The Village Markets

The Village Markets

Boutique Fashion & Lifestyle Market for Creative Entrepreneurs - Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast & Stones Corner, Brisbane Queensland

Tag: Business

Celebrating 11 Years of TVM :: Meet the Founders, Sarah & Marissa

TVM celebrates 11 years in business this coming Sunday 6th October and to mark the occasion, our lovely Intern Gemma has interviewed founders, Sarah Schoeller and Marissa Bowden. For those…

TVM celebrates 11 years in business this coming Sunday 6th October and to mark the occasion, our lovely Intern Gemma has interviewed founders, Sarah Schoeller and Marissa Bowden.

For those of you who often visit the vibrant lanes of Burleigh or Stones Corner on a sunny Sunday morning, we would love for you to get to know the brains behind your favourite market and creative community, The Village Markets, founders & creators, Sarah Schoeller & Marissa Bowden.

Tell us about the inspiration behind The Village Markets? What made you pursue your creative dreams?

Marissa: Sarah and I were both working full-time as marketing professionals (this is how we met) and were always travelling and loved events such as the Portobello Road markets and flea markets in Sydney that showcased local creative businesses while also bringing the community together and adding cultural flair to the region.

Eleven years ago there was no regular creative event on the Gold Coast and many locals were moving interstate to pursue their creative passions in larger cities, so we wanted to create a platform to ensure they could remain on the Gold Coast, whilst creating a much needed entrepreneurial culture for the Coast and an event that would change the perception of the Gold Coast - it was about so much more than Surfers Paradise and theme parks.

We worked our corporate jobs full-time and TVM of an evening and on weekends, for a few years before deciding to quit our jobs and focus on TVM.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Marissa: Mum-life means weekdays include busy early mornings and mundane things such as uniforms and lunchboxes, the school run (we try to ride our bikes to school along the beach for a sweet start to the day!) and then either working from a co-working space on all things TVM, or working from home. I’ll add some yoga or meditation to this, when I can. Then, it's school pick-up, some kind of after school activity or we hit the beach for a surf (summer can’t come soon enough!) or a play down at our local beach with the neighbours. Work tasks for me include but are not limited to event prep such as blog posts, processing applications, emails, the live music schedule, PR, the event plan and newsletters. Market day is a different beast of course, we're both generally there all hands on deck.

Sarah: Awake around 6ish before my three children, a quick meditation before they wake then the morning is usually making toast or oats for breakfast, a coffee, getting dressed, walking the dogs and out the door for kindy. I drop off my two girls and then head home to work in between the naps of my youngest. I would normally then check emails, schedule socials and newsletters and get up to speed on anything else we’ve got on. Squeeze in another meditation session and before you know it, it’s time to pick the girls up. The afternoons are spent in our yard on the tramp before dinner.  On non-kindy days we hang at home and play or head to the creek.

Marissa filming at TVM, by Soda Photography.

Sarah with Posie, by Tracey Moakes.

Explain the rundown of the markets from bump-in to bump out?

Sarah:: Each event is different, but our day starts early around 6am with set up prior to the stall holders arriving. This includes marking out the site, setting up tents and equipment, signage and theming.

Then the stall holders begin arriving and its go time! We greet each vendor on arrival and then it’s pretty fast paced during set up. Once everyone's ready to go, managing the event includes troubleshooting, socials, photographing, greeting musos, enquiries and everything in between (including cleaning and bins!).

Pack down starts at 1PM then it's time to do a site clean and the toilets (the glamorous side of running an event). The day flies and we rarely sit down but its our chance to connect with our community IRL so we make the most of it.

TVM, by Natalie McComas

When people are starting a business what aspect is most important and what advice can you give them?

Marissa: We have learnt so much about this since starting our business 11 years ago! This is what prompted us to create our eBook a few years ago, How To Launch Your Startup - so that we could share some of our key learnings with other small business owners in the creative industry.

Definitely make sure you have a clear idea of your objectives and why you are wanting to start a business in the first place. Secondly, if it’s a partnership, make sure you have clearly defined roles.

Sarah: Starting a business isn’t easy and its more work than you can ever imagine. But the rewards are great and make it all worth it.

eBook How To Launch Your Startup


Favourite thing to do on the Gold Coast?

Marissa: Beach time! We are so incredibly lucky to call this place home, we have the most incredible coastline and sometimes at our local, we can still have the beach (almost) all to ourselves. Big beach days in summer followed by a couple of drinks with friends, the kids running wild - those are the best days!

Sarah: Definitely spending time with my family outdoors. We love breakfast at the beach, followed by a swim. We frequent Rainbow Bay, Kirra, Tally and Currumbin a lot.

What do you expect for the Gold Coast in the next 60 years?

Sarah: I do see the Gold Coast coming into its own. With so many things in the pipeline like the new cultural centre and HOTA being finalised I feel like we’ll no longer be the poor cousin of Brisbane and our cultural scene will thrive. It’s exciting times!

Marissa: Let's hope they ease up on the number of high-rise developments in seaside suburbs! But on a positive note, with so many amazing creative businesses, eateries and the arts going on, the future is looking pretty bright for our city.

In this day and age we all have the opportunity to reach out from the normal 9 - 5 and delve into our passion project. What advice can you give to people to dig deep and find what they love to do and turn it into a career?

Sarah: Nothing beats a good old business plan. Nut out your offering, define your target customer and how you’ll market to them and get started! Seriously nothing beats working for yourself doing something you love.

Marissa: If you're passionate about something, just keep chipping away at it...Where your mind goes, energy flows! A few solid years of hard work and juggling multiple hats is well worth the investment, for sure!

You have won many awards including ‘Gold Coast's Best Market in 2015’ & the ‘Gold Coast's top 3 site by Lonely Planet in 2019’. What are your biggest achievements from the Markets so far?

Marissa: For us, it is the community we have created, it’s something so special. The thousands of small businesses that have been able to launch and trade at TVM over the past 11 years and watching them grow and evolve is truly rewarding. Some of the stallholders we have known since our first ever market all of those years ago and some have gone on to achieve international success - it’s truly rewarding to share this journey with them all.

Also on a professional level, when Sarah and I were finalists in Cosmopolitan magazine’s Women of the Year Awards a couple of years ago and travelled to Sydney for the event alongside women like Lizzy and Isabella from SPELL, that was incredibly humbling - and damn fun!

SS: I think last year was a big one for us. We were awarded the International Womens Day Patron Awards in March, then in November, were awarded Griffith University’s Outstanding Entrepreneurial Alumnus Award. It was such an honour to receive these awards for our contribution to the Gold Coast community.

We’ve also had 5 children between us in the last 8 years, which is pretty bloody amazing!

TVMs 10th Birthday, by Natalie McComas

Tell us about the first ever market you held and the major differences to now? 

Marissa: Our first market consisted of nine stallholders lined-up on the grassy oval and Sarah and I stood there with clipboards asking people (mostly our friends and family, ha!) to join our mailing list. We used MySpace to reach out to emerging designers. Now, 11 years later, we have up to 110 stalls, twice per month in Burleigh and once per quarter in Brisbane, as well as having established a strong brand and community.

Sarah: Well our very first market had just nine stalls and we simply just showed up and walked around with clipboards collecting email addresses! Now, we average 75-110 stalls per event, have two event staff and rarely sit down. How times have changed!

How did you see the markets as a platform for establishing face to face relationships with customers and stallholders.

SS: Market day is the perfect opportunity for vendors to connect with customers and our community IRL. In a digital world, this connection is crucial for everyone.

MB: This concept has actually evolved so much since we started, when I think about it. When we started, it was all about connecting small businesses with consumers because it was a tough gig opening a shop front and spending large amounts on advertising, particularly via traditional media.

These days, the essence is still similar but there's also the added component of sales and brand presence being so focused on social media and online for most businesses. Which can be quite impersonal. So for our shoppers, it's still that wonderful face-to-face connection they get, touching and feeling products, meeting the maker, the thrill of stumbling across a new brand or seller, those are the things people love about coming to TVM.

TVM, by Mel Carrero

TVM, by Mel Carrero


TVM, by SODA Photography


The Gold Coast is such a creative hub, the home of many awesome brands like yourself. How do you feel about the Gold Coast as a platform for creatives?

Marissa: It’s such an exciting time on the Gold Coast, there is a real energy and entrepreneurial culture and so much opportunity for small businesses. It seems as though the word is out and instead of locals moving away for opportunity, interstate folk are flocking to our beautiful city to start and grow their businesses - where else would you want to live and work, really?

Sarah: We’ve come a long way since we started in ’08. Where creatives used to leave the Coast to start their businesses, we’re now seeing designers travel to TVM from Sydney and Melbourne to have a stall. The Gold Coast is now known for its entrepreneurial spirit and startups.

Australian consumers are starting to favour brands who adapt an ethical green ethos. What sustainable practices does The Village Markets have in place?  

Sarah: We aim to be a plastic-free event and have been for several years and encourage vendors to use reusable bags. We also have market bags and picnic packs available for sale at TVM. We’ve been holding the pre-loved Rack Sale since we started and its really encouraged the reuse and recycle component of TVM.

What are your favorite local Gold Coast brands? 

Marissa: Oooh it’s a bit hard to play favourites! However many of my personal favorite pieces, homewares and those of my childrens wardrobes are from local brands found at TVM. In my opinion, it’s the #1 place to discover incredible brands and know that you're supporting a local and not wearing mass-produced items. Some current go-to’s include Opia, Forgotten Modern, Nicotte, Bandikoot, Sweet Child of Mine, Halcyon Daze, Snoep, Harvest Clay and Drift plus many more.

Sarah:  Some of my favourites are Peony, Alfie, Kivari, Akazi, Annette Daley Designs, Drift Trading Co, Scent of a Rebel, Harvest Clay, Esther Shelley Designs, F+H Jewellery, Rustic Peppermint, Two in the Sun, Stevie Jean, Nicotte, I could go on all day.

What part of your job would people find most surprising? 

Marissa: When I tell people I own a market, to this day their response will still be ‘oh, what do you sell?’- it’s still a tricky one to explain! So I guess, the concept of actually starting a unique business such as ours is often surprising in itself!  And also, that we do attend every event ourselves and setup/packdown (along with two staff members).

Sarah: Between Marissa and I, we do almost everything, only outsourcing our accounting. Or cleaning the toilets after an event!

Who would you like to have a 30-minute meeting with?

Marissa: Kelly Muller (KMC Consulting) or Tess Robinson (Smack Bang Designs).
And perhaps the entire cast of Younger (Netflix series) - my guilty pleasure!

Sarah:  I’d love to sit down and chat with Lizzy and Spelly from Spell Designs. Their business model and sustainability practices are enviable.

What do you feel when you are feeling uninspired?

Marissa:Meditate, yoga or catch up with my girlfriends, that is always so good for the soul!

Sarah: A good chat to the friendly folk at TVM always help, or attend an event with inspiring business owners.

Who do you love to follow on Instagram?

Marissa: Travel accounts (I'm a sucker for travel! My sister and I share our personal travel features and interviews with like-minded families at @the_travelling_tribe_).

I also love to follow creative brands/people from around the globe and inspiring women doing like-minded things!

Sarah: My favourites are:





Best advice you have ever received?

Sarah; Don’t ask for permission, beg for forgiveness. One of my bosses used to say this all the time and it’s always stuck with me.

Marissa: Be kind.

Come and celebrate 11 years with us at TVM this Sunday 6th October and make sure you say hey to Marissa & Sarah!

Sarah and Marissa, by Nat McComas

Sarah and Marissa, by Nat McComas


No Comments on Celebrating 11 Years of TVM :: Meet the Founders, Sarah & Marissa

How to :: Run a successful business and be socially conscious, with Tess Willcox.

We first met Tess Willcox a decade ago, right at the beginning of The Village Markets journey. From the get-go, we were drawn to her highly intelligent, innovative, mover and…

We first met Tess Willcox a decade ago, right at the beginning of The Village Markets journey.

From the get-go, we were drawn to her highly intelligent, innovative, mover and shaker vibe.

When she wasn’t setting up shop at TVM peddling her Moroccan wares sourced during her latest exotic overseas jaunt, she was cruising the streets on her self-carved ‘soul deck’ or doing the 9-5 hustle as PR and Marketing Manager of World Resorts of Distinction.

What really stood out for us, though, and still continues to do so today, is her ability to be a damn good human – voicing her passion for our planet and using her platform to make change.

Here we chat to Tess about how to run a successful business and be socially conscious.

TVM: Tess, after many years of blood sweat and tears you’ve recently acquired your company, World Resorts of Distinction and you’re CEO! You are the true definition of girl-boss and it seems entrepreneurism is in your blood. Did you study PR, how did you come to work for such an amazing brand and did you always plan on running your own company?

Well firstly, it takes a legit girl-boss to know one, and I’ve always been so incredibly inspired by what you ladies have done and continue to do!! Now, the process, which one would anticipate was a lot more intentional than my own. I did study PR & Journalism back in my heyday. I went to university with the intention of becoming a broadcast journalist with a dream to work on Getaway (didn’t we all!?), however quickly discovered that back then I hated being in front of a camera. I also struggled with the concept of writing about topics I wasn’t 100% invested in. So, the journalism side of things didn’t capture me as much as I thought it would, but I’ve always been an avid writer, creative and traveller. Somehow a fusion of all of those things managed to manifest themselves into the dream job all those years ago. My first ‘career’ job out of university was as a Sales Executive for World Resorts of Distinction, which I now own. I never intentionally set out to become CEO and owner, but a serendipitous succession of life events led me here after 15 years on and off with the company. Being incredibly invested in creating an intentional life, it still blows my mind that I get to do what I do every day, and I’m daily amazed at how the universe served this up for me.

TVM: Tell us about World Resorts of Distinction, has the focus always been on sustainability and socially responsibility?

No, definitely not. That is a pure emulation of who I am and a passion project that I have been injecting into the business since I became a partner 3 years ago. When I took over as sole owner on 1 July 2018, that was the number 1 goal – rebrand and restructure the company to be the ONLY brand of its kind to solely focus on sustainability and social responsibility. My predecessor ran the company with a very different focus and concept, which was still very successful in its own right. However, for me to personally sit comfortably in what I do every day (which is a dream come true), I need to know that I am effecting positive change in this world. I have a deep-rooted craving to save the planet and to effect change in every way possible. I want to be an active participant in creating this world and know that I am here to be a part of the revolution.

TVM: Your profile says you are a ‘peripatetic eco warrior’. I recall you having your own Instagram account in this area a while back to raise awareness on caring for our planet and your company WRD is very active on this – is this an area that you have been passionate about since an early age?

In many ways yes, but I wasn’t as vocal with it when I was younger. It grew within me as I grew as a person and learnt to be less self-involved. I think when you grew up the way I did, in a small country town spending a lot of time on the land, and in the ocean, it is instilled in you. It isn’t a separate entity to us, the planet, so I don’t understand the ignorance towards it.

TVM: If you could share five tips for small businesses, so that they too can be more sustainable and socially responsible, what would they be?

  1. My dad always taught me to infiltrate from the inside out. So, first point of call is to inspire your team. Running a sustainable business starts with the people you directly impact first – your staff. So, it is important to first effect how they live their lives and inspire them to do better daily. It’s about progress not perfection
  2. Plastic Free Policy within the office – I personally think the fact that we even still discuss this is despicable. It’s quite simply the quickest and easiest way to have a positive effect on the environment. No one should be using disposable plastic, period. But beyond that, we need to be educating consumers and small businesses that green-washed solutions like Bio-degradable plastic isn’t the answer when the lifespan allows it to be sitting in landfill years later – compostable packaging is the key which YOU need to be responsible for composting in your back yard. The simplest way to reduce your impact is to re-use your ceramics / glass / steel from home.
  3. Encourage carbon neutral commutes or working from home – encourage staff to walk to the office, ride, catch the bus or the train, ride-share with other staff. This isn’t always an option, but when it is, we should be utilizing it. Allow staff to work from home in order to avoid daily travelling and offset any carbon from flights via the right kind of programs (directly with the airline and with companies like 1% for the planet etc).
  4. Climate Activism Involvement – Get involved in climate change activism on a business level. Use your platforms to educate your clients, followers, customers, database. Give them the information and make it simple for them to act. Outline HOW they can write to local government bodies, participate in protests and actively work within the community to save our environment.
  5. Support a clean Energy Provider as a business. I use POWERSHOP at home and for the office, who offset all of your carbon emissions, are advocated by Greenpeace and support 100% clean & green energy!!

TVM: What is the greatest piece of wisdom somebody has shared with you, that has helped shape the way you are today?

In hindsight I wish I had made a note of all the good advice I’ve been given. However Margaret Mead’s quote always rings in my ears when I feel hopeless; “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

The time is now and we need to act as if it is our personal responsibility to save the world via whatever platform we are gifted.

Lastly, a few quick ones:

Fave podcast – 1. Green Dreamer 2. Live Awake 3. Offline, The Podcast

Fave book – The Celestine Prophecy – James Redfern

Fave show – Anything David Attenborough, and currently obsessed with The Bold Type

Fave movie – Out of Africa, Something’s Gotta Give

And just for fun:

Fave Gold Coast/Brisbane restaurant – Long Time

Fave GC/Brisbane coffee haunt – Stable Café (obviously)

Connect with Tess and World Resorts of Distinction:

World Resorts of Distinction


Thanks so much for sharing Tess! x








Inspired by Tess' journey and ready to plunge into the business world? Check out our eBook - How to Launch your Startup for insight, tips and advice on starting your business from TVM Cofounders.

1 Comment on How to :: Run a successful business and be socially conscious, with Tess Willcox.

Stall Profile :: Bowl de Coco

We’re all a little crazy for the coco! So we were excited when Cat Wyman swung us an application to join the TVM lineup with her brand Bowl de Coco….

We're all a little crazy for the coco! So we were excited when Cat Wyman swung us an application to join the TVM lineup with her brand Bowl de Coco. We chatted to Cat about her journey from hairstylist to the stars (hello Kate Moss!) in the big smoke of London-town, to coconut bowl entrepreneur on the sunny shores of the Gold Coast.

Tell us about your background, what field did you work in prior to starting your business?

I was a hairstylist living a busy life in London travelling every week doing hair for people such as Kate Moss and doing Campaigns for brands such as Calvin Klein. It was a crazy busy life.

What made your pursue your creative passion?

I didn't want to do school anymore so at age 15 I had the choice of an apprenticeship or staying in school so I chose an apprenticeship in hairdressing.

When did you take the plunge and start your own business?

I decided I didn't want a crazy busy London life anymore last September, so at the end of December I moved back to Australia and set up the business at the beginning of the year. I didn't anticipate it doing well, it was more of a project I suppose... and it ended up being a hit.

What does your brand consist of?

My brand is currently just Coconut Bowls however we are currently in the process of expanding to be more of an 'Eco-Friendly store' Soon you will be able to get spoons and also even more Eco-friendly bits that everyone should have in their Eco-friendly kitchen.

Where is the label designed and made?

I work closely with a beautiful woman named Mai and we work together picking what the store should have and engraving my logo onto each piece, she is based in Thailand and I am here in Brisbane.

What inspires you?

The beauty of the world inspires me to try and influence others to keep the earth and oceans as plastic free as possible.

What are your plans for the brand and where do you hope it takes you?

The sky is the limit with the brand, I hope we evolve into being a really big Eco-Friendly store and supply to all the cafes and retail stores around the world. We have just launched world wide shipping and already we are flooded with orders so I think there is no limit to where this business will end up.. I am just hoping to make a change and influence people to be more waste conscious and have more Eco-friendly and sustainable items in their lives.

What were the biggest challenges when launching your brand?

The biggest challenge is trying to create change in the communities, to try and stop cafes using plastic bowls and have coconut bowls instead, however most people are becoming more aware of the waste we create and are wanting to make a change.

What is the best thing about having your own business?

I can work anywhere...I get to go to the beach almost when ever I want. That was a huge highlight of the summer after living 4 years in London all I wanted to do was be at the beach.

One piece of advice for someone hoping to start their own small business that you wish you’d been told?

'Whether you think you can or you think you cant you're right' - Henry Ford

Find Cat and Bowl de Coco at TVM on Sunday 3 June and connect online via Instagram and the online store.

No Comments on Stall Profile :: Bowl de Coco


DO MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE!  StartUp Creative is excited to announce their first one-day workshop for the year, to help turn your passion into your business: WHAT THE HELL…


StartUp Creative is excited to announce their first one-day workshop for the year, to help turn your passion into your business: WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?

Have you been day-dreaming of starting your own business? Have you got a secret talent or skill that the world needs to hear about? No matter what stage your business or creative idea is at, StartUp Creative can help you bring it to life.

Come and join StartUp Creative for their What The Hell Am I Doing workshop to learn all the tips and tricks you need to know to take the first steps in making your dream a reality.

Free yourself from the daily grind of a job you dread, and make more time for what makes you thrive!

At the end of the workshop you will walk away with the following skills:

  • A clear idea of what you're truly passionate about.
  • Ability to identify how to turn that passion into a booming business.
  • Tips and tools to immediately kickstart your business idea.
  • Introductions to an instant network of like-minded young entrepreneurs.

The workshop is on Saturday 7th March 2015, 10am until 3pm (AEST) at Coolangatta QLD and a catered light lunch is included.

More information, here.


For your chance to WIN a double pass to this Startup Creative event (total value $198) simply head to our Instagram @thevillagemarketsgc  follow the prompts to enter and see below for the Terms and Conditions.


– Competition commences Monday 23rd February 2015. Entries close 5pm (AEST) Sunday 1st March 2015.
– The winner will be notified by way of mention in a post on The Village Markets’ Instagram account after prize drawn. All reasonable efforts will be made to contact the winner of the prize.
– Competition is limited to one entry per Instagram account holder and entrants’ Instragram accounts must be ‘Public’
– No giveaway accounts are eligible to enter
– Entry is limited to Australian residents with Australian residential addresses only
– All requirements stated within competition image are to be met for entries to be eligible
– Winner drawn by online random selection tool

klee (65 of 136)

klee (101 of 136)

klee (27 of 136)

klee (84 of 136)



Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search