In focus: Ishkhan Kojayan and Sharon Collins
Laurisha Jewellery, Montville
When it comes to designing breathtaking jewellery clients will treasure forever, Ishkhan Kojayan believes it’s all about embracing creativity to match each individuals personality.
It is for this reason Ishkhan began Laurisha Jewellery three years ago after 20 years in the industry, with the talented Armenian artisan looking to create beautiful, unique pieces custom designed especially for his clients.
“I always wanted to do my own designs. That’s the main thing that inspired me to start – to be free, creative and do whatever I like to do,” he says. “It’s not mass production that we do, so it’s one of a kind. What I’m trying to do is have direct contact with the customers so they can come and meet me and I can custom-make their designs.”
Building his business from the humble beginnings of his backyard shed in Margaret River, Ishkhan moved to Montville with his wife Laura and their one-year-old son at the end of 2015, and now runs his business from Latitude Gallery.
“We love everything about Montville; it’s very multicultural with a mix of tourism and artists. It’s a combination of creatives that really works,” says Ishkhan.
Utilising 3D drawing software and prototype machinery, Ishkhan is able to offer customers a better understanding of how their ideas will come together – part of his business plan for ensuring he provides the best service possible.
Creating custom designs as well as stunning remodels for treasured items, it’s an industry that while glamorous, does come with challenges; but for Ishkhan, the prospect of bringing his clients’ ideas to life is exciting.
“I do it because I love the challenge. If I didn’t have that, I would get bored.”
Sandbar Café and Fish & Chippery, Caloundra
When Sharon Collins ventured into business with her husband John 14 years ago, she had no idea just how passionate she’d become about the hospitality industry.
But after making the leap from retail management to owning and operating an industrial café business, Sharon says she has never looked back.
“Once you open your own business, you realise the buck stops with you – and there’s nothing greater than being able to provide customers with great food and service,” says Sharon.
“It can get exhausting sometimes, but you do it because you love it.”
Sharon and John moved back to Australia from Christchurch at the start of this year after spending several years there running a beachside café. Drawn to the warm weather, stunning beaches and tight knit community of the Sunshine Coast, the pair settled in Caloundra and took over Sandbar Café and Fish & Chippery at the end of May.
“We’re lucky in that we’re not just reliant on our regular customers – being in a location that draws so many tourists, we get to meet people from all over the world, so the days are full of interesting conversations,” says Sharon.
“We’ve even been visited by customers from our last business who heard we’ve set up here!”
Having started fresh, Sharon says she is touched by the groundswell of support she and John have received.
“We love how welcoming the community has been – everyone’s very supportive and the response on social media has been great.”
Yet she also remains humble, crediting the success of the family-friendly business not to its new ownership, fantastic beachside location or phenomenal food, but to her friendly staff.
“We’ve inherited a great team of people who have passion for the business, the area, and what they do, which makes it all so much easier.”