September 1, 2015
The Fashion House of Tamara and Peter Wrigley
She’s the fashionista with an insatiable love of the finer things in life, he’s the penny-saving businessman with an innate capacity for finance. Together, Tamara and Peter Wrigley worked hard to build a property empire and are now placing all bets on ‘Tam Wrigley from iStyle TV’.
Tamara Wrigley opens the door and welcomes me with a beaming smile and kiss on the cheek. She’s wearing a white quilted jacket, black cigarette leggings and black ankle boots, her chocolate brown hair slicked back into a ponytail.
Today is an ‘office day’ for Tamara and even still she’s looking every part the stylish glamazon.
We step into the living room, which is sophisticatedly styled with accents of zesty lemon furnishings and accessories, overlooking a Balinese-themed outdoor area and swimming pool which looks ever-so inviting.
Tamara introduces me to her husband Peter, who takes a seat beside me, coffee in hand and swings his left foot over to rest comfortably on his right knee. Hold on, what’s that? Peter’s big toe – poking through his holey black socks.
We had this little shoebox office and it was just the two of us, we had 80 properties and from there we grew.”
On face value, Tamara and Peter seem like polar opposites, even they rib each other over their differing value of fashion, but it’s their extensive knowledge of the property industry which brought them together and their respective success which has gone on to allow Tamara to pursue her dreams of becoming a presenter.
“I was like most 16-year-olds, when I left school I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” says Tamara, shuffling back into her cream Victorian armchair.
“I was living in Tasmania at the time and there weren’t a lot of options down there and I asked my mum if I could move to Queensland to live with my father at 18.”
Upon moving to Brisbane, Tamara joined a real estate firm in Greenslopes as a junior receptionist and went on to complete a 12-month property management traineeship in 1996. While at the Real Estate Institute of Queensland at Coorparoo, she met Peter who was also doing a traineeship and the pair struck a connection.
Peter, on the other hand, was around 14 when he was introduced to the real estate industry, as his father, who was a bank manager, always “had a thing for property”.
I love fashion and I love style and there wasn’t a show in Australia that just focused on fashion designers and labels,”
“He was sick of being limited by the amount of money he could earn being a bank manager and he decided to take a risk in 1980 and open a real estate office in east Brisbane,” he says.
“I’m a twin and we were the youngest of our brothers, we lived an hour from my father’s office, so on the way home we would often look at property with my father, I wouldn’t look at it intentionally but I got absorbed by it all. That started the passion.”
When Peter was 20, he and his twin brother, David, went to QUT, he studied law while his brother studied construction management.
Peter went on to become an article clerk in a law firm, but held onto his passion for property.
“I always remember this guy had the property portfolio … he started to tell me all about it and the first thing I saw was a Building Unit Plan for six units, and I said to him, ‘One day, I’m going to own one of these, what do I have to do to do that?’”
Peter admits while he didn’t have any money he had a great idea and teamed up with his brother, who at the time was working for international commercial firm CBD Richard Ellis.
Peter handled the legal side of the business, while David took on the acquisition of properties and negotiations. They then called on their former flatmates from university, who were architects to draw up the plans and off to the bank they went to secure a loan.
Peter, whose family hails from British heritage, also spent two years overseas working, just as his brothers did before him.
“When I came back the first thing my brother said was, ‘I think you should start up a real estate office,’ so that’s what I did,” he says.
“I enjoyed it because I was working for myself and I like the fact there’s no limit on what you can earn. I could see if I worked really hard and built up my business, I was growing, rather than being stagnant.
“So I worked seven days a week for 18 months to build up the business.”
A year after opening his office in St Lucia, he poached Tamara to come on board.
“We had this little shoebox office and it was just the two of us, we had 80 properties and from there we grew,” she says.
The next step was opening an office on Racecourse Road in Hamilton in 1997 and over the next nine years they grew the business to include six staff and a portfolio of 330 properties, opening a third office in Burpengary in 1999.
Tamara wears Zian Couture dress, earrings and ring from Lovisa. Peter wears Blaq JACKET RRP $130, Blaq dress pants RRP $69, Calvin Klein Black button down shirt RRP $89.95, Blaq Tyquin black shoes RRP $119.95, Jeff Banks London belt RRP $59.95, all available from Myer, Sunshine Plaza.