Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, it’s likely you’ve shopped or eaten at, or at least heard of one of the many businesses run by Ben and Nick Chiu.
The two brothers, aged 28 and 32 respectively, are Brisbane-born and -raised. It all started 10 years ago, when Nick returned from an overseas trip with the inspiration to create a tiny streetwear boutique called Apartment.
“A six-month stint in New York during university was enough time for the streetwear bug to bite,” says Ben.
“I was only 18; we’d both been working in retail and knew it was the next move for us.”
The boys are constantly inspired by their travels, with Tokyo playing a special part – they refer to it as “a city full of endless stimulation”. But Ben and Nick are also motivated by the people around them. “Our circle is full of inspiring individuals and movements that span food, music, art and fashion,” says Nick.
Being immersed in such multifaceted creativity, the boys were compelled to begin hosting music pop-up parties under A Love Supreme in 2012. In the past four years, the concept has grown: regular parties are now hosted around the city, showcasing local and international acts such as Maurice Fulton, Greg Wilson and more recently, Floating Points. Ben and Nick have also launched their very own record store in Winn Lane – it’s a simple space, selling all kinds of vinyl from jazz to hip hop, techno and beyond.
“The ability of music to bring people together is something we've come to be very passionate about,” says Ben.
2014 saw the pair try their hand at hospitality and open their first food venture, Ben’s Burgers.
“With the store and the music events, we felt the only thing missing was a local hang to just chill out,” says Nick.
“We felt we had a strong idea and we were creating something that was kind of necessary in Brisbane. At the time there weren't really any other burger joints around.”
Their most recent venture, The Bleachers in West End, is an extension of the Ben’s Burgers concept but in an “even bigger space in an area that already has a great sense of community.” Here you’ll find American-style burgers, fried chicken, local beers and soft serve ice-cream.
Ben and Nick share a warm and humble demeanour, largely attributing their success to “luck and good timing”.
But, according to Nick, it’s not just about creating trendy, successful venues: it’s the people they meet along the way that make it most gratifying.
“When someone comes through and really feels the same, like it's made their quality of life better, even just for a moment, that's the best.”