In focus – Oxygen Pilates and Avenue J Couture
Oxygen Pilates, Maroochydore
After moving back to the Sunshine Coast in May 2016 following a 10-year stint working overseas in London, Dubai and Singapore as a CFO, Gavin Smith had an ambition to open a business of his own that would allow him to spend more time with his young family. When that business turned out to be a pilates studio in Maroochydore, he admits his friends were surprised, but for Gavin, pilates had become a passion over the last couple of years thanks to some strong encouragement from his wife.
“She was into it and I was that person who was like, ‘Pilates isn’t that great, I’d rather go running or something like that,’ but in my previous job I was an accountant stuck at my desk, working long hours, putting on weight, and getting a sore back, and it turned out the answer for that was pilates,” says Gavin.
“Once I started doing it and seeing the benefits, I realised there was actually something in this and started to get more and more interested in it, and I soon turned a hobby into a passion and then a profession.”
Making the decision to become a pilates instructor in January, once he knew he was returning to the Coast, Gavin was completing his qualification hours at Oxygen Pilates in Nambour when he met owner Philippa Hayball, and after discussing his plans to open a studio on the Coast the pair decided to join forces, with Gavin opening Oxygen Pilates Maroochydore in September 2016.
“There are so many amazing stories out there in the community of lives that Philippa’s turned around. It really is a great service she’s offered to the Nambour community and to
be able to extend that down here is incredible,” says Gavin with pride.
Avenue J Couture, Mooloolaba
Setting up a designer clothing boutique and fine jewellery store on the Mooloolaba Esplanade in April 2015, Sue Gaylard’s mission was to give beachside holiday-goers and Sunshine Coast residents a high quality boutique option for their shopping, by stocking stunning antique jewellery, modern jewellery and pearls, mixed with stylish modern clothing. And it’s proven to be a recipe for success, with Avenue J recently expanding into the space where Sapien Arts was previously located.
“When Avenue J first started, I thought I would just have a nice little cabinet of antique jewellery in the shop, but that cabinet grew and has continued growing, and now as a result we’re expanding to make the jewellery side of the business a standalone store,” says Sue with a proud smile.
“We started with baby steps, as most businesses do, but it’s been so warmly welcomed. It’s just so rewarding to see that all of the hard work we’ve put into the business has paid off.”
For Sue, the antique jewellery side of her business is a true labour of love – a passion that developed from a young age and has only grown stronger during her 20 years in the industry. But she takes most pride in sharing the beauty and history of her products with others.
“I’m excited that this is attracting like-minded people, but it’s also giving us a chance to speak to younger people and teach them that each of these unique, quality pieces has a history and is worth showing off.”
With Avenue J continuing to grow in popularity, size and services, having also hired a jeweller who can design or remodel special unique pieces for clients, Sue isn’t slowing down anytime soon. But it’s clear she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Watch this space!” she smiles.