Celebrating 12 Years :: Marissa & Sarah

Sep 29, 2020 | Interview, Marissa Bowden, Sarah Schoeller, The Village Markets Feature

In October 2008, the Gold Coast was fortunate enough to gain a fresh new platform for local small business to launch their brand, retail their products and connect with like-minded people, this platform now affectionately known as TVM, has grown to reach a global audience and become a leading incubator for creative entrepreneurs.

The Village Markets has been the launching pad for labels such as Business & Pleasure Co., Nine Lives Bazaar, Peony Swimwear, Kivari the Label, as well as hosting local buskers turned international music sensations Ziggy Alberts and Tones and I.

The event has supported over 2,000 small businesses in this time, as well as gathering a huge online community spanning over 120k and attracting shoppers such as Thor actress Tessa Mae Thompson, world champion surfer Kelly Slater and fashion icon Nicole Warne.

Ahead of our 12th birthday this weekend, our Community and Events Leader Tayla Marshall sat down with Co-founders Marissa & Sarah to learn more about how it all began.

Tell us, how did you two meet?  

Sarah and I met in 2007, in the marketing department of a listed finance company - interesting fact, we bonded on a work trip to the Australian Open Golf in Melbourne where our company was a naming rights sponsor. We had a mutual love of scouring vintage markets found in larger cities and would often speak about the lack of cultural offerings on the Gold Coast, our home.

What inspired you both to take the leap and start TVM? 

We felt the lack of cultural events on the Gold Coast was really disappointing and knew so many locals were leaving the Gold Coast to chase opportunities in larger cities. Back then there was also this huge stigma that the GC was all about Surfers Paradise and Meter Maids. As Southern Gold Coasters, we were so passionate about changing that perception and putting Gold Coast on the map as a culturally rich destination - look at it thrive now!

TVM has certainly evolved over the last 12 years! Tell us, what were the early days like?  

Our first market day consisted of 9 stalls on the oval and the school cooking a sausage sizzle! Sarah and I scoured My Space for local designers to join our new market and on the first market day in October 2008, we stood under a tree with clipboards (and questionable sunglasses) asking people to join our database.

We introduced our TVM Rack Sales quickly after (yes, we named them TVM Rack Sales back in 2009 - the term is thrown around a lot these days!) and food trucks, live music and have grown ever since. We used to post street style snaps on our ‘blog'. We had so much support from our local paper (including journalists such as Sacha Strebe now of LA based, platforms My Domaine and Create & Cultivate and Rose Madden now the founder of Nine Lives Bazaar) and local bloggers to help us spread the word - blogging was really taking off at the time and we even had Nicole Warne from 'Gary Pepper Girl’ @nicolewarne come down to the markets for a spot of shopping.

Over the last 12 years, TVM has won many awards. What would you say is your greatest achievement? 

The community we have built! Hands down, it’s the most rewarding part of the business we have created. So many of our stallholders have been coming for such a long time and many of them have become the best of friends and are able to support and collaborate with each other. This makes us happy. We’re excited to be growing and nurturing this community even more with some exciting new projects in the works, stay tuned!

What’s your advice to anyone starting a small business? 

I would certainly say to back yourself 100%, but also, surround yourself with likeminded people who have your back and want to see you win. Community and collaboration is everything.

You can be there to help us celebrate 12 years of TVM this Sunday, 4 October at Burleigh Heads State School. 8.30am - 1pm.