Creative Crowdsourcing / Funding Opportunities

Are you a struggling artist of any kind and need funding to get an idea/invention/project off the ground?  Here’s a couple of Australian companies I’ve checked out that may be able to help you…

1.  Pozible (

An Australian company founded by Rick Chen and Alan Crabbe who saw a hole in the market where their artist friends were finding it hard to secure funding for their projects.

Pozible is a crowdfunding platform and community for creative projects and ideas.  Developed for artists, musicians, filmmakers, journalists, designers, social change makers, entrepreneurs, inventors, event organisers, software developers and all creative minded people to raise funds, realise their aspirations and make great things possible.

One of Pozible’s current project that is proudly supported by myself is by an artist named Konii C Burns, a 38 year old independent visual artist, sole parent and clinical depression/suicide survivor for 25 years.  Konii holds a Diploma of Visual Arts and is currently untaking a Bachelors Degree in Visual Arts.

Just a snippet of the full piece

Konii is seeking funding for her project ”Atrabilious: Depression of the Spirit” which is a 20m x 160m charcoal drawing that brings awareness to mental illness, depression and suicide.

This work will be exhibitied through the Dax Centre, Melbourne during the month of October 2012.

Please take the time to support Konii and her vision for bringing awareness to mental health…donations can be as little as $1.

You can connect with Konii on facebook

Full length view of the massive 160m x 20m piece “Atrabilious Depression of the Spirit”

Another Pozible project which is worth taking a look at and supporting is Fee Plumely’s  You can find the link to support Fee and her amazing adventure on her website.

reallybigroadtrip is an experiment in living and breathing creative digital culture.  The plan is to get a bus and drive it around Australia, making and sharing geek arts with everyone that I meet.  It’s an artwork and research project, plus a home / studio / workshop / exhibition / screening and collaboration space, all wrapped up in one big bus.

2.  iPledge (

Andy Tompkins is the originator of the iPledg platform.  He is a Chartered Accountant from the UK and migrated to Australia in Jan, 2010.  Andy is also a panel member for the Queensland Government’s Mentoring for Growth Program, assisting small businesses.  It was on one of these panels that he met Bryan Vadas.

Even at high school, Bryan demonstrated entrepreneurial flair and a commercial astuteness beyond his years and was the recipient of the Young Achievers Australia Award in 1982.  Using his broad based skills he has assisted business start-ups right through to multi-nationals who require business transformation solutions.

Both Andy and Bryan have considerable experience in the corporate world, and both have seen entrepreneurs with great ideas that could not get their projects completed (or even begun in some circumstances) due to a lack of funding.

Whether the projects are creative, commercial, charitable or community focused, iPledg is another platform on which to post a project and engage your network to pledge their support.

3. StartSomeGood (

This crowdfunding model — which is growing in popularity world-wide — is customised to reflect the unique needs of social entrepreneurs.  There are plenty of problems in the world, and no shortage of people with ideas to address them, yet they lack the resources that they need to get started.

Co-founder Alex Budak has spoken on social entrepreneurship at the White House, World Bank and leading universities, is a member of the Sandbox Network, a YouthActionNet fellow and a StartingBloc fellow.

Co-founder Tom Dawkins is a serial social entrepreneur and the Australian member of the StartSomeGood team. He previously founded Vibewire and was the first Social Media Director at Ashoka.

StartSomeGood provides social entrepreneurs with a platform to raise start-up funds and build a community of supporters — all in a fun, engaging and community-driven way.

There’s an event being held in Richmond, Victoria, where you can find out the secrets, victories and pitfalls from the people who have had projects funded by these crowdfunding platforms, so you’ll learn how you can crowdfund your startup. 

There will be other events if you can’t make this one… just check out the eventbrite website below.

Thursday, 11 October 2012 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EST) Richmond, VIC

For information – click this link >>>>




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Coffs Harbour Buskers and Comedy Festival 28/09/2012

On Friday, 28th September, 2012, WOW’s photographer, Tarryn Agst and myself headed on down to the Coffs Harbour Buskers and Comedy Festival on the NSW mid north coast.  The Festival is an annual event which is now attracting international artists as well as a wealth of Australian talent. 

Here’s just a couple of highlights from the day.

The crowd in awe right throughout the day.

Beat the Streets are one particular group of street performers that caught our attention.

Beat the Streets – street theatre performers

These amazingly talented guys are led by world champion street performer William Sanchez, from the Bronx, NYC, who utilises his charisma and comedic character to draw in the crowd, as well as WOWing the audience with his versatility and range of performance art skills.

Will in action

Canberra boys Stephen Gow and tap dancer, Sean Robinson, and Sydney’s Chris ”Kamikaze” Merriman, together with Will have had the opportunity to travel all over the world performing on Broadway, appear in several movies and television shows such as Superstars Of Dance (USA), So You Think You Can Dance Australia and Australia’s Next Top Model finale.

Stephen going off

Sean Robinson, tore up a sheet of plywood with his tap-to-techno-jazz renditions…

doin’ the Sean Shuffle

You can watch Sean’s warm up on this link >>>>>>

To see the real deal, you’ll have to catch him LIVE!  He goes off!!!

The gymnastic skills used during Sydney lad, Kamikaze’s part of the performance were second to none.  He had the audience stunned with his break dancing and acrobatic routines.

Kamikaze demonstrates both strength and movement

The team performed for about half an hour and had the audience partipate throughout their act.  One boy, Malcolm from Coffs Harbour, stole the limelight in the kid’s section.  Checkout his sic moves…star of the future!

Checkout the video of Malcolm on this link >>>>>>

Malcolm from Coffs Harbour shows off his moves

You can catch Beat the Streets most weekends down at Darling Harbour, Sydney.  Check their website and facebook page for details.

A clown who goes by the name of “Circus Gagstar LOTO” (Yoshinori Fukai), came all the way from Japan to entertain the locals and I must say it was like watching a video entitled “how to draw in and engage a crowd!”  Yoshinori spoke no English, so he used his balancing talent and mime actions to express his humourous personality and tell a story.

He was very clever in the way he used his lack of speaking English as a part of the routine, and his hilarious antics at trying to charade-like explain what he was about to do had everyone in stitches.

Circus Gagstar LOTO

The Festival ran for three days and involved acts performing at the Botanical Gardens as well as the Palm Centre forecourt.  I must say that there was a definite buzz atmosphere happening and it sets the scene to showcase some more extraordinary talent next year.  Well done to the organisers and all the participants of the Festival.  I’ll be back next year for sure.

Special mention to my photographer, Tarryn Agst, for her sensational capturing of those WOW moments!


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How to be a model / actor – with Nat Landy

Nat Landy is a realist who doesn’t believe the pursuit of money or fame to be more important than living a life wholesome to you and those you come in contact with, and in the world of modelling, that has to be something to be admired.  Here’s how Nat made it in this extremely tough industry…

Nat Landy

So Nat, please tell me a bit about how you found your passion for modelling and acting and what it means to you?

I think ‘career choice’ is a more appropriate term over ‘passion’ since I’ll only pursue it as long as it suits my lifestyle and is profitable for me.  I do enjoy it very much though, as it’s not work in the the traditional sense of the word, but moreso – paid socialising.  Working with beautiful and interesting people to create something interesting and beautiful is much to be preferred over dealing with paperwork or machines.  It also is very good ‘time for money’.

Keeping fit and healthy is Nat’s forte

Keeping fit and strong is something I inherited from my dad.  I have a good set of genes, and it follows that the better you look, the more you appreciate looking good and staying that way.  I went through an ugly duckling/chubby stage in primary school (although still fit and strong), but I always had great boxers and bodybuilders in my sights – such as Cassius Clay and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Even if I wasn’t modelling and acting, I would keep healthy and in shape – so it really is an ideal profession for me.  I also realised my looks are appreciated by others, so I was basically pushed in this direction (as I find a lot of models are).

Nat at 19

Definitely agree with you there about keeping healthy and in shape!  Were you influenced and/or inspired by anyone along the way?

Photographer Denis Ryan in St Kilda, Melbourne – a past Aussie successful model in his own right recognised my potential and approached me in a park in 1997 when I was 19 years old.  He mentored me for a while and encouraged me to go all the way to the big time.

Nat at 19

I was pre-occupied with finding a happy, long term relationship with a beautiful girl at the time – I was a dreamy romantic – I had no ambitions to go anywhere in the acting/modelling industry.

At 32, having done many and varied jobs, with a wide range of experience, I was fully appreciative of the privileged position a successful model finds themselves in – paid well for nothing more than looking good, mixing with people, and  following direction.

Well you’re certainly lucky there, Nat.  What were the driving forces that pushed you to take acting and modelling to a full-time career? 

I’ve always wanted to be self-sufficient and creative as an adult – able to learn and do just about anything myself – a ‘can do’ man.  Although things to learn and do are inexhaustible, my past 15 years since I was 19 has made me a very practical and useful man.

I have many trades and skills I can use for back-up income, self-sufficiency and just to satisfy my creative personality.  I’m now certain that modelling is the best, most enjoyable way for me to make a living at this stage in life.

The chopper Nat built and rides

Yep, sounds like you’ve got it all sorted, Nat.  What were you doing work-wise at the time you made the decision to chase your dream?

I spent a couple years driving boats professionally – including racing HRH Prince William around Sydney Harbour (on 20th Jan, 2010).  Although I enjoy water and therefore boats in general –  driving doesn’t pay well ‘time for money’.  There is no incentive to live a good healthy lifestyle, and it’s generally mundane – like most trades/occupations.

I’m creative and into being the best I can be.

Driving HRH Prince William

I’m sure we’d all agree you’ve achieved that, Nat!  What was the first step you took to get your modelling and acting career off the ground and did you need any financial help to begin?

I joined a small local family run agency, and had a photoshoot.  Work came pretty soon.  I didn’t need any financial help – I still had an income working in between modelling jobs, doing private and commercial mechanical repair work to cars, boats and motorbikes.

Nat at 32

It was a matter of seeking out/joining different agencies, then giving them an opportunity to prove themselves. I’ve left various agencies behind because they obviously weren’t ambitious on my behalf.

Having varied skills definitely helps whilst trying to supplement income when starting a business.  What do you consider to be your lucky break and what obstacles did you encounter along the way?

I took on some well-paid jobs right from the start, but the breaks between were too big to make an income.  This gradually built up after a couple of years of making contacts, developing my portfolio/resume with various photographers and jobs and becoming known to most agencies in Sydney.

The biggest obstacles have always been bad or uncaring photographers and lazy agents – they set you back years.

It has taken a lot of procrastination and too much patience.  I don’t like to ‘burn bridges’ so I’ve been too trusting in general – attempting to make up for my impetuousness as a young man.  I’ve learnt the hard way as with everything, but I am now in a position to deal from experience and mentor others.

Being too trusting is something I think we’re all guilty of at some point in business.  How long before you hit the big time and were able to make a substantial living from modelling/acting?

I wouldn’t say I’ve hit the big time yet although I have had many enviable jobs. Australia is obviously too small a market these days – the big business is overseas – I am now in a good standing to chase it at any time in the future, but I’m staying here for now.  “I still call Australia home…”

I have been lucky enough to travel overseas to Bali via Singapore as the lead role in a three-day filmed Asian television commercial for an energy drink, Proman Energenesis (it packs a punch), riding a hard-tail Harley Davidson over all sorts of terrain at the head of a pack, and wooing a beautiful Brazilian model -  Barbara Barreto.

Television commercial for Proman Energenesis

It was hard work – sun, sweat, long days, burns and pulled muscles, but thoroughly enjoyable…and well worth it financially, although I would have done it solely for the experience!!

Television commercial for Proman Energenesis

Yeah sounds real hard!  LOL!  What do you consider to be your unique qualities that have enabled you to succeed in the ruthless modelling/acting world?

Determination, patience, realism – not being all passion, but methodically working towards my goal.

Methodically working towards your goal!  WOW…that hit me!  Nice one.  Now that you’ve achieved your dreams, what are your plans for the future? 

My dream has always been to make a living with a high ‘money for time’ value, and enjoy doing it.  I would like to be booked out of Australia for more overseas work as I enjoy travelling and being paid for it, but always returning here to God’s Country.

Nat…in God’s Country

God’s Country indeed Nat!.  Besides ‘never give up’, what advice would you give to someone who’s chasing their dream? 

- You are one in a million –  the distinctive complex creation that you are is not a genetic mistake – the odds against you happening by chance are insurmountable.  Be comfortable and confident with yourself.

-  Be a good human – no matter how much you hear “survival of the fittest”, no-one likes a moralistic animal.  Unlike animals, it’s not the fittest humans that succeed in the end – the most humane do.  If this comes as a surprise, re-check your view of success!

-  Give 100% but don’t expect 100% in return – no-one appreciates your effort as much as you do.  How can they without thinking, feeling and doing everything you’ve done?

Be realistic but not scared – don’t throw away life for a fairytale!  What you want may not be possible or even good for you.  Constantly evaluate: without effort – no result.  Misguided effort – undesirable result.  Don’t live a life full of regret!

Well who could possibly argue with that!  We sure do breed ‘em awesome in this here God’s Country…WOWEEEE!!!  Absolute pleasure interviewing you, Nat.

You can view Nat’s full list of credits/bio and book him for a job via or via

You can connect with Nat on his facebook page

or LinkedIn

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How to be a personal trainer – Christian Marchegiani (The Boxing Coach)

As a child, Christian Marchegiani was bullied and it was being bullied that got him into boxing, and in effect turned his life around for the better.  Here’s how Christian made personal training and boxing his life and how he feels it’s his way of giving back to the universe for guiding him in this direction.

The Boxing Coach – Christian Marchegiani

I asked Christian to explain a bit about how he discovered his passion for fitness and how he has combined that with his dedication to helping and inspiring others in his business, THUMP Boxing.

I discovered it in my early 20’s.  I realised that I was able to inspire people to improve their health and well-being simply by being real about who I am and who they are.  No nonsense and no fluff in between.  It was about fighting through the hard times and living life with no excuses to fall back on.  I found that I really enjoyed what I did so I thought, “I am going to make this my life”.

I don’t see myself as in business.  My work is just a part of my life.  I do not have days or hours that I work between.  I just love what I do.  I’ve found a purpose and now I am trying to do it well.  I’m all about helping and inspiring people to give life a good go and never give up.

My gym is a place where I invite people to come and be part of a team that cares for their health and well-being… a place where they can meet other people and draw inspiration from them.

I conduct seminars and lectures at schools, universities, and also do corporate talking about motivation, team work and dealing with setbacks.  A lot of the analogies I use are from boxing because boxing has such great stories of struggle and fight backs.

Putting in the hard yakka gets you results

That sounds like a pretty full-on schedule Christian!   What were doing at the time you decided to chase your dream, and what were the driving forces that pushed you to take fitness from a hobby to a career?

I was working as a personal trainer but it was taking up so much of my time that I thought, “OK, this is more than just working 9 to 5.  This is something that you live and breathe.

I opened my own boxing gym and from then on I knew I could do anything.  I found myself bouncing out of bed at 5am wanting to tackle the day.  This was when I knew I wanted it to be my career!

Boxing Cambodia style…on concrete…

Well if you’re bouncing out of bed at 5am, I’d say yeah, you’ve found your calling.  Were you influenced and/or inspired by anyone in particular along the way?

I had many mentors along the way.  Some I knew personally while others I read about or saw in documentaries.  I felt a connection with people who had achieved so much but were humble enough to share their knowledge and experience with me.  I knew that one day I would also want to do the same for others.

One of my very first clients was the speech writer to John Howard who was the PM at the time.  He gave me a lot of knowledge on how to communicate with people and get my message across.  One of my other mentors was my father who always used to ask me “did the boy you were become the man you wanted to be?”

WOW!  That must have been wonderful to have such a fantastic role model around you supporting you like that!  What was the first step you took to get your business, THUMP Boxing, off the ground? 

I had to drop all the excuses of why it would not work.  I had to understand my fear and just jump into it anyway.  What did I have to lose?  The next step was having an action plan and a mission statement and constantly reminding myself of it, which is…

… ”to create a culture of belonging, a discipline of respect and an attitude to never give up. To relentlessly pursue the greatness we have within us without compromising our integrity or the integrity of others“.

Christian interviewing Aussie NBA star, Andrew Bogut, who plays for the Golden State Warriors

That’s some mission statement!  When you opened your gym, how did you find your clientele and what advertising/promotion did you use to attract customers?

Everything happened through word of mouth for me.  I was out there talking to everyone about my gym and asking for referrals.  I would always offer the first lesson for free and rewarded the people that would refer people to me, usually with a t-shirt or hat.

They’re pretty cool rewards.  Did you seek financial assistance at the start-up phase?  What obstacles did you encounter?

I had a couple of thousand dollars saved up and my parents lent me a couple of thousand and off I went. The greatest obstacle was the people who kept telling me why it couldn’t work. I just run through those obstacles now or hurdle them.

Tell me HOW it CAN be done, not WHY it CAN’T be done!

I hear you there, Christian!  How long was it before you were able to support yourself full-time through your business?

For the first six months I had no income.  I just had enough to pay the bills.  I was lucky enough to still live at home and have some money saved up so I got by.  I also did some personal training on the side.

Tune in to ABC Grandstand Digital Radio every Sunday morning at 11.00am to the Live Fit program hosted by Christian M & Tex Walker. This is a new health, lifestyle & motivational show.

Yeah living at home is definitely a bonus when starting a business.  What do you consider to be your lucky break?  How long before this came?

I had a Channel Ten journalist attend my classes.  After about six months he said he wanted to do a story on health and fitness with me.  This raised my profile as I then appeared in newspapers and radio giving opinions on all things related to health, fitness and also bullying.

Well that’d do it, for sure!  Did you push your dream on your own or did you get help through a partnership, mentoring or business advice? 

I must admit I pushed it on my own.  I never had a partner or mentoring.  I took advice from my accountant and lawyer and the rest I learnt along the way through reading and speaking to people.  I ran with it and I ran hard.

No one really understood what I wanted to do.  It wasn’t like me saying, “hey, I’m going to study to be a teacher!”  What I wanted to do was different and there was no real industry for it.

Yes, that definitely makes for a challenge!  How long before you hit the big time and able to make a substantial living from THUMP Boxing?

Before I could really make a living from my passion took me about three years.  It did take me a good few years before I can say I hit the big time…probably about five years before I was appearing regularly on TV and in magazines.  It took about ten years before I got to present Excess Baggage on Channel 9THUMP Boxing is now recognised globally as one of the premier boxing for fitness education providers.

Channel 9′s “Excess Baggage”

Cool, you must be extremely proud of that achievement.  Have you been lucky enough to travel overseas for your business? 

Yes I have. I have been to 25 countries speaking and helping others.  I have featured in Men’s Fitness Australia which was also sold in NZ.  I have been in Ultra Fit magazine which is sold in the UK and I have also appeared in fitness magazines in Taiwan.

Australian Men’s Fitness magazine cover

In America, I appeared for a week on Daytime which is a morning lifestyle television show on the FOX network.  I was a special guest talking about all things health, fitness, childhood obesity and bullying.

Very busy man indeed.  What do you consider to be your unique qualities that have enabled you to succeed in your industry?

I have an attitude of never giving up.  You are either on my side or in my way.  It may sound arrogant, but the way I see it is that I am here for a short time and I want to make the most of it.

Agree 100% Christian.  Now that you’ve achieved your dreams, what are your plans for the future?  

I am hoping to do another TV show soon with FOX.  It is still in planning stages.

Your dreams always get bigger.  You have to keep setting goals.  Stay busy and keep moving.  You can’t rest on your past success because there is always a wolf hungrier than you who is following not far behind.

Christian and his “FIT AS ALL F@#K” team

Yep, don’t look behind…look forward!  Besides ‘never give up’, what advice would you give to someone who’s chasing their dream?  

Be relentless in your pursuit.  Understand that there will be setbacks, failures, and “No’s”, but if you just persist with what you truly believe in then your efforts will not go unrewarded.  As soon as someone tells you it can’t be done then walk away.  Do not argue, do not try make them see reason.  Just walk away and find a way!

Well who could argue with that!  What an absolutely amazing person you are Christian Marchegiani and it was a pleasure interviewing you.  You can check out Christian’s world at, connect with him on facebook and Twitter @TheBoxingCoach

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How to be a rock star – interview with Matt J Wilson

Discovering Metallica at the age of 15 was the beginning of a long and beautiful career for singer/songwriter/guitarist, Matt J Wilson, who is set to release his long-awaited first album in January with his band, Matt J Wilson & The Avenue.

Matt J Wilson

I asked Matt how he found music and what it means to have music in his life?

My passion for music I was born with!  From my grandmother’s opera singing and my grandfather’s spoon playing, to my father’s Elvis records and my mother’s Beatles records – music was always there for me, and I knew at five or six that music is not what I’m going to do, it’s what I NEED to do!

Music lets me breathe and speak in the true form of expression – well, mine anyway!

That’s pretty deep Matt.  Was there anyone who influenced or inspired you along the way?

When I was around 15, after years of guitar and piano lessons paid for by my super rad mum who always encouraged my passion, I saw a band named Metallica, and I was hooked big time with their heavy riffs and melodic undertones and yelling in key lyrics!  So, of course being a young rebellious teenager, I joined a heavy metal rock band, The Four Horsemen, playing mostly covers of Metallica, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, etc.

I joined The Four Horsemen when I was around 17 and we took demos to publicans and they booked us for gigs.

By the time I was 26, I had been in around ten bands.

At 30, I was asked to try out for a spot that had come up as guitarist for The Switch Blades, a heavy metal band that played Motley Crue/Van Halen-influenced originals.  I was in The Switch Blades for about five years and we were lucky enough to tour America.

As I got older, I started to chill out with my music and hit more of the acoustic songs, writing originals and telling my own stories, but I still wear the leather pants!!!  Old habits, hey.

Nice.  So were you also working at the time you were playing with The Four Horsemen?

I’m a motor mechanic by trade, but I’ve worked in factories driving forklifts and stacking shelves but I was always caught taking long breaks playing my guitar to other co-workers and playing their requests and I always got the sack!

Funny.  How did you make that transition then from working full time to making music for a living?

An old muso I knew once told me that if you can’t busk, you can’t play, so I took that on board and thought, okay, I’ll jump on a bus from Melbourne and go and busk at Kings Cross in Sydney and test myself in the real jungle.

My first night I made 180 bucks.  Even the cops liked my music.

I went and played wherever I was welcome…even if was just for 50 bucks and a feed, and I made a lot of friends with couches!

I began teaching music part-time at school and in my home studio – guitar, piano, drums, bass, sax and vocal lessons.  I played gigs at night and taught during the day.  Slowly my teaching was able to support me full-time along with my gigs, and since then music has been my career.

Matt’s new video “Rescue Mine”

My band, Matt J Wilson & The Avenue, are currently halfway through the new album which will be finished this year and released in January 2013, and then we’ll go on tour and I look forward to the LIVE shows.  I advertise all of our gigs on facebook and I also use my band page for networking, etc.

I also occasionally write songs for other bands, so it’s pretty full on most of the time.

“Rescue Mine”

Awesome…so how long before you hit the big time and made some serious cash?

Hahahaha.  Most of us artists ask ourselves the same question over a shared pizza which most of us are fine with!  How can I fit my Marshall stack in a Porsche anyway!

True.  What do you consider to be your unique qualities that have enabled you to succeed in the ruthless music industry?

I have a positive attitude and treat people like you how you like to be treated.  I love smiling and always say please and thank you.

Yeah I agree with you there, Matt.  So besides ‘never give up’, what advice would you give to someone who’s chasing a career in music? 

Always be true to yourself no matter what you do in life, and always be kind to others…it’s not that hard!  A can-do attitude is a must in the music game, so if you’re not having fun, try carpentry!  And it always helps to have mates in the industry.

What a great guy and I wish him huge success.

Checkout Matt’s new video “Rescue Mine 

Connect with Matt on facebook and


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WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE – #2 How to discover and develop a child’s passion

The discovery of one’s passion is an extremely personal one.  It can come from any number of sources, for example, an inspiring family member, a friend, an activity that has developed over many years, or exposure to art, nature, music, dance or sport.

ABC by Holden O’Brien – age 4

Some people know from a very young age what it is that makes their heart soar, whereas others may find it much later in life, and unfortunately, some go through their whole lives without ever finding their true calling.

As a parent, fostering a child’s passion is quite an easy task.  There are several things that can be done to cultivate and harness the talents of a youngen.

Caterpillar by Holden O’Brien – age 4

Support and encouragement

This would probably be the most crucial element on the parent’s part.  We don’t have it all figured out…you may have to try many different things before you find something which really excites you and gets you up in the morning.

The support part is easy for the parents.  You can support your child in words or in writing or facebook or over the phone…ha…is that even done these days?  It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just small words of encouragement and support to let them know you’re cheering them on and to instil self confidence in the child.

Lion by Holden O’Brien – age 5

Be present and attentive

The look on a child’s face when they do something great and look over and see their mum or dad watching is priceless.

Being present and attentive means actually being there right beside your child (wherever possible).  That involvement has to continue throughout the whole development of the child – and not just on things that you like.

You can’t force a child to like the same things as you.  They have to find their own path.  The idea is to try and develop individual thinking and to be different and follow their desires.  They must want to do this activity.  They must be having fun otherwise they won’t learn and will not want to continue.

The Stig Hog by Holden O’Brien – age 6

If your child chooses to follow in your footsteps and find they have the same passion as you, then great, but if they choose to go their own way and follow something totally different, then that’s great, too, and you must celebrate the differences and individuality of each and every one of us.

Recycle by Holden O’Brien – age 6

Everything we say and do imprints on a child’s soul forever more.  Avoid negativity at all costs and NEVER say to your child things along the line of “painting is just a hobby” or “you’ll never be good enough” or “you can’t make a living doing that”!

Banana Man by Holden O’Brien – age 7

Teach your children to be positive and present in every moment… physically realise where you are, what you’re doing, what’s happening around you and remind yourselves and your children how lucky you all are and how grateful you are to be alive.

Exposure to all things

It’s funny how one child can love trains since birth and another child can flitter flutter like a butterfly from tennis to piano to dance until they finally settle on basketball.

You’ll know when your child has hit upon the one thing that makes them joyous as hopefully you won’t hear the words “I’m bored” ever again!

Apple Boy by Holden O’Brien – age 7


Reward along the way

Showing a genuine interest in your child’s chosen activity enables you to promote their enthusiasm and expand their knowledge by providing them with rewards.  Rewards are incentives and can inspire and motivate a child to continue with their interest.

Examples of rewards could be anything from books, a new football, a new set of Derwent pencils, tickets to a concert or a game of soccer down at the local park together – anything you think they will enjoy.

Rewards are mere gestures throughout their lives that indicate thoughtfulness and support.

These are the things they will remember.

Watermelon Girl by Holden O’Brien – age 7

We’re the ones, the parents, that are responsible for expanding and growing the next generation and we have to teach children all about life and the magic it holds, and to seek wonder every day and rejoice in its awe.


How do you support and encourage your child’s passion?



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How to be a photographer – Sunday Read with Peter Brew-Bevan

Peter Brew-Bevan’s passion for portrait photography is evident when gazing upon his work, but even more important to Peter is his passion for promoting this particular genre within the Australian market. 

Peter Brew-Bevan

I asked Peter to explain how he discovered his passion and how he found fashion portrait photography? 

I have always been ‘passionate’.  My first passion came to me at a very young age, when I was about 6 or 7 – I discovered landscape painting and instantly became obsessed with it.  My art teacher at the time was a successful landscape painter in her own right and she took me under her wing – by the age of 12 or 13 I was regularly seen around the Clare Valley in South Australia riding around on my push bike with my primed masonite (what I use to paint on) and my box of oil paints… heading to a location.

I received early acceptance into the South Australian School of Art and Design to study my Fine Art degree and graduated with Honours.

I was only 16 years old, and it was in that first year I discovered that I didn’t want to starve for the rest of my life as a painter.  I had come from a humble background as it was, so I did an elective in photography and BOOM!  The very first time I saw an image emerge on that paper I was instantly hooked for life.

From then on my focus changed to photography.

After graduating uni, I was working part-time in a photo mini-lab and shooting bits and pieces for local fashion designers, etc.  It was at the height of the recession in the early 1990′s.  I did a month of work experience in Sydney at Australian Consolidated Press and about six months later they offered me a full-time position, so I packed my car and drove over to Sydney… knowing no one!

Jack Black

Limping to 1994/95, I relocated to Sydney and started working on all the fashion magazines, but quickly stumbled into doing more portrait fashion rather than the standard fashion photography.

Then when this new era of celebrity arose and magazines started shooting more of them for covers, I was approached to shoot them as this is what I had become known for – my fashion portraits.  And the rest is history.

Jessica Marais

Was there anything that drove you to make photography a career?

I guess necessity.  It was never a hobby.  I left straight from uni wanting to do this as a career.  I was fortunate enough to have very supportive parents – they defiantly supported my decision – albeit a hard one.

I guess it was also the exuberance of youth… I kind of thought, “I can be successful at this!”

Missy Higgins

So what was your first move in pushing your career as a photographer? 

I started my company 18 years ago.  It again was out of necessity.  I took up the position at ACP as staff photographer, but I also started getting many commissions from external magazines.  It wasn’t long until I was asked to make a choice – stop freelancing and work solely for ACP titles or leave and freelance full-time.

So I left.  I didn’t know anything about operating my own business so I engaged a good company accountant and went from there.

David Wenham

Was there anyone who influenced or inspired you throughout your development as a photographer? 

Probably the biggest influence to date would be my mentor from my university days, Mark Kimber, whom is a very successful art photographer.

Miranda Otto

Did you push your dream on your own or did you get help through a partnership, mentoring or business advice? 

I pretty much pushed my own dream.  I got the usual business advice from my accountant but I was just finding my own way.

It’s a different kind of business as I do such specialised work.

I have agents looking after my career, so the focus was more on client management and career development and reputation building rather than business structures.

Throughout your extraordinary career, what would you consider to be your lucky break? 

I have had a couple of lucky breaks over the years – the first would have been my cover shoot of the Williams’ sisters for a New York magazine.

Serena and Venus Williams

The second big break would have been my Naomi Watts cover shoot.  One of the images from this shoot – a hauntingly fragile portrait of Naomi, has since become a bit of an iconic image in the National Portrait Gallery.  I am told it is one of the favourites within the gallery, and that many people ask to see it.  It’s a really nice compliment.

Naomi Watts

The last and biggest lucky break would have been the publishing of my first book by Murdoch Books titled Shoot : Studio Sessions.  It was a sell-out, and I have recently been told that it is now being sold online as a collector’s item – again … humbled.

Shoot : Studio Sessions

BUT… the old saying, “you are only as good as your last shoot” is extremely true in this extremely competitive industry… so lucky breaks can get you things, but it can also all be taken away from you just as quickly!

How long before you hit the big time and able to make a substantial living from photography?

It takes a few years of hard, hard work to make it in my industry… at least 10 years before you have the reputation that can start commanding the higher fees and to establish longevity, which is what you really want to aim for.

It is an industry where there are many ‘flash in the pans’.

Barry Otto

Has your passion taken you overseas? 

I regularly travel overseas with commissions!  One of the last shoots was with the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson.

What do you consider to be your unique qualities that have enabled you to succeed in the world of portrait photography?

I think my ability to be many things at once – the forward to SHOOT : STUDIO SESSIONS sums me up pretty well I think… it read “one part therapist, one part diplomat, one part inquisitive, one part nonchalant, one part loyal, one part artistic, one part voyeur, one part introspective, one part mind-bender, one part aesthetic, one part organised, one part disorganised, one part collector, one part dark, one part light… many parts tenacious!”

These are the traits that I have found I needed over the years when working in the celebrity world.

Miss Connie Mitchell – Sneaky Sound System

Now that you’ve achieved your dreams, what are your plans for the future? 

I still dream, but I think the older you get your perspectives and desires change – so yeah I guess they morph.  I’m more about maintaining these days rather than getting there, which is a lot of the time – harder!

My passion is now portraiture – I developed as a portraiture specialist in an era when Australia was all about fashion photography – portraiture was really looked upon as the poor cousin.  So, I became passionate about the promoting of the genre wherever and whenever I could, in particularly over the past decade.

Luke Steele – Empire of the Sun

The National Portrait Gallery has been collecting my work now for ten years, having many pieces in their permanent collection. The NPG gave me the honour of holding an exhibition of my work back in 2005 titled Peter Brew-Bevan’s Portraits.  Resulting from this were invitations to speak at the gallery at numerous times over the years discussing the genre and the validity of the photographic portrait.

Leading on from this, I have been asked over the years to also lecture at numerous universities around the country, discussing my career and portraiture work, and again, the validity and importance of the genre.

Jessica Mauboy

Besides ‘never give up’, what advice would you give to someone who’s chasing a career in photography? 

Never give up!  LOL… but seriously – PAY YOUR DUES!!

It’s really important to do this – to learn and proceed with respect to those around you in the industry that have working hard at it for many years.  I find that kids these days just want it all now and in the rush to get it, they are destroying the very industry they wish to work in.

Jonny Ruffo

Do yourselves a favour and check out Peter’s photography at:;; and

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How to be a TV funny man – Sunday Read with Sam Mcmillan (Sam Mac)

A regular on Channel 10′s The Project, the highlight of Australian comedian Sam Mcmillan’s career so far was having Will Ferrell sign his nipple during a LIVE on-air cross, as it’s always good to get his nipple some airtime.

Please explain a bit about your passion and what it means to you?  

My passion is creativity.  I love that my job provides me with an almost daily opportunity to explore the creative part of my brain.  Even if it wasn’t my job, I know I’d still spend the majority of my time writing, performing and sharing ideas.  Plain and simple, it’s what drives me.

Sam Mcmillan

How did you discover your passion?

I discovered my passion while I was very young.  I always played instruments and spent a lot of my childhood making stupid little videos.  I’m now 31 and still making stupid little videos, which means I’m winning at life.

Were you influenced or inspired by anyone in particular?   

I’m constantly inspired.  Personally, I’m inspired by creative people I work with who have amazing talents.  The majority of my inspiration comes from people I don’t know, like Conan O’Brien, Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan and Shaun Micallef.  Note – I have met Shaun and behaved like a One Direction fan.

Sam Trophy

What were the driving forces that pushed you to take it from a hobby to a full-time job?

Passion for the work.  And I don’t even like calling it work, because 90% of the time it’s fun.  At the time, I was I was working in a call centre and studying Psychology at university.

What was the first step you took to get your venture off the ground?

Work experience.  I hassled people until they’d let me sit in and watch.  Then I worked for free for a long time.  I think they eventually started paying me out of guilt.  I was very lucky.  It only took a few months to turn it into an income.  Even if I wasn’t being paid, I’d still be doing it in some form today.

What do you consider to be your lucky break? How long before this came?

SAFM (Radio Station in Adelaide) held a ‘Who wants to be a co-host on air’ competition. I won it.  The prize was a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  At the festival, I reviewed acts for SAFM.  I also interviewed some of the comedians involved in the festival.  It was a great experience!  When I returned, they offered me a job.

Some light reading

Did you push your dream on your own or did you get help through a partnership, mentoring or business advice?

I pushed it on my own, but I was never afraid to hit people up for advice or feedback.  In my experience, there are a lot of great people in the industry and they’re more than willing to help.  Having said that, don’t you dare ever email me!  I’m too busy.  I kid.

Has your passion taken you overseas?

Many times – America, Malaysia, Indonesia, London.  I went in various capacities, generally to broadcast a radio show back to Australia.

Will Ferrell doing the honours on Sam

Tell me about your experience with Will Ferrell?

He was so nice.  What a cool experience!  Probably one of the highlights of my work life.  So much fun.  Happy days!

What do you consider to be your unique qualities that have enabled you to succeed?

Persistence.  Belief in my ability.  Bribe money.

Now that you’ve achieved your dreams, what are your plans for the future?

I haven’t achieved my dreams yet. I’m only getting started.   I want to continue to create and innovate; to produce content I’m proud of.  To host a Tonight Show one day.

Besides ‘never give up’, what advice would you give to someone who’s chasing their dream?

Do it!  Even if you’re not getting paid for it, you can still do it in some form.  Take risks, back yourself, don’t take knock-backs personally.  Everyone, no matter how successful they are, has been rejected at some point.

Except me obviously.  Who would ever reject me?  Seriously.

5 Quick Questions with Sam Mac

Weirdest food ever eaten?  Ice cube sandwich.

Favourite Sports Team?  GWS, just kidding, Manchester United.

Favourite Drink?  Apple Juice.

Favourite Game?  2 in the, 1 in the.

Favourite Celebrity?  Doug Pitt. He has more integrity than his brother. His brother, Brad, has done something like 100 movies, what a sell out!  Doug on the other hand is very selective, and has only done one Virgin Mobile commercial to my knowledge.  He has pride in his work.

Current Projects:

Field Correspondent for The Project (Channel Ten)

YouTube Video Blogger

The video with Will Ferrell can be viewed here


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How to be a TV presenter and producer – with Faye De Lanty

As a former TV presenter on the popular kid’s show, Totally WILD, Faye De Lanty’s passion for storytelling is evident.  Faye has taken her journalism skills and married them with her love of style for her next venture, Fashion Hound, a portal for savvy and sustainable style.

Faye De Lanty

I asked Faye how she began working on Totally WILD and what were her favourite parts of 10 years on the show?

I did work experience at Channel 10 when I was 15 and they needed someone to be in a story because the presenter didn’t want to do it – it was tandem sky diving!  I just wanted to go sky diving for free so I jumped at it – literally!  They then asked me back to do another story while I was still at school and invited me to the end of year conference.

During the conference, I was called into the office and offered a production job – opening mail, answering phones, low wage – again; I jumped at the chance because I knew I wanted to work in TV.  My new boss took me out to meet the team but introduced me as the new presenter!  I looked at her shocked and asked her what just happened?  She said, “That was just a test.  If you were willing to take the shitty job, I knew you were serious – so the good job is yours!”

They waited for me to finish year 12 and then I began full-time with Totally WILD. I was 16.

My favourite part?  Everything!  Working with animals – I’ve swum with sharks, dolphins, elephants, fed giraffes from a cherry picker, bottle-fed tiger cubs and held snakes, scorpions and all sorts of marsupials.

I also loved the fact that I had creative control of my content.  I learnt on the job how to research, write, present, produce, off line – basically this was my training ground for the storytelling ability I possess today.  It has also enabled me to teach – at NIDA, AFTRS and privately.

Totally WILD has been a real blessing!

From Totally WILD I went freelance and worked on other lifestyle shows on Channel 10 and Channel 9 as well as loads of corporate, voice-over and emcee work.  I had a little bit of time off between Totally WILD before I made the transition and began my fashion label Love Chile.  The transition happened organically really.  I just went into it and it was really well received.  I think people could see my passion for it.

Love Chile

Please explain a bit about your passion and what it means to you?

My passion is storytelling through style.  I have worked as a TV presenter and producer all of my life.  Now I am lucky enough to be able to combine that with my intense love affair for style via my website Fashion Hound.  It means so much to me – it’s hard to explain… it’s something that is so intrinsic to me and even if I tried, I could never ignore it.  It’s a huge part of me and it makes me really happy.

Love Chile

How did you discover your passion? 

I have always loved fashion and style – I was surrounded by it from a young age through my parents…it’s in my veins and I have always wanted to ‘marinate’ in it!

My parents gave me my addiction – they were 70’s London fashion and music kids, so a lot of the things that still inspire me today are because of what I picked up by osmosis from my parents.

The glam rock era, 70’s icons and It-girls are so inspiring to me.

I’ve also definitely been influenced in a kick- ass career sense by Kelly Cutrone is amazing – she’s such a slayer and I’m also really inspired by Barbara Hulanicki - the woman behind cult 60/70’s London store BIBA.

That place was beyond and My Mumma was actually a BIBA girl.

Love Chile

What were the driving forces that pushed you to take it from a hobby to a full-time job? 

The desire to live it and breathe it just never went away so a few years back I knew I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

I am very competitive with myself so I kept on my own case, but I read a lot about people doing great things and creative people that I looked up to as well.

What was the first step you took to get your venture off the ground? 

I started a fashion label called Love Chile. 

I created a small range of organic tees with inspirational quotes told through 70’s rock’n’roll and spirituality.  From there I did a big charity fashion show for the Butterfly Foundation – this was a huge success and we raised lots of money.

Love Chile was about inspiring women to love and believe in themselves, and was born out of a time in my life when I didn’t.  Fashion is a great way to speak without words so it made sense to tell the story through pretty things!  I infiltrated my influences of the glam rock era, the American Indian Culture, art deco and nouveau as well as spirituality (in particular angels!) and made pieces that were very unique, sexy and fun.

Love Chile

I started with a range of organic inspirational rock tees and handmade headbands – then I did a full collection with jackets, blouses, dresses and customised vintage.

The fabrics were organic and natural.  The collection was called the Night of the Butterfly (based on the Love Chile of a 70’s rock star and an American Indian butterfly maiden spirit!) and was also a Fashion Fundraiser for the Butterfly Foundation.

I hired the park in Potts Point next to the fountain and turned the tree in the middle into magic – we filled it with lights, flowers, butterflies and feathers and the models walked on a grass catwalk that I had brought in.

We played Led Zeppelin loud and the first two models (one my sister) walked out in just little knickers and giant feathered headdresses that I made!  The event was a huge success, and it was the coolest thing seeing your vision right there before you!

Night of the Butterfly show

Did you seek financial assistance at the start-up phase? 

No I funded Love Chile on my own.  I continued working in media as a freelancer and I still do.

What do you consider to be your lucky break? 

I think I have had a lot of cool things happen so far.  The label received a great amount of press – my tees sold out and my new venture, Fashion Hound, is starting to gain traction, things are looking great there, too!

Night of the Butterfly show

Tell me about how Fashion Hound began and its style?

The desire to explore more of my creativity became even stronger after my experience with Love Chile, so from there I began heading out with my camera to shoot style stories.  It was then that Fashion Hound was born.  Fashion Hound is about recycling, re-using and reinventing fashion but always keeping it chic and sexy!

Years of working on an environmental kid’s show and having an awareness of the world and how we treat it has always been a part of my consciousness, so it just made sense that Fashion Hound would have a more conscious angle to it.

Fashion Hound explores my personal style while showing readers how to create a similar aesthetic for themselves.  I profile vintage and retro style destinations, labels and people doing cool eco or conscious things, DIY, glossy pics, fun style videos and written content.  Eventually I would like Fashion Hound to be the eco version of a with a similar kind of vibe.

Has your passion taken you overseas? 

I have lived overseas for the last 10 months – NYC and London and I will be going back to live in NYC in six months.  I shot a lot of content for my site over there and got really clear on my vision.  I made some great contacts so that when I go back to NYC I can really hit the ground running.  I would like to be based in NYC working on Fashion Hound full time.

What do you consider to be your unique qualities that have enabled you to succeed?

My skill set and storytelling ability – the fact that I can write, present, produce, shoot and edit.  I also have a unique eye for style – I have a knack of putting things together that tell their own unique story.  I’m not massively into trends.  I prefer honouring the styles that really resonate with me and I like to be creative in my own original way.

Faye loves clashing prints

Now that you’ve achieved your dreams, what are your plans for the future? 

Definitely live and work full time on Fashion Hound in NYC.  I would love to collaborate (style, write for and speak) with eco‑friendly labels and work with animal charities.  I would also love to launch another label via Fashion Hound that has a sustainable ethos.

Fashion Hound find – 1930s vintage camera

Besides ‘never give up’, what advice would you give to someone who’s chasing their dream? 

Know that nothing worth having is easy and that there will be days that you will wonder what the hell you are doing and if this is ever going to work!  Keep swimming and be prepared to work super hard!

Also, don’t compare yourself to others – that can really render you powerless to continue or to even start.  There is a place for everyone, just keep your blinkers on and stay in the game.

Fight, fight, fight and it will come to fruition.


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How to be a floral designer – with James Woodley and Dean Lindsay

Floral designers James Woodley and Dean Lindsay stumbled across their passion quite by accident and haven’t looked back since.  Their business, Sticks and Wicks Floral Design specialises in corporate & residential arrangements, weddings, events and gifts.  Here’s their story…

Dean and James

I asked Dean about how he and James discovered their passion for flowers and design?

We have always had a passion for beautiful things, and are influeneced by all creative people in general.  Floral design is something we both discovered late in life when I turned 40 and James was 38!

What were the driving forces that pushed you to take it to a full-time career? 

The original plan was for me to do a floristry course and to have a shop and sell flowers and James would continue doing styling.  That totally didn’t happen.  It is a very different picture now.  At the time we made the decision to go for it, I was working in corporate events and James was working at channel 7 as a stylist (dressing all the talent).

What was the first step you took to get your shop off the ground?

We found a little pop up shop in Surry Hills that was going to be pulled down in three months, so the plan was to rent it at $200 per week, just to sell buckets of fresh flowers to save enough money for me to do my floristry course.

We opened it for three days a week.  We didn’t have any financial assistance.  We just used some savings to purchase stock.

What do you consider to be your lucky break?  How long before this came?

We continued selling buckets of flowers, but then there was one day where a customer asked for an arrangement for his wife.  I always remember saying, “Sure!” even though I had never done it before.  The look on James’s face was “How are you going to do that?”  I took myself out the back to the kitchenette (the shop was only 20sqm) and gave it a go.

I was in there for about 20 minutes trying to create and James was keeping the gentleman occupied, then I was done.  James always tells this story best, but as he would say, “Dean came out with this amazing arrangement that was incredible”.

James was so excited that he ran two blocks home to get the camera.  The poor guy waiting didn’t know what was going on.

And that’s how it started!  I began to make more designs for people and then we had people approach us about their events and weddings, and we picked up a couple of weekly corporate clients and our clientele just built from there.  All of our business has come through word of mouth.


Did you push your dream on your own or did you get help through a partnership, mentoring or business advice? 

James and I have been together for eight years now and have always supported each other with anything we wanted to do.  We love working together and spend a lot of time together (average 15 hours a day).  People ask us how we do this and we say it just works.

We both bring very different things to the business – I do the flowers and James does all the styling.  We just feed off each other when we are going through the creative process for an event or a wedding.

We have a great deal of respect and trust and can’t imagine it any other way.  This whole journey has been an incredible ride.


How long was the transition period from the beginning of your venture to earning income? 

I would say about six months.  We both kept our jobs and juggled the hours – 3.30am starts off to the markets, back with the flowers then off to work by 7.30am then home at 6pm – long hours but worth it.


How long before you hit the big time and able to make a substantial living from your passion?

We are still working towards that but we are in a great position compared to when we started.  It only took six months and we had to both give up our jobs to take this on full-time.  I ended up not doing the floristry course as a wise old gentleman who saw our work said, “no one can train to create the designs you are making – it is a gift and you need to run with it”.  Those words have stuck with me to this day.

We have just employed our first two staff – a personal assistant to look after our day-to-day runnings and someone to handle accounts.  This has made a huge difference as it allows us to focus on the creative side of the business.

Corporate and Residential

Has your passion taken you overseas? 

It’s funny that you asked this as we are in the process of doing something for the USA market.  I’m not allowed to give away too much, but it is a very exciting opportunity.  I will keep you posted.

What do you consider to be your unique qualities that have enabled you to succeed?

We believe that we have found a real niche in the industry.  Our work isn’t the kind you’d find in your stock standard florist.

We customise all of our designs for the client and take an artistic approach to our work. We find that the clients we attract are looking for something different and unique.  We are also big believers in the service you deliver and we have built some amazing relationships with our clients and these have to be maintained.  Our clients are our advertising team.  They are the people that talk about you the most.


Now that you’ve achieved your dreams, what are your plans for the future?   

This business is totally different to when we started.  It is an incredible ride that we are on and it has gone through such rapid growth, and our client base is so broad.  We look after five of the biggest blue chip companies in Sydney; our wedding and event side is growing so quickly and we are on the verge of something big overseas.

We are still very humble and grateful about all of this and remain very grounded and focused on not letting it get out of hand.  You see, too many businesses let this go to their heads and before you know it, they are closing their doors.  Too big too quick!


Obviously you are extremely fortunate to be making a living from your passion, but do you ‘pay it forward’ in any way?

All the time.  We give leftover flowers to the women’s shelters and always support charities.  We have also sponsored some major events around Sydney.

Besides ‘never give up’, what advice would you give to someone who’s looking for a career in floristry?

Stay focused and trust your gut.  If you have an idea, make sure you follow it through.

It may not eventuate but at least you have explored the possibility.

We are also great believers in the universal law where everything that we have, we put it out there and it has come back our way.

Wedding Bouquets

Anything that doesn’t work out is just a lesson in life…take that lesson and learn from it.  This will put you on the right path to success.

You can visit James and Dean at the Sticks and Wicks Showroom, 381 Riley Street, Sydney.

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