InFocus: Deb Manson & Kelly Powell
Gifts2remember, Bli Bli
While browsing online classifieds website Gumtree in 2013, Deb Manson found out the site’s ‘buy or sell almost anything’ tagline was worth its weight in gold. Well, gold foil.
“I was looking for a new business where I could still have a life after having a busy real estate business. An e-commerce business was the direction I knew I wanted to go in, I always dreamed of owning a gift shop from a young age and Gifts2remember ticked all those boxes when I saw it advertised,” says Deb.
Deb took over Gifts2remember from its founder, who created the gift hamper business in 2004.
“We purchased it after selling our real estate business while travelling through Europe, on Gumtree would you believe!” Deb laughs.
With the purchase of Gifts2remember, Deb traded in a background as a real estate agency owner and eight-year career as a private investigator for more creative work, surrounded by flourishing ribbons, quality products and beautiful bows.
In the last two years, Deb has successfully grown the business, particularly her corporate clients, and aims to grow the gourmet food and gift hamper business throughout the Sunshine Coast, with plans to move into a new store in the near future.
“I’m passionate about every gift hamper that leaves our warehouse. We take care with how they are boxed, ribboned and bowed because we always remember that it’s going to be received by an individual as a gift from another individual,” she shares.
“The greatest thing about an internet business is you can work on it at anytime of the day or night. It still allows me to enjoy my days in my garden, relax with a glass of red with my husband, and spend time with my family.”
Now, that’s a gift!
Kapows Commercial Cleaning, Sunshine Coast
Four years ago, Kelly Powell wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty – juggling 18 months of subcontracting for a cleaning business after hours, six days per week, while holding a full-time job to bring in additional funds.
Now, what was a part-time cleaning company born out of sheer financial desperation has grown to a full-scale independent business, and Kelly and husband Jamee are cleaning up.
“Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t be afraid to fail. We have fallen down too many times to count, but we always keep moving forward. Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed,” Kelly advises.
“Our biggest triumph was believing in ourselves enough to take that first plunge.”
With a joint background in corporate financial services, Kelly and Jamee established Kapows Commercial Cleaning in 2012, winning their first official contract in October that year.
“At the time, it was a little scary giving up full time work to ride the crazy train of small business ownership, but we wanted to give it a go,” says Kelly.
“We have had profit growth year on year from day one, so that risk paid off.”
On the back of winning a large tender in January 2013, the couple was able to grow Kapows to the independent company it is today. Later that year, Kelly was recognised as a finalist in the 2013 Sunshine Coast Business Woman of the Year Award, a nomination she describes as “surreal, overwhelming and insightful,” as her achievements in business ownership were recognised.
“We had been employees for such a long time, and thought being our own bosses for a bit sounded like great fun. It is!” Kelly laughs.
And fun is certainly on their checklist – at home, Kelly and Jamee “love doing simple things – kayaking, barbecue on the beach, going to local markets, catching up with friends, just simply being together – even grocery shopping can mean lots of giggles!”
After all, what’s success without a sparkle of fun?