Client Stories

Stanley Phung, Local Crop in Newcastle
Hunter, NSW | June 2017

FY17Q4 HunterWhat is your business? How is business going?
Business came about with a group of local farmers and makers who got together to explore options to somehow create a market for their produce. Rather than waiting for regional markets and trying to predict what sort of income they’ll get on the weekend, the retail space offers them consistency. It was going to be a co-op through the co-operatives legislation but it was too much paperwork and responsibilities. It would’ve been too hard if there were new members and we wanted it to be organic so people can join and pull out at any time. I’ve known the guys for close to six years and they nominated me as a sole trader. I basically said if you trust me that much, I have no issues with that. It’s very eclectic and every member of the group displays their own products. It’s not very commercialised.

We opened on 11 February 2017. It’s really good and we are making money. We had a business plan which said we’ll break even in 12 months and last week, there were signs of that only after four months. If it maintains momentum and pace, we’ll break even and make money. … Continue reading →

Bryce and Nicole Polmear, Altruist Furnishings
Perth WA | June 2017

FY17Q4 Perth1What is your business? How long has the business been operating?
We make sustainably produced artistic furniture. We use old or broken furniture before it goes to landfill and make some artistic furniture pieces. We did the NEIS program in 2014 or 2015 and started at the end of that, so we’ve been operating for a couple of years now.

What were you doing before you made contact with Many Rivers?
I was a stay at home mum. My husband was a tradesman cabinet maker but lost his job because of mental illness.

Who referred you to Many Rivers? When?
Someone from the NEIS program referred us right at our final meeting. I remember asking to know more about Many Rivers because it was mentioned during the course.… Continue reading →

Colleen Carter, Black Focus Carter Art
East Kimberley, WA | June 2017

FY17Q4 EastKimberleyWhat is your business? How long has the business been operating?
The business is called Black Focus Carter Art and I’m actually painting and doing art on china plates. I started this year. The plates were just an idea I thought of. I normally paint on canvas but I chose plates because they’re small and easy to take away. Some people liked the art but they’d say it’s too big or can’t take the canvas, but a plate anyone can take. It’s something small. You can wrap it and take it away. Now I do prints and coasters and I’m in the process of doing my design and stories on towels and tea towels. I want to get it on a lot of stuff, even shower curtains and bed linen. … Continue reading →

Andy Grieg, Agunya Ltd
Broome WA | June 2017
Agunya is a social enterprise that engages Indigenous communities through enterprise development, creating business through building furniture, art and crafts.

FY17Q4 Broome1What is your business? How long has the business been operating?
I registered Agunya, which means shelter for life, four years ago in 2013. I’ve promoted and built a brand around furniture and other projects that I’ve been doing and supporting it with my construction company, AG Construction Management.

In terms of the business, Agunya has only traded for three or four weeks, trading as a sole operator. The business model was always proposed that Agunya would become a franchisable business for communities that would benefit from the brand and governance models we’re building to provide a sense of sustainability and due diligence. At the moment, I’m effectively working for Agunya and I work for an hourly rate as a consultant going out to communities. The business will sell furniture and artefacts from the community through Agunya outlets and we’ll charge a fee which will also go to supporting Agunya. … Continue reading →

Ralph Shackleford, Lawn mowning and Garden Care
Gladstone QLD | June 2017

What is your business? How long has the business been operating?
The business is a multi-faceted one – lawn mowing, garden care, handyman services and I’m also pretty close to setting up a workshop to recycle wood, metal and glass. It’s been operating since January this year. I’ll do almost anything and I will attempt almost anything and have a go. I had my first major landscaping job recently and the client was very happy. The garden was basically rocks and clay and I actually got grass to grow! I’m a jack of all trades.

Why did you want to go into business?
I have many reasons for starting, mainly because I am a single parent trying to juggle time for the boys and myself. I didn’t like being on the pension and it was a bit of a struggle for a while. I was on the pension for the boys. I thought I will be too old to use my skills soon and thought now is a good time as any. I have a certain amount of flexibility now but business demands your time regardless. I must say personally that what you guys are doing is a great idea. A major hurdle people face when they start off is the financial burden of getting equipment and sorting out insurances. If you don’t have anything to substantiate your proposition, banks won’t touch you with a ten foot pole. It’s an excellent initiative and I reckon it’s a great idea for companies to get Many Rivers to help the community on their behalf. More companies should do it. … Continue reading →

William Taylor, Bill’s Handyman Services
Roma QLD | June 2017

FY17Q4 Roma2What is your business? How is your business going?
It’s just like a general handyman business, all the usual stuff like lawn mowing, garden maintenance and any repairs to the yard but not so much the house maintenance. It’s been going about 12 months or pretty close to it. It’s going alright, struggling a little as in trying to build a bigger clientele and trying to get more regulars. I have regulars but it’s pretty quiet at the moment. Grass doesn’t grow much at this time of year. Last summer, it was crazy busy and I couldn’t keep up. I was thinking of putting on an employee but Colin said to wait. It was good that I did as things really slowed down soon after.

What is your previous work history? Why did you want to go into business?
I spent a bit over ten years driving trucks, so was a road train operator. Well, I got into business for a couple of different reasons. I lost my licence so I couldn’t do anything then I couldn’t find any gainful employment so I thought why not do something for myself. … Continue reading →

Alexander De Sol, Red Cat Emporium
Bendigo VIC | June 2017

What is your business? How is your business going?
Lesley and I are life partners and we had wanted to open a shop for a while. We started 1 July last year and we just celebrated one year. It was a good year. We had no idea what kind of business we wanted. We started to amass things and half way through started to focus on vintage which is 1930s and retro which is the 1950s, 60s and 70s. We fossick at garage sales, op shops and so on. We’ve amassed a container load of records, books and fashion. We looked at opening a bricks and mortar shop but the rents were just abhorrent so we decided to use vintage bazaars and markets. We opened our first stall at Bendigo Pottery, the oldest functioning pottery in Australia. We opened our second stall at the Vintage Bazaar in The Mill Castlemaine on 1 August last year. We have been doing quite well and we moved to bigger spaces within the markets. The earnings vary but we always make rent.

What is your previous work history and experience?
I was a teacher – primary and secondary mostly and also tertiary as a tutor. I taught junior humanities and languages. I also did factory work, prepared food and washed dishes. I’ve been progressing upwards! … Continue reading

Marnina Diprose, Aroze Dermal Therapies
Melbourne VIC | June 2017

FY17Q4 MelbourneWhat is your business?
My business is a mobile service that operates from clinics in three locations – GP practice, skin clinic and an allied health clinic. Treatments include scar revision, scar camouflage, inflammation management and a range of other skin concerns including acne and ageing. My passion is to work with clients recovering from reconstructive surgeries or suffering from skin disfigurations such as scarring.

The business started 1 March 2017 and I had a fantastic first three months networking and building relationships and now I’m in three locations taking clients. I’ve been doing promotional type of advertising in the local areas and things will build from here.

What is your previous work history and experience?
I’ve been studying full time for five years and when I graduated, I thought, if not now, I’m never going to set up my business. I completed a Bachelor of Health Science in Dermal Therapy and I have been working in the aesthetic industry for four years. … Continue reading →

Bobby Wunungmurra, Yolngu Consultant
Nhulunbuy NT | June 2017

What is your business? How long has the business been operating?
I started doing it about five or six years ago and wanted to get it up and running again. It’s consulting work. I help traditional owners have a good arrangement with mining and land councils. Like the go between for mining or any corporation who want to do work with traditional owners. If anyone wants to come in the area, I help by putting them in touch with the people in town as well.

What were you doing before you made contact with Many Rivers?
I used to do this for a while and then I stopped and did some government work. I approached Many Rivers to get me started. I went to Jarrod telling him I want to revive it as my own business. … Continue reading