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Sarah-Mae Amey

GAVLIC

If you’re a lover of the beautiful things in life, you’ve no doubt come across Sarah Amey’s work on your travels.

She’s the owner of Florals & Co., an extremely in demand local floristry business that sees her creating some of the most beautiful floral arrangements we’ve ever seen.

We sat down for a chat with Sarah about being a florist since the age of 12 and her stint on the very first season of The Bachelor.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I was very fortunate to grow up on the Gold Coast. I moved to Sydney for four years in my early 20’s and as amazing as Sydney is, nothing compares to the beautiful relaxed lifestyle the GC has to offer. Even all of my city friends are catching on and want to move up here.

What do you love most about living here?
The beaches, warm weather, the friendly people, the food. We are so spoilt for choice when it comes to healthy food cafes and also some of the best restaurants in Australia.

You own a beautiful floristry business, did you always know that’s what you wanted to do?
Not at all. I wanted to work with giraffes, be lead singer in the Spice Girls or an Oscar winning actress haha, but I started working in a beautiful local florist shop when I was 12 and it’s all I’ve done ever since.

What’s been your journey to get to where you are today?
I’ve spent the last 15 years working as a florist building my skillset and my business to where it is today. I’m so lucky to get to do something I love so much every single day, but it hasn’t come easily and I’ve definitely made a lot of mistakes along my journey (who hasn’t right?) that I’ve learnt & grown from. My motto since I was young has been work really hard, take responsibility for your actions and always be a kind person.

What are your favourite events to create for?
Weddings because I get to work with so many genuinely lovely couples who completely trust me with their day. I have actually become friends with so many couples I’ve worked with. Also photoshoots and editorials where I get to work with other like minded creatives in the industry.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I usually get inspired by my clients’ personalities. I try to find out as much as possible about them and their style before designing something in my mind. I don’t like all of my work to look the same and I like to adapt to what I know the bride/client will love.

Tell us about your experience on The Bachelor?
It was five years ago now, which feels like a lifetime. Because it was Season One and we were the guinea pigs, it was very, very different to what you see on the show now. I’m so grateful for the experience and for some of the girls who are still my closest friends to this day. I couldn’t imagine my life without them!

What do you have in the pipeline for the upcoming year?
I have so many exciting weddings and events coming up that I’ve been working really hard on designing. We are also launching some other services within Florals & Co. as well as holding workshops soon.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Beach: Currumbin Alley & Snapper Rocks
Café: Stable Cafe at Cornerstone Stores & Paddock Bakery
Restaurant: Rick Shores, Tasca, Halcyon House & Hellenika
How does your weekend usually look: I usually spend all weekend doing weddings but on the occasional weekend that I get off it’s PBC High School Farmers Markets on a Saturday morning, day at the beach & a long boozy Rosè filled lunch at Rick Shores with the girls.

Melinda Richards

She’s the Gold Coast Mum who recently made her mark in the Masters Games crediting her performance to a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Not only competing on a national stage though, Melinda Richards is also the owner of local company Super Sprout, fruit and vegetable powders that are just as good for you as actual fruit and vegetables. But way more convenient.

We sat down for a chat with Melinda about staying healthy at any age and how we can all be motivated to do exactly that.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Most of my life. My father moved the family down to the Gold Coast from Brisbane in 1971. He acquired a house on the river where we could see the Surfers Paradise skyline and this became the family home for 30 years because it was in such a magic position. Watching the Gold Coast evolve and grow from that vantage point has been incredible over the years.

What do you love most about living here?
The Gold Coast is just pure lifestyle. It is not just the sun and surf, it’s about a relaxed attitude and an informal feeling that permeates not just in a recreational sense but also within the work environment. It is about being a part of a small community yet has an upmarket chic appeal combined with a relaxed attitude. This is what makes it so unique and it’s why a lot of people love living here. You can be anyone you want to be.

How did you go in the recent Masters Games?
Fortunately winning was never my aim, but I was so happy to be involved and swim to my best ability in both races! The freestyle race was great fun and I finished in the middle of the pack. The butterfly race was quite the challenge, but I was really proud that I stuck with it. After all my training and healthy eating I managed to push through the race.

How did you come to be involved in competitive swimming?
When we moved to the Gold Coast in 1971, I was three years old. We had a pool in the backyard and lived on the Nerang River with a retaining wall. Literally the first thing my mother did was book me into swimming lessons at the old Mermaid Beach Motel where they had a 15 metre pool and Robert Brough was running a small swim school. Within a few months I was swimming the length of the pool freestyle and he suggested I join the Mermaid Beach swimming club, which I did when I was four. By then I was happily swimming 25 metres. From there it was training with Lou Vaughn and a 10 year stint competing.

Tell is us about your busines Super Sprout?
Super Sprout is 100% pure fruit and vegetable powders, which are just as good as eating fresh produce. Super Sprout is powdered so you can quickly and conveniently scoop and add to all of your favourite recipes and get an amazing nutritional outcome. It is great for the 95% of us who struggle to get our daily recommended amount of fruit and veges. The most important product in our range is the Broccoli Sprout Powder. We grow our own broccoli sprouts in our factory in Melbourne in an incredibly controlled environment, which ensures maximum nutritional outcome and ensures they are the best of their kind in the world. We’ve had our broccoli sprouts scientifically tested both here and in the United States and they show incredible levels of the disease fighting compound sulforaphane. We are so proud to be growing and manufacturing here in Australia, and now exporting to the US and China.

Why are you so passionate about nutrition?
My mother taught me at a very young age to be careful about what I put in my body. She especially talked me out of eating too much sugar. I also made a very strong connection between my performance in the pool and what I was eating. I am fascinated that all of these years later science really has caught up with how bad sugar and processed food is for your body yet I feel we still haven’t made that connection properly in wider society. I am devastated for those children who suffer from obesity at such a young age, and reversing the cycle of Type 2 Diabetes being the new epidemic is something I want to get more involved in.

As we get older, we tend to let fitness fall by the wayside, how can we stay motivated?
Just by doing what we love. Fitness is so different for each person and it is sometimes hard to look at yourself and what you really want rather than looking outwards through social media at what everyone else is doing. I sometimes think that social media can have a bit of a paradoxical effect of almost being a bit de-motivating because it can sometimes overwhelm us and therefore becomes a little exhausting overall. Also, sharing exercise with friends or family as much as possible makes it fun. It’s about balance but the real key is not to put to much pressure on yourself. Life is for living on your terms – not about trying to keep up with everyone else.

What are some simple things we can incorporate into our lives to stay happy and healthy?
Set a few short and medium goals, remember if you don’t fail occasionally you are not going to learn and progress, don’t sweat the small stuff (keeping everyday issues into perspective) and eat the best food you can everyday as this effects your health, your mood, your energy and your future.

What’s the plan for you now the Masters Games are done?
I want to use this as the basis for getting back into competing again on a more regular basis and improve on my times. Now that I have just turned 50, I want to exercise a little bit more to ensure I keep up my stamina and strength which helps with running the businesses and just being a good Mum with lots of energy.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Restaurant: Edgewater
Cafe: Le Cafe in Mermaid Beach
Beach: Miami
How does your weekend usually look? Very varied and absolutely no routine at all! We are very social so we like to mix it up with events, dinners at night. Exercise can happen on Saturday mornings as well as having family time on Sundays. There is a lot of beach action squeezed in over summer as well. We have a horse stud up in Toowoomba and some property in Iluka so often we plan weekends away. Living on the Gold Coast means weekends can be anything you want them to be with so much variety and fun available for the whole family.

Darran Franks and Nicka Atkins

They are two of the most passionate, creative Gold Coasters you’ll ever meet and, with their powers combined, they opened everyone’s favourite bright pink co-working and event space, Hotel Miami earlier this year.

Meet Nicka Atkins and Darran Franks. We sat down for a chat with the good-time loving (and also super professional) pair about meeting at a silent meditation commune and the big plans they have for connecting the Gold Coast community.

How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
Darran 20 years and Nicka 32 years

What do you love most about our city?
The opportunity!!! We are a city on the cusp of greatness and people are moving to the area in droves. There is abundant opportunity for business as long as you are dedicated and good at what you do.

Tell us how you two met…
Nicka “I met Darran on a Vispassina silent retreat at the Barjuan commune in India. Our eyes met over a hot vegetarian dahl and we knew it was a perfect business partner match.”
Darran “We met at my cousins wedding.”

How did Hotel Miami come about?
Darran and myself had both relocated home from different cities and wanted to create a workspace that felt more in line with a big city feel – an artistic hub where we could shoot/edit/paint and collab on all of our fun projects. We found the location and realized it was perfect. The support for Hotel Miami has been so amazing especially with all the young and up and coming artists.

Why do you think co-working spaces are the go these days…
I think more and more people are working for themselves and becoming entrepreneurs of sorts. The Gold Coast has so many people out there working on a side hustle or new idea. The co-working model works because people like to feel inspired by others at work. Anyone who has worked from home knows it’s handy for a while but nothing beats having others around to bounce ideas off and just to generally have a laugh with. Our little community here have a bunch of laughs and really get things done. There has already been other business formed out of Hotel Miami, which is awesome!

You host events and art shows too, tell us what you’re aiming to create for the local community?
We do. It’s called First Friday’s. On the first Friday of every month we host a local Gold Coast artist to showcase their work. We always make it FREE for the artist and we don’t take any commissions. This has been a huge part of what Darran, Jessie and I consider our success in this business. We feel very fortunate to be in a position where we can help promote homegrown creative talent on the GC. The truth is, there are tonnes of brilliant artists on the Gold Coast, young and old. We would love to see more and more people host art shows and get our towns’ name out there as a culturally forward and supportive community. I could go on and on about this subject but seriously seeing all the awesome people come to our studio and buy art off the walls is a truly epic experience.

How have you seen the Coast’s art and culture scene change over the years?
The Coasts’ art and culture scene has exploded. The people want good dining, music and artistic experiences and there’s a bunch of amazing people in the community making that happen. I’m not going to lie, introducing new and exciting businesses isn’t always easy because there’s no framework to go off when making these spaces however we have experienced very positive feedback from our city leaders and we are very excited at what the Gold Coast is becoming. I can’t wait to see what the GC will have to offer in another five years!

What else do you think we need?
A late night eating scene. A central independent live music venue, more buskers, more forward thinkers, a modern art gallery, more relaxed food truck laws, more spots to enjoy food and drinks on the beachfront that aren’t surf clubs.

What’s on for the rest of 2018 for you both?
We are gonna keep on fighting the good fight and developing our brand here at Hotel Miami. We love the Gold Coast and we love the creative community. Come join us!

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Bar: Cambus Wallace and Granddad Jacks
Beach: North Burleigh
Café: Stones Throw, Burleigh Social
Restaurant: The Scottish Prince, Mr Hizolas
How does your weekend usually look: Nicka: Up early with my new baby boy Abe, we go and do a surf check, talk mum into letting me go surfing and then usually hanging at the Hotel cleaning up and preparing for the next week of mayhem.

Paddy Skicko

He’s been slingin’ gourmet hot dogs and good times across the Gold Coast for the last five years and Paddy Skicko, owner of The Wiener Haus, has no plans to slow down just yet.

He travels with The Wiener Haus, one of the Coast’s original food trucks, from Brisbane to Byron Bay catering at huge events like Splendour in the Grass and, just last year, opened a diner (made from a shipping container) at Stockland Burleigh Heads.

We sat down for a chat with Paddy about watching bride’s smash hotdogs in wedding dresses and what it’s like to spend your days elbow deep in wieners.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve been on the Coast now for just over 10 years. I’m from country Victoria but I spent a lot of time traveling when I was younger. I did back and forth Europe winters for a few years then moved here after a boy’s roadtrip. We had an epic time and I knew I wasn’t going to go back to Europe for awhile so I thought I’d come here and give it a go.

What do you love about living here?
The lifestyle is just so good; we’re so lucky with this end of the Coast. I live in Nobby’s and love being able to go to Burleigh or ride a bike along the Esplanade. Every morning you can go to the beach and nine times out of ten it’s beautiful. I love the fact that I can nip out to the Scenic Rim and go camping too; it’s only half an hour away and reminds me of home.

Tell us how The Wiener Haus came about?
I started having the conversation about five years ago now; with a guy called Jessie I was friends with at the time. I wanted to get out of working as a labourer and I knew I had the skillset to get it done so we decided to go for it. We worked hard and after about six months, Jessie and myself parted ways and Zac came on board to help me with the side of things I’m not good at, like paperwork and invoicing. From there we started getting stadium gigs, then had the second marquee setup happening and now we have the shop, which I always wanted.

Why gourmet hot dogs?
I was originally going to do a café and I was very close to pulling the trigger on a toasted sandwich shop, because I love toasted sandwiches. I honestly just do things I enjoy and I really like hot dogs. Especially our new one, the Caesar, it’s a good combo, I think it’s the best one I’ve ever made.

Why did you decide to open the diner last year?
I wanted to try and make money seven days a week and I wanted to try and work less, in theory. That hasn’t happened at all, I work way more. I’ve worked in hospitality my whole life on and off and as much as I love working around the busy times, it’s hard to maintain a lifestyle that includes other people who don’t do that. The idea was to try and get some sort of normality in my life while still working in hospo. I wanted to have the opportunity to work every day but not have to always work Friday and Saturday night because I was sick of missing out on stuff. That was the plan and it has happened in some ways. Obviously we wanted to get bigger and keep making money but not always have to be on the grill.

What have been some of the best things about owning a food truck?
I’ve done some huge events. We did the Coldplay gig and the Manny Pacquiao fight, that was huge, game three of State of Origin, we did Splendour in the Grass, which was such a good time. Splendour has been a huge thing for us being the only Gold Coast food truck that goes down there and gets amongst it is really cool and we’re really proud of that. Lately we’ve been doing some cool events like the Beer InCider Festival in Brisbane and we’re doing the Crafted Beer and Cider Festival this weekend. We’ve done some rad bar openings where we rolled up and took the Barbie up on the elevator to cook on the rooftop too. 

How has your life changed since the WH first began?
My phone rings at any time of the day, any day of the week, that’s been something I’m not that keen on. I do get half days off occasionally and my one day off a week but I think that’s just the way it is as a small business owner.

What are your thoughts on the Coast’s rapidly growing dining scene?
I love that there’s competition and I think it’s important that everyone has the right to have a go. I always try and eat at the small business venues if I can because there’s so many. That’s the problem too though, there’s just so many. The food truck game has gone from just The Wiener Haus and one other, nearly five years ago to now there being well over 100.

What’s the plan for you and The Wiener Haus over the next year?
We’re in an interesting position at the moment and we’re just trying to work it all out. We’ve got plenty of opportunities but I don’t know exactly what we’ll do yet. We obviously want to keep on making epic hotdogs, that’s the most important thing. We’re looking at new menu items but also focusing pretty hard on providing a good catering service, that’s our main thing. The shop is great, I don’t know if we’ll get another one but I do like the idea of more of a bar style hot dog shop but at the same time, I enjoy doing catering so I’d like to push harder in that direction. It’s hilarious to see a bride smash a hotdog in her wedding dress.   

Favourites on the Coast:
Beach: Tallebudgera Creek, especially up the creek further on the other side of the bridge. I go kayaking up there and I’m lucky to see anyone, it’s so good.
Café: I go to All Time a lot, really good coffee and Nook is good too.
Restaurant: Goccia in Mermaid is proper Italian food, I’m a big fan.
How does your time off usually look: I’ve got two different time off things that I do and I try and rotate weekly. Definitely getting outdoors is a huge thing for me, I try and go camping at least once a fortnight just to camp and drink beers by a fire. The other thing is Netflix and chill and getting Uber Eats. I think it’s so important to turn off your phone and have that time away.

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