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Hannah and Todd Watts

If you are one of the lucky people who’ve had the pleasure of owning a pair of UGG’s in your time, you’ve got these two to thank.

Hannah and Todd Watts are the owners of UGG Since 1974. The much-loved Australian business has been in their family since well, 1974 and in that time they’ve amassed a slew of loyal followers from international celebrities to Gold Coast locals.

We sat down for a chat with the pair about making UGGs for Gigi Hadid and how you can get your fur baby printed on your very own pair. 

How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
Todd was born on the Gold Coast and I moved up from Sydney with my family when I was 10 – so we’ve both been in the area for quite a while and have seen a lot of changes in our little city.

What do you love most about living here?
Having our work, our home and the beach all within five minutes’ drive of one another is hard to beat. Plus, the opportunity for small business here is pretty unique and another reason why we love being on the Gold Coast.

How did your business UGG Since 1974 come about?
Our business was started by Todd’s grandfather in Sydney in 1974 (hence the name, UGG Since 1974), and has now been in the family for three generations. Over the years, the focus of the business has grown from being wholesale only, to a full scale manufacturing and retail model where we now have 4 stores within Australia and a growing online presence. While it is common knowledge that UGG boots are an Australian innovation, most people don’t realise that the word UGG in Australia is not owned by any one company, rather it’s a generic name for sheepskin boot (just like sneakers), so just because the product you buy says “UGG boot”, it doesn’t mean it was made in Australia. In fact, 96% of the world’s UGG boots are now made in Asia. We’re one of the only manufacturers in Australia who actually produce 100% Australian made UGGs.

Why are UGGs the perfect winter accessory?
Once you’ve had a proper pair of UGG boots, there’s no way you can go back. Nothing beats the feeling of sliding your feet into your favourite UGGs on a cold winter’s morning. Aside from being crafted from the fluffiest Australian merino sheepskin and being handmade from start to finish on the Gold Coast, buying a good pair of UGG boots from UGG Since 1974 means you can guarantee they’ll be lasting you for many years to come.

Tell us about your customisation options, what’s on offer?
This year monogramming has been the clear stand out, with many locals opting to add their initials on the back of their UGGs or their name in metallic foiling across their sheepskin slides. We’ve also recently launched our custom-made Pet Printed UGG boots, where you can supply your favourite image of your 4-legged bestie and have the artwork printed all over your UGGs. We made a pair of these each for Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik earlier this year featuring their hairless cat – they were certainly one of a kind. You can also change anything from the sheepskin panels to the logo and the top binding, so if rainbow is what you’re after, that’s what you’ll get. We receive lots of orders for sporting teams or corporate groups, since we can craft products out of vintage jerseys or come up with a custom corporate design for local businesses too. The options are literally endless.

Why do you think people are beginning to support Australian made products more and more these days?
Great question! Probably the most satisfying part of our business is seeing the support from our Australian customers grow year on year, and this is because people are taking such an interest in caring where their products are made. It’s all about knowing who has made your products and from what, and supporting businesses which operate here in Australia as opposed to buying products which are mass produced in Asia, where the average wage for factory wages is between $1 and $4 per hour. Any given pair of UGG boots will pass through at least 20 pairs of hands here in our workshop, but if you take it back to the beginning, our products provide jobs for hundreds of jobs in our Australian supply chain: from the sheep farmers to the truck drivers, right up to the photographers to customer service team that assist us on the front line. So few things are genuinely Australian these days and people want to make sure things continue to be produced here for their kids and grandkids to enjoy one day too.

Another important consideration is sustainability, and “buying less but buying better”. By this, people are choosing to invest in things, which have a story behind them, and will last years to come, rather than constantly buying and throwing away cheaper items, which just create waste (both financially and environmentally). We only use ethically sourced Australian sheepskin and put a strong focus on using environmentally friendly processes and recyclables in our packaging solutions.

Everything you sell is manufactured on the Gold Coast, talk to us about your tours…
We open our workshop doors during the week to allow people to see the age-old manufacturing process of sheepskin UGG boots, and since factories in Australia are becoming more and more scarce, our tours have become a hit with locals and tourists alike. Once you see the work involved in making an entire UGG boot from scratch, and the happy faces of our talented craftspeople who do the work, it gives you a new appreciation for products, which are handmade, one by one. Plus, those who grew up on the Gold Coast in the 70s and 80s get a kick out of seeing the old Gold Coast Roller Skating Rink again through a fresh set of eyes (our workshop is located at 23 Christine Avenue, Miami which used to house the old roller skating rink many moons ago).

What’s in the works for the rest of 2019 for you?
We’re in the final stages of designing a brand new retail store in The Rocks which is due to open in October this year, located in the old Coroner’s Court in Sydney (the building itself is more than 110 years old). We’re also launching our sister brand to UGG Since 1974 later this year: enter Wild Wool™, which will feature product lines handmade on the Gold Coast like luxurious leather hats, chunky woollen knits, leather handbags and accessories and of course, sheepskin apparel. Plus, keep an eye out for us during November as we swelter in the heat for about two weeks to install our annual Christmas light display on our site at Christine Avenue, we love Christmas so much that it wouldn’t be right to thank the community for all of their support throughout the year by putting on something for the locals to enjoy come Christmas time.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe for breakfast: We have to be diplomatic here as we have lots of family in food on the Coast, so that makes it an equal tie here between Bam Bam, Paddock Bakery and Cubby Bakehouse.
Coffee spot: Good Day Coffee in Tugun is normally our weekend stop off for coffee.
Restaurant for dinner: Itoshin (and Little Itoshin) are the winners here and have been for us for a long time
Where do you usually spend time on the weekend? If it’s a Saturday, chances are Todd will be in the surf or on the golf course. I’m usually wandering around the shops somewhere and then we’ll meet up for a cocktail somewhere for sundown! Sundays are our day for trips down south in search of sunshine and salt water.

NB: UGG Since 1974 offer a locals only discount out of their Miami store, so make sure you mention you live close by for a special deal on your UGGs this year. 

Little Itoshin

They say the little things are actually the big things and that is certainly the case around Miami these days. Everywhere we look, small businesses with big hearts who want to make our city an even better place are opening (to rave reviews mostly) and it’s a really good time to be alive.

The latest little addition to the Miami dining scene is Little Itoshin, literal younger sibling to one of the Coast’s most-loved venues, Itoshin in Mermaid Beach.

It’s quite the institution around here and, when asked their favourite spots to dine, local chefs and restaurateurs always mention the little Japanese gem.

Which is why it’s very exciting news that we now have Little Itoshin in our lives and having been open for just a few short days, the love is already rolling in.

You’ll find the intimate space at the Miami Village Shopping Centre on Mountain View Ave where local legends like That’s Amore, Hide and Seek Espresso and The Good Wolf also reside. It’s a hidden foodie paradise and you know the hidden ones are often the best ones.

 

Little Itoshin, which we want to but won’t call Little Itty, is raising the precincts’ bar even higher with an eclectic, colour-filled space and a whole lot of soul. Adorning the walls is the stunning work of Claudio Kirac, local artist and co-owner of Art-Work Agency.

Owner Hibiki Ito, a master of the art of Japanese cooking, designed the space himself finding vintage chairs and tables and eclectic little decorative pieces to enliven the space. The floor is tiled in black and white and a bar takes up one corner, overlooking Hibiki at work.

Little Itoshin

We recommend perching there if possible because watching him work, with precision and a unique artistic flair is quite the mesmerising experience.

Japanese are some of our absolute favourites and the Little Itoshin menu is a special one. Hibiki has created it with the intention of making every dish both healthy and (of course) extremely tasty. Which they certainly are.

The Beef Tataki was a firm favourite with perium (melt in your mouth) eye fillet, Celtic sea salt, button mushrooms, shiso, yuzu kosho, GF ponzu and garlic chips – to name a few ingredients.

We also loved the Okonomiyaki which is a pancake made out of shredded cabbage, spring onion, chikuwa fish cake and fresh corn with dashi butter and topped with mushrooms and prawns. The toppings for this one will change seasonally so you can order it every time you go. Taste sensation.

There’s also a dish called Temaki, or open sushi, and you may choose your topping and either lettuce or nori as a wrap, dip it into your soy sauce (or Wasabi if you’re brave) and away you go.

Hibiki is also using gluten free soy sauce and his (epic) Karaage Chicken is also gluten free in the interest of everyone getting to taste all the epic things. Oh and you can both eat in or takweaway all of the goodies.

Drinks-wise there’s a perfectly paired wine menu and a list of exceptional mocktails for those who don’t want a drink but also want to feel like they are drinking.

All in all, it’s the perfect new addition to our little foodie scene and we think you’re gonna love it.

LOCATION: Shop 6/110 Mountain View Ave, Miami
HOURS: From 11.30am until 2.30pm and 5.30om until 8.30pm Wednesday to Saturday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Paddock Bakery’s new Milk Bar

The magical Miami wonderland that is Paddock Bakery can’t stop, won’t stop creating mouthwatering foodie masterpieces (and spaces to consume them in).

Just when we thought there couldn’t possibly be any more ways to impress us, everyone’s favourite leafy oasis goes and opens a sweet little, goodie-filled Milk Bar.

A big old louvered window swings skyward in the back corner of the garden so you can peek in over the bar and watch the magic unfold. It’s a nod to the milk bars of old and perfectly at home with glossy green tiles and understated copper adornments dotted about.

The space has been a few months in the making with Paddock’s owner Chloe taking the time to perfect the milkshake and smoothie flavours now available for your sipping pleasure.

And perfect them she did friends. As with everything Chloe and the team create, these are no ordinary milkshakes. They are blow-your-mind, how-is-this-even-possible milkshakes and please, allow us to elaborate.

First of all there’s the Coco Pops milkshake, which is made with, you guessed it, Coco Pops milk and decorated with Nutella and more crunchy Coco Pops. Then there’s the Cookie Monster made with vanilla bean milk and topped with Paddock’s famous cookies (be still our hearts).

The Doughnut Shake is doughnut-flavoured milk (see, mind blown) topped with a semi-sourdough doughnut bot and Paddock’s doughnut chips. Seriously, how.

The fun doesn’t stop there of course – there’s also Strawberries and Cream, S’mores and Salted Caramel flavours and each has a magical little Paddock twist.

If smoothies are more your thang, you may choose from five epic flavours of those guys including Acai, Banana, Mango and Coconut (YUM), Junky Monkey and the Greenie.

Chloe’s reasoning behind opening another incredible section was completing the brunch picture and the people of the Gold Coast are eternally grateful.

So, here’s what you need to do: once you arrive at Paddock, go inside and order at least three pastries (plus an extra to take home for later), head down to the Milk Bar and choose your milkshake then pull up a seat in the garden, kick back and give thanks that Paddock Bakery came into our lives.

Hallelujah. The end.

LOCATION: 20 Hibiscus Haven, Miami
HOURS: 7.30am to 2.30pm Thursday to Monday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith.

Cubby BakeHouse

There are very few things in the world we love more than baked treats and in particular, those crafted by people who love them as much as we do (probably more in fact).

So, it is with as much happiness as we can possibly muster, that we bring you this tale. It’s a tale of next-level baked goods, made by the best in the business and, as of this very day (November 7th) they are yours for the tasting.

After what feels like a lifetime of waiting (for them mostly, but also us, the baked goods lovers) Cubby BakeHouse swung open their stylin’ doors in Chinderah today and if anything has ever been worth the wait, it is this.

The southern newbie is the work of Ursula and Ben Watts, of Bam Bam Bakehouse fame, so you know it’s worth the (actually quite short) drive down to Chindy.

The space is directly opposite the Tweed River with a delightful little breeze blowing over to take the edge of this unnecessarily scorching heat we’re currently experiencing.

As you would expect, Cubby is both cosy and stylish with an intricately tiled floor reminiscent of a pretty puzzle, wooden furniture accents and a few perfectly placed pieces that give a nod to the local area and the Bakehouse’s laidback, waterview vibes.

An antique bakers’ trolley is home to some cascading greenery, a high ceiling with exposed beams pays homage to the original bakery tenants (over 100 years ago) and repurposed Tweed River crab pots made into light fixtures complete the picture. The style is similar to that of Bam Bam’s but the little space certainly has a charm all it’s own.

Now let’s get to the part we’re all most excited about shall we?

The menu is an absolute dream and that cabinet stocked with freshly made baked goodies is all the best things in the world.

The star of the show at Cubby, in terms of sweet treats, is the Vanilla Slice and thank you food Gods for you have truly smiled upon us. It’s light and soft and sweet and melt-in-your-mouth and we love it so much.

Savoury-wise, the baguette is your new best friend. Ben travelled to France for what he can actually claim to be work, to learn the art of baguette making from a French baker and of course, he absolutely nailed it.

Baguettes are scattered throughout dishes on the menu and every single one is constantly being batched as they say (baked to us regular folks) throughout the day. Every single thing in the place is actually.

Meaning baguettes, breads and sweet treats will always be of the freshest, crispiest, most delicious variety. Because that is how they do.

Oh and another absolute delight is the Banh Mi which comes in, get this, Karaage Chicken and Pork flavours and probably get one of each.

You may also pop in, grab a coffee and a baggy (as baguettes are affectionately known there), some cheese and some salami from the cabinet and head across to the river for a DIY picnic. But also go back for dessert afterwards.

It’s happy days down south a smidge guys, pop it on your weekend to do list and don’t forget to bring us back some samples.

Ta, bye.

LOCATION: 162 Chinderah Bay Drive, Chinderah
HOURS: Wednesday to Sunday 5.30am to 3pm

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

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