The Village Markets

The Village Markets

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

Tag: Interview

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:

jasminedowling

nicolekingwellbeing

tessguinery

girlboss

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

 

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How to :: Cultivate the career of your dreams, with Sacha Strebe

We’ve been so fortunate to be able to connect with many inspiring people over the past 10 years, since TVM’s inception. There’s nothing more important to us than supporting and…

We’ve been so fortunate to be able to connect with many inspiring people over the past 10 years, since TVM’s inception. There’s nothing more important to us than supporting and encouraging those creating and cultivating their dream paths.

One such soul is Sacha Strebe. Wind the clock back to the very beginning and Sacha was the editor of our local, go-to for fashion and lifestyle on the Gold Coast, ‘Tuesday’ magazine.  

A breath of fresh air for Gold Coast media, Sacha injected her style-savvy, forward thinking, innovative flair into the publication, always supporting new and exciting cultural projects along the way (TVM included).

Sacha’s equally talented husband and denim aficionado Troy, designed his own denim range Debris Blanc in those days and we were so excited they wanted to showcase at our humble event, alongside a whopping eight other stalls (yes, that’s right, nine stalls total at our first ever TVM event!), with toddler son Neon in tow.

We have proudly followed her career journey since, as Sacha moved to Melbourne to pursue a role as the digital director for a trade show company where she ran multiple blogs, social media, and newsletters for a show called Décor + Design.

She eventually relocated to Los Angeles (her husband is from the U.S.) and landed her dream gig as editorial director of MyDomaine—a home décor and lifestyle website founded by the creators of Who What Wear.

After four years with MyDomaine, Sacha announced her departure and took a new direction in her career as the editorial director of Create & Cultivate—a platform that helps women to create and cultivate the career of their dreams.

We thought it was a great opportunity to chat with Sacha and delve deeper into this concept. How do you in fact, manifest and achieve your dream career? After all, it appears she herself has done just that.

Sacha Strebe by Jenna Peffley

Sacha, you are one hard-working lady who has always been one-step ahead of the digital game since we’ve known you and we have so much respect for you as a woman, mother and in your career. In our opinion, you are the true definition of an influencer—where does this come from, it seems as though it’s ingrained in you, what was your childhood like?

Firstly, thank you. That is such a nice compliment. I guess it comes from my parents. They are both really hard-working people and always pushed us to be the best versions of ourselves. My dad was incredibly self-disciplined from his work to his physical and mental health, so it definitely rubbed off on me. He runs about 15 kilometres around three or four times a week and has a six-pack in his 60s. My mom often runs with him or does her own sun salutations and yoga at home. Growing up in a family of five we always had to do chores around the house and dad never let us off the hook. He taught us that through hard work and persistence you could master your craft and achieve your dreams. But there isn’t a success story in history worth hearing about that didn’t happen as a result of putting in the work. I have carried this work ethic into my adult life, and I am only just now seeing it start to pay off—I turn 40 next year. It proves good things really do take time.

Can you tell us how you managed to secure your first dream gig in LA?

My husband is from Arizona. After living with me in Australia for eight years (we got married and had our son during that time) we moved back to the U.S. to pursue our career ambitions. We also wanted to be closer to Troy’s parents as his father (who is a Vietnam vet) had been having health problems.

We sold everything and moved to the States with no job prospects and a few boxes of books and records (the essentials, of course). We landed in Arizona first to stay with family, but the plan was always to live in L.A. I knew I wanted to work at Clique, the founders of Who What Wear. It had been a dream of mine and a permanent on my vision board for years (I even applied for WWW jobs from Australia). I saw a listing for MyDomaine lifestyle editor and applied immediately.

Within a few days they emailed me requesting an interview. I had two interviews and completed an edit test before securing the role. I worked remotely in AZ for two weeks while my husband was in L.A. looking for apartments. We found the dream 2 bedroom 2 bathroom home in Silver Lake and we’re still here. We love it.

Tell us about your time at MyDomaine. Your days must have been so varied and never the same, talk us through the type of projects you were responsible for?

Working at MyDomaine was an incredibly exciting time for me. The site had just re-launched from being a purely home décor site to a lifestyle platform and I was responsible for helping them expand into the new content categories. The company was in its prime and both influencers, celebrities, and brands were super excited to work with us. Within a year I was promoted to managing editor where I was responsible for the calendar and ensuring a varied content mix across all categories, kept the editors on deadline, and worked closely with the editorial director on strategy.

I was in that role for a year before being promoted to editorial director. In that role, I managed a bi-coastal team of seven extremely talented editors and was responsible for the editorial vision, direction, and tone of the site while also looking for new and creative opportunities for the brand to expand both editorially and experientially. I expanded the site well beyond its home décor roots to create an all-encompassing digital lifestyle publication and community that inspired and empowered women, and in turn, helped MyDomaine reach a lifetime traffic high.

Being on set shooting the homes of people I admire was definitely a highlight for me. Getting to know Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent and being invited into their family home to tell their love story was incredibly special. Another pinch-me-moment was seeing my editorial concept, Womaneer come to life as a Power Lunch and being able to host it with 200 incredible women in L.A. MyDomaine was a very rewarding four years.

Who What Wear was such a digital pioneer and one of the first platforms we ever read religiously. You were employed by and worked very closely with media powerhouses and founders Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr (Clique Media). Were the pair mentors for you during your time at MyDomaine?

I vividly and fondly remember the first WWW newsletters. They were truly doing something different and disruptive and I couldn’t get enough. It was around the time I had my son, Neon and I was feeling frustrated at home in need of something to fuel my creativity again while on maternity leave. WWW inspired me to start a blog and keep writing. That really helped me connect with other inspiring people online (it was a very tightknit and small community at that time) and really keep my hand in it. I dreamed of working with them for years and would often apply online for jobs that were listed even though I knew they wouldn’t hire me.

My logic was clear though—the more I applied, the more they’d see my name so that one day when I was in the States, they would remember me and call me in for an interview. I’m not sure it worked but I think the universe was listening because when I did get the job, Hillary Kerr recognized me (we used to tweet each other) and called me into her office with a big smile, a warm embrace and incredible welcome. I will never forget it. She has been my biggest champion ever since and even now, despite not working at MyDomaine anymore, she is a huge advocate and supporter of mine. I’m truly grateful and honoured to have her on my side as a mentor.

You were very much instrumental in turning MyDomaine into what it is today, was it hard to leave something you considered your second baby?

It was really hard and truthfully, I cried a lot. It took a few weeks to really digest everything, to recognize and commend myself for what we created at MyDomaine, and to be proud of that. It’s important to take a moment and celebrate personal milestones. We don’t do that enough as a society. I learned so much during my time at MD but it truly was time to move on. I was ready for a new challenge, something that pushed me mentally and energetically.

Your new role is editorial director of Create & Cultivate, how did you transition from MyDomaine into this new position?

I wasn’t really actively looking for anything. I was taking my time and even considered consulting or starting my own advisory when I received an email from C&C’s publicist (who is a good friend) to let me know that they were looking for an editorial director and if I’d be interested. I had worked with the C&C team a few times during my time at MyDomaine when they asked me to moderate a panel at SXSW and then again in Chicago at their conference. The team had always impressed me with their efficiency and kindness, plus the CEO Jaclyn Johnson truly is a powerhouse and I have huge respect for what she has built and the movement she started. It’s inspiring.

You recently mentioned your mission statement in your former role was to ‘empower women to be the CEO of their own lives’ and your new role will entail giving young people the keys to unlock their full potential and cultivate the career of their dreams. What do you think is the key to cultivating your dream career?

Hard work. I don’t think you always know what your passion is, and to be quite honest, the idea that we have to find it can be confusing and frustrating. Especially, if, like me, you have more than one and can’t decide which one to run with. I’ve always been hungry, unafraid of hard work and the person who is the first to arrive and the last to leave. I guess you could say I’m an intrapreneur—I think with an entrepreneurial mindset when I’m working for someone else.

Nowadays, you can really broaden your prospects and try new things to test out a new business idea or career while you’re working full time (and getting a reliable paycheck with benefits). You just have to be prepared to burn the midnight oil but that’s good preparation for when if you do launch your own business, if that’s the end goal, of course.

I started a bi-weekly newsletter before starting at C&C which is now my passion project. Every two weeks I rotate between Stylexicon (design newsletter) and Skinlexicon (beauty/skin newsletter). I get the biggest kick out of seeing new subscribers each week. It’s so rewarding and exciting when people sign up and trust you with the prime real estate of their inbox.

We don’t believe there is any luck involved when it comes to achieving success and I am sure you will agree! We like the quote ‘luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity’ (Seneca) – what are your thoughts on this?

I 100% agree with that. Oprah says it all the time on her Super Soul Sunday podcast and it always rings true.

People talk about finding a work-life balance. To us it seems as though your career is very intertwined with your life in general. Tell us about how you manage to make it all work?

Some days its more work and less family, and others it’s more family and less work. You just have to be flexible and go with it while ditching the guilt. I let that go a long time ago and to be honest I have always felt like mom guilt was invented as a way to keep women down and stop them from pursuing careers. We shouldn’t feel guilty because we want to contribute to society or embark on creative pursuits that nurture our soul and make us feel connected to the world. I’m a much happier person, mother, friend, wife, sister, and woman when I can do what I love and feel fulfilled by my contribution. I’m also incredibly lucky to have a very supportive husband who values gender equality and truly wants to see me succeed. We share everything, including house hold responsibilities and he actually cooks during the week. I love him so much.

We love keeping up with your busy life via Instagram (@sacha.strebe) and you have connected with so many incredible and high profile people in the lifestyle space, some of whom have become great friends. Tell us, who has been the most interesting person you have interviewed, to date and why?

Ahh there are so many but I definitely loved interviewing my friends Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent. Telling the story of their young family was so moving and so special to me. They truly are paving the way for other LGBTQ+ families and showing us all that love trumps everything. This is one of my favorite quotes from that story; “We’d walk through fire for our kids, but we’d walk through it holding hands.”

You and your family have made quite a life for yourselves in LA (with one killer apartment to boot!) how have you adjusted and what is Troy working on these days?

We absolutely love it here. It’s home. We have created a little sanctuary in this house and the energy is filled with love and warmth. I just wish my family lived closer because I’d love for them to visit and come over for a cup of tea. Troy is the senior wash designer at Paige denim now and really doing amazing things over there. We’re also quietly working on a few small projects together so stay tuned.

If you could offer up one piece of advice to anyone wanting to create his or her dream career, what would it be?

Be authentic. I know it’s an overused word but it’s honestly the first thing that comes to my mind when reading this question. Everything feels so saturated and homogenized now, especially in media and on Instagram, but it’s the ones who are true to themselves and authentic to their vision and creative path that stand tall above the rest. If you want to disrupt the space and do something different or compelling that grabs people’s (limited) attention spans then you have to get comfortable with yourself and resist the urge to do what everyone else is. Find out who you are and do that because no one else can be you better than you. It’s slightly cheesey but it’s true.

If you could interview anyone at all, who would it be and why?

Oooh that’s tough but probably Kristin Stewart or Tracee Ellis Ross because they’re both unapologetically themselves, they never compromise.

Finally:

Favourite podcasts – SO many!/

Armchair Expert, Goop Podcast, Boss Files, WorkParty, No Limits, Offline the Podcast, Oprah’s Master Class, Super Soul Sunday. Second Life, Super Women, Recode Decode, The Barney’s Podcast (episode 3 with Noor), Him & Her With Skinny Confidential, Unstyled, Secrets of Wealthy Women, Vanessa Wants to Know and more…

Favourite book/read - Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie or Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

Favourite thing to do in LA – Walk the Silver Lake junction visiting the shops and cafes with Neon and my husband.

Biggest inspiration/s - my mom and dad!

Follow Sacha via her instagram @sacha.strebe and you can also subscribe to her new personal newsletter.

Thank you so much for your time, Sacha! x

The Strebes, by Jenna Peffley

 

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TVM x The Delivery Mag

TVM co-founders Marissa and Sarah recently chatted with the wonderful gals from The Delivery Mag about all things business and motherhood. ‘They say it takes a village to raise a…

TVM co-founders Marissa and Sarah recently chatted with the wonderful gals from The Delivery Mag about all things business and motherhood.

'They say it takes a village to raise a child, but friends Sarah Schoeller and Marissa Bowden have instead raised a village to call their family. The dynamic duo created The Village Markets, an inspiring home for emerging creatives on Australia’s Gold Coast and are credited with raising the cultural bar in the region and uniting a community.  With four spirited girls between them, the mothers have a deep passion for nurturing other people’s talents as well as their children’s. '

If you feel like reading more about us or hearing from inspiring women such as Lindy Klim and Magdalena Roze, grab a cuppa and you can find the full interview, here.
Images by Alice Wint of @shecriedwolf

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