Tom, Owner, Rubi Hairdressing, Windsor

Today is National ‘Love Your Hairdresser Day”, so we’d thought we’d share one of Victoria’s best salons, Rubi Hairdressing in Windsor. When they purchased the chain back in 2017 the team immediately set out to transform their group of salons. Tom wanted to change the way they operated, the feel of the salons, and wanted to give their staff more input into day-to-day operations. They doubled down on creating a positive work culture with a safe and happy environment for both their guests and staff. Over the last three years the company has continued to grow and Won the National Men’s Hairdresser of the Year award, and was nominated as a finalist in five other categories. Being based in Victoria meant that they were forced to close doors for three months which was especially tough given that their sales had been down nearly 40 per cent on the back of….

Fran and Andrew, owners, Tree Chalet

The Chalets at Tree Chalets were opened in September 2019, but the property has been in Fran’s family for more than 50 years. Back in 2008 Fran, along with the help of her husband, Andrew, and their children embarked on a mission to plant 6000 rosegum trees on the property. After putting in the hard work, all the trees were planted and 11 years later they stand at over 25 metres tall. As the trees continued to grow and the vista became more and more beautiful, Fran and Andrew started to design individual chalets, and the idea for Tree Chalets came to life. The property is eco-friendly and fully sustainable – their power comes from solar panels while their water comes from rainwater collection. Fran says their motto is “powered by sun, fed by rain”. The pandemic forced Fran and Andrew to close doors for 6 weeks. Fran says it….

Valentina, Founder, Banter Group

Valentina founded Banter Group back in 2017, to share her many years of marketing expertise with the small businesses in her local community. It was hectic from the get go, the business growing rapidly, employing eight locals within their first few months. They continued to only employ their locals, and ended up winning the Small Business Award for new business back in 2018. The team at Banter Group have been digital from the get-go, so when they had to transition to remote working it was super easy – although they definitely missed being together in the office. Showing the resilience of Valentina and her excellent team, while their competitors saw a 66 per cent decline in business, Banter Group grew. Their reputation for delivering brands, logos, websites, and social media strategy meant they were immediately ready to help business pivot during lockdowns, mainly helping them leverage and create digital platforms…..

Einat, Founder, TradeSquare

In the midst of the COVID crisis, Einat, along with a group of seasoned entrepreneurs decided to launch TradeSquare, to help Australian small businesses source goods locally, online. The inspiration for TradeSquare came after the pandemic hit pause on the trade shows and sales events that so many businesses rely on. After being left wondering where to find inspiration and find supplies, the idea came to her, and TradeSquare was born. Built for Australians, by Australians, they’re aiming to be leader in the space, just with cheaper prices, quicker transactions, and easier communication between buyers and suppliers. Their main focus is on the businesses that provide a livelihood for so many of us – small businesses and not-for-profits nationwide. So far, they’ve partnered with child-care providers, art schools, educators, retailers and hospitality operators. As they’re both Australian owned and operated, TradeSquare helps small businesses save a heap of money when….

Felicity, Owner, Scoops + Candy

Say G’day to another business born just before the pandemic – Felicity, who founded Scoops and Candy in Lismore. They started trading with a brick-and-mortar store in February of this year, recruiting a bunch of their friends to fit out the shop themselves. When they first opened Felicity and her partner were busy running two other businesses, but after making the tough decision to close doors due to COVID, they’re thrilled to be able to focus all their efforts into the new store for the future. After fitting out the store and having COVID hit, they immediately decided to pivot into online business, which means they’re now able to send their confectionary all around Australia. Although they weren’t hit too hard by lockdowns, Felicity says the toughest thing was trying to explain to the kids why they couldn’t enter the store due to capacity limits – all they wanted were….

Stephanie, Owner, Witches in Britches

Say G’day to Stephanie, whose owned Witches in Britches since 1990. Stephanie took over the venue 30 years ago, but they’ve got a long history serving their local community from as far back as 1970. Although the venue’s owners have changed hands, they’re proud to still be a family run business that provides fantastic entertainment and fabulous food to their locals. The venue’s got a pretty storied history, hosting many, many shows during their lifetime. Back in 2006 a fire ravaged their foyer area during a show and made its way into the theatre, decimating the ground floor of the building. They refused to give up, and after a year of rebuilding they came back stronger than ever. Since they host live theatre performed while you eat a delicious dinner, Victoria’s restrictions meant that they were legally unable to open. They’ve had to refund all their customers, but Stephanie says….

Deb, Owner, Twisted History & Geelong Gaol Museum

Meet Deb, the owner of Twisted History & Geelong Gaol Museum for the last four years, but the museum and it’s company have been scaring Victoria’s locals for the last fifteen years. As you can imagine, running ghost tours has given Deb a few noteworthy stories. One of their regulars is a lady who comes to the adult easter egg hunt every year, despite fainting when she sees scary faces! Another one of her favourites is when a customer came on their Haunted Halloween Zombie Run, and (despite lots of warnings) ran into a wall and knocked himself out. Deb says their Ghost Tours are so scary they’ve had a heap of customers run out unable to complete the tours. On the weirder side of things, on one of their school tours, a student pulled out his glass eye to compare it to the guide’s creepy contact lenses! Deb’s full….

Jessica, Owner, Metro Furniture Group

Although Jessica took over as owner of Prahran’s Metro Furniture group last year, its been in the family since 1983 when her Dad, George, opened doors in 1983 on Chapel Street. Her dad closed their retail store back in 2012 and kept trading with existing clients, but when he released the business name in February last year, Jessica had to keep it in the family! When lockdowns first hit, Jessica was able to trade, but with heavily reduced hours as foot traffic in the area decreased. She offers a more personalised service and makes herself super accessible to her clients, so the only change for her was to be a little more flexible with her hours. Through all of this her customers were so understanding, and Jessica says they are all “absolutely wonderful”. Things picked up again in June and business returned, but sadly it fell again come August, leading….

Michelle and Daniel, Owners, Linnaea Vineyards

Michelle and Daniel founded Linnaea Vineyards back in 2010 when they were a new couple with a small child, who’d moved to Melbourne not knowing any family or friends. Michelle says the couple had plenty of knowledge and experience, but didn’t know where to begin besides knuckling down and crafting their wines! Ten years on, they’ve weathered the lonely days of their winemaking careers, and have grown from strength-to-strength. Their main clients are Victoria’s many fabulous restaurants and wine bars, so when lockdowns hit they took it extra hard. They’ve managed to make it so that their doors are functionally open but given that the restaurants they rely on have closed doors, its easier said than done. They’ve had to get creative with social media, re-jigging their website, and increasing their digital marketing, and they’re currently looking for some outside help to increase their sales. On the vineyard, they’ve made….

Lynda, Leslie, and Rachel, Founders, Alice’s Journeys

Lynda, Leslie and Rachel are the talented ladies behind Alice’s Journeys, the best way to get out and discover the living museum that is Daylesford. They’ve sussed out some of their community’s best walking trails that have a wealth of history, and they run tours every week where they share secrets and stories while visiting key sites around the town. Whether you’re a local just looking to find out some more about your towns pre-colonial or prehistoric past, or a visitor who wants to found out some of the regions hidden gems, Lynda, Leslie and Rachel have got you covered. They founded the business in April last year and were consistently running walking tours each week until COVID forced them to hit pause in April. Alice’s Journeys is more than just a business for the trio, they really have a passion for spreading the wealth of history that exists right….