five or six nights a week, I’m happy there. I love the nice big wooden tables, the Greek music, the food, and the wine, the feeling. We all say there’s something in the walls at Hellenika, it’s looked after so many people. It feels like it’s been around for 40 years.

What have you got in store for Hellenika?
We renovated the whole building and I put a whole new level on it. Downstairs will be opening next Friday (1st September) and upstairs is probably about eight weeks away. Upstairs will be a bar with a retractable roof. Downstairs has gone from a taverna-style venue. It had that real rustic Melbourne-style Greek restaurant feel. It’s gone away from that now so when you walk in you’re going to feel like you’re in a Greek restaurant in Athens but something that’s modern today. We’ve gone from 110 wines on our list to 500, it’s amazing, there are 50 indigenous wines from Greece alone. We’re taking everything to the next level. We’ve added some new dishes to the menu – kept about 60% of the favourites – but added some really traditional Greek dishes. Things like Corfu Bianco which is my favourite dish, it’s potatoes and Kingfish baked in the oven with olive oil and lemon juice. So simple but so beautiful.

It’s going to be a touch more formal downstairs and then upstairs is a lot more casual. It’ll be all the mezze food, which is tapas in Greek. Things like pork belly, meatballs, zucchini chips, all that lighter stuff. The bar upstairs will be the main focus, we just want people to be able to come and have a light dinner or snack and drinks. We’ll try and be open until midnight every night upstairs so there’s no guessing if we’re open. You can feel comfortable to go at 10 o’clock at night and have a wine.

What are your thoughts on the rapidly growing dining scene of late?
To give you an example, seven years ago I had to explain what share food was. We had to tell people that food comes to the middle of the table and it’s sort of like a Chinese restaurant. Hellenika was also the first one to do double sittings. Now, that’s commonplace. Nine of my ex staff have opened up venues between Broadbeach and Palm Beach, most of your favourites were opened by my ex staff. I’m really proud of what’s happened on the Gold Coast, if I had a small part to do with it, that’s great.

How would you like to see our foodie scene change or grow over the next few years?
We’ve opened up all the venues I think it might be enough now, there’s nearly one restaurant per person. I think there might be a little bit of hardship to come, just because I know how hard it can be. I’m hoping we consolidate a little bit and maybe get more quality into what we’ve already got before we think about expanding too much further. We need all these local restaurants to make sure what they’re doing is the best they can do. I think it’s neglectful to customers if you start giving them things that are making them sick like artificial flavours and enhancers. I’m hoping we improve on what we’ve got before we grow too much more.

What’s happening after the rooftop is up and running?
I sold The Fish House to do an amazing project, which I can’t mention for a few months but that’s the next big one. Hellenika will always be my baby but I’ve got plans for something that will really be game changing. I can’t wait to launch it.

Being a Gold Coast local, we have to ask your favourites…
Beach: Nobby’s
Café: For someone who’s owned cafes, I don’t hang out in cafes. I do pop down to get a smoothie or juice from Smoothie Shack, that’s about the extent of it.
Restaurant: Can I mention a few? For steak, Glenelg Public House, again Aaron used to work with me. For soup I go to New Saigon and get my Pho. For ribs I go to Fire Cue. For sushi I go to Sapporo in Broadbeach, they’re the only ones on the Gold Coast that I know buys the same quality seafood I do (just ask them what their best dish of the day is and go with that). For hot pot I go to Itoshin in Mermaid Beach. My cousin owns The Lamb Shop in Burleigh so I’m always up there. Pinocchio in Mermaid Beach do a really good fennel salad.
Weekend hang: I’m working on weekends but my weekend is during the week. I’m just hanging out in Nobby’s. The boys and I always get together on a Tuesday and have dinner, that’s my thing. My family owns Miami Marketta so I’m there a lot to watch a band and hang out.

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