Our Fave Brisbane Women Talk To Us About The Best Of 2017

Our Fave Brisbane Women Talk To Us About The Best Of 2017

We catch up with three of Brisbane’s fave ladies to see what they got up to in 2017.

By Sarah Tayler | 9th January 2018

Brisbane is a city packed full of inspiring women from all walks of life. From industry leaders to entrepreneurs, proud mums, and soon-to-be-weds, everyone has something they can look back on throughout the year and be proud of. We catch up with three of Brisbane’s fave ladies to find out what they got up to, and what they have in store for 2018.

Jess Kent

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It was a huge year for Jess and her new fiancé, Brisbane Broncos player Jordan Kahu. From getting engaged back home in New Zealand to the arrival of a new member of the family, and her exciting plans to start writing a blog in 2018.

You recently got engaged, can you tell us a bit about how it happened?

We were in Queenstown enjoying a kid-free weekend when Jordan proposed. We had lunch at Amisfield Winery, then went for a walk through the vineyards afterwards to fly our drone. I just thought we were there getting footage for Jordan’s VLOG that he was working on. We were filming and I turned around to him down on one knee in amongst the vines! It was so perfect and so us. I had no idea it was coming which made it even more exciting! Jordan only decided the week prior to our holiday that he wanted to propose so he was extremely lucky to be able to borrow a ring from our jeweller to propose with. Once we were back in Brisbane we chose a diamond and designed my ring together, which I think made it even more special.

What has your best engagement present been so far?

It isn’t a present but the best ‘gift’ I received was actually a personalised card from one of my best friends all the way from London. She had it made for us with a picture of us on the front just after we were engaged. I was blown away when I received it as it’s such a thoughtful, personal gift.

Have you set a date or picked a venue for the wedding yet?

We haven’t set an exact date but we are thinking 2019. We will definitely get married in New Zealand, either in Queenstown or on Waiheke Island. I have been eyeing up a venue called Mudbrick on Waiheke, it is stunning!

What is the best part of your day now you are a mum of two?

I really enjoy breakfast time with my two babies. We all sit around the dining table and eat together in the morning. It gives me a chance to actually eat something and drink my coffee, it’s also really nice to see them interacting with each other. I feel extremely lucky that I am able to stay at home with them so I try to enjoy every single day, even if I am feeling tired or overwhelmed.

What is your favourite new cafe/bar/restaurant that opened in Brisbane in 2017?

My new favourite cafe is Greenhaus Coffee in Teneriffe. They are the team behind Botanica so the food is mouth-watering! The coffee is primo and the interiors are seriously dreamy. What more could you ask for?

Can you tell us a bit about your new blog?

I’ve been wanting to start blogging for quite a few years now. Recently I sat down and brainstormed what I wanted my blog to represent. As my following on Instagram has grown I’ve received messages in regards to quotes I’ve posted etc. I decided I wanted my blog to focus on self-love. It’s something I’ve been focusing on myself since having Jayla. I love how positive words can have such an impact on someone. That’s what I want my blog to be about. A place where women can seek advice, inspiration and positive vibes. I’m also going to touch on family life, friendships, love and beauty. Ultimately it’s a space for me to project my thoughts out into the world. If people enjoy that and get something out of it then it’s a win-win.

What is the best thing that happened to you last year?

Definitely having our baby boy, Jude. We didn't know we were having a boy so it was the best surprise! He has been the perfect addition to our little family.

What does 2018 have in store?

Jordan and I have some exciting goals that we are working towards outside of parenting and footy life. Aside from that, I think it will be filled with travel, footy, wedding planning and as much family time as possible.

Penny Wolff

One half of the incredible pair behind the Wolff Coffee empire, a huge advocate for social enterprise and champion of sustainability, Penny Wolff, tells us a bit about what goes on behind the scenes, from family to festivals.

How did you meet your husband Peter and how long have you been married?

Peter and I first crossed paths in 1995 when I worked part-time as a Barista at Aromas while studying at University. Peter was my boss at the time and trained me when I competed in the Australian Barista Competition which I won that year. He was the ultimate coffee connoisseur and insisted I always make his coffee! Which makes me laugh now. He moved to Melbourne not long after that, we reconnected again when he moved back to Brisbane in 2008, married in 2011 and have been living the dream ever since. We actually just renewed our vows in Las Vegas this December as part of Pete's 50th Birthday celebrations. We have achieved so much together.

How do you find working as a husband and wife team?

Peter and I love working together, collaboratively we have built three strong brands, Wolff Coffee Roasters, Dandelion & Driftwood and Queen of Pops. Peter heads up all wholesale and I look after all our retail. This works well as our visions are aligned yet we can creatively work our magic in different departments. We are so grateful to have each other.

What do you most enjoy about owning your own business?

So many things, but foremost would be creative freedom, having a vision and seeing it all come together. Plus making a difference to other peoples lives whether staff or customers; being able to offer positive memorable experiences, educate, train and bring happiness to others.

How many coffee establishments do you have now?

We own and run three of our own retail coffee outlets. Dandelion & Driftwood Cafe, Queen of Pops Cafe and roaming Popcart and Big Bad Wolff Wolff Espresso Bar. We also supply over 100 cafes and restaurants in Australia and New Zealand. We also have a coffee education business called Wolff College of Coffee educating on all things coffee. We are also the agents for Probat Coffee Roasters, supplying coffee roasters in Australia and New Zealand.

We know you shouldn’t have a favourite, but if you had to pick which one would it be?

Dandelion & Driftwood. This business was and still is super detailed, cutting edge in what we achieve in such a tiny little space.  It is yin and yang and brings a little bit of sparkle to everyone's day.

Can you tell us some more about where you source your beans from and the farmers you work with overseas?

Producing an exceptional cup of coffee means firstly sourcing our beans from awesome producers. We deliberately seek out innovators in their respective countries to partner with.

We have created strong coffee connections with producers from Kenya, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Brazil, Hawaii, Costa Rica and Ethiopia and we are looking to develop programs in Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and Colombia.

We are "Proud of our Producers" and in 2017 we had three "Farmer in Residence": Boyce Harries of Chania Estate from Kenya; Edwin Martinez of Finca Vista Hermosa from Guatemala; and Alejo Castro of Volcan Azul from Costa Rica. Our vision is to create strong coffee connections with our farmers.

Why is sustainability important to Wolff Coffee?

Giving back is the way. Providing and improving basic human needs is very important to our business. Assisting with better farming practices and being conscious of our social responsibility and environmental impact is paramount.

For all the farmers we work with we offer unique opportunities to improve quality of life and basic needs of people surrounding these coffee farms. As an educator I wanted to do this by connecting with local schools. For example, in Kenya, we provided additional water tanks to Makawa Primary School to ensure the students have access to clean drinking water. In Costa Rica, we are about to provide individual packs full of resources for all students at San Francisco Primary School to use throughout their school year.

What is the best thing that happened to you last year?

So many great things. Top three would have to be: visiting Kenya with my family and spending time with our Kenyan producer and his family. Plus spending time at the local school, giving back is personally very important to me; my daughter Xanthe receiving School Captain at St Margaret's for this coming year, she is so hardworking, diligent and a pleasure to parent; and creating and executing the first Specialty Coffee Festival in Brisbane which was a great success.

What is on the horizon for 2018?

2018 will be about continuing to have an attitude of gratitude. We are thankful to the people in our business and to our loyal customers who support our businesses. We will also continue to build on the foundations of our three brands and raise a culture of coffee professionals that live what they do.

At Wolff Coffee Roasters, there will be more producer visits, Luiz Saldanha of Capricornio Coffee from Brazil will be visiting Australia in March. We will be fine tuning our course curriculum to offer more diverse coffee courses in the future years. D&D will continue to shine bright as we look to expand this brand and Queen of Pops will be popping up with some new crazy flavours.

Rebecca Hall

Brisbane born and bred, Rebecca Hall is not only a very accomplished dancer in her own right, but now also successful business owner paving the way for young dancers in Australia to have a happier, healthier future.

How did you come to start Method X?

‘Method X’ sparked a long time ago for me as a young injured dancer, I just didn't know exactly how it would come to life. Last year I resigned from professional dancing with Expressions Dance Company and was ready to start my journey creating my own company where I could specialise in strength and conditioning for dancers. I believe a dancer is an athlete and needs to start being treated as one. Hence, the creation of Method X. I wanted a strong name that reflects the potential for me to also establish my own method of movement training for dancers.

What has been the highlight so far of opening your own business?

I think the greatest highlight for me this year as a businesswoman would have to be having the ability to provide and facilitate more opportunities for young dancers in Queensland and abroad. Having the capacity to empower young people and support young athletes is why I have founded Method X.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I have never worked a day in my life! I absolutely love what I do; to have danced professionally and now to work in the fitness industry with dancers is just amazing.

Tell us a bit about your family and home life.

We are a very close family, Mum and Dad have been my biggest role models and support my entire life. They have run their own company for over 30 years so I think owning my own business always felt like the right thing to do. I have two younger sisters who now help me out in my office, which is amazing as it is hard to find people to trust with your own creation. They are both working and studying too. I would go as far as saying we are unique and what we carry as a family is far and few between, I am grateful every day to have them.

How do you make sure you have a good work/life balance?

Work/ life balance!! Hmmm… still struggling with this one after only 12 months in business! 18 hour days are hard but it is definitely worth it. I know the first few years will end in sleepless nights but without my boyfriend, Shane, to keep me grounded I wouldn’t be this successful so quickly. I love going out to a beautiful restaurant, going to the beach, catching up with friends or just curling up on the couch watching a movie. But the best thing to help me switch off (it sounds crazy I know!) is actually a hard training session or dance class in my studio!

What is the best thing that happened to you last year?

The best thing that has happened to me this year is becoming successful as a self-made businesswoman who is able to fuse everything I love into one. I also think making the transition from being a professional dancer into Method X has been incredible; I feel content and so happy with every aspect of my life now.

What are your goals for 2018?

I will be launching a Method X dance studio attached to the gym in January 2018. Lots of exciting adventures are about to take place, however, my number one goal is to continue to create a community of athletes that feel safe and nurtured.

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Article by Sarah Tayler

Sarah Tayler is the Sub Editor at Style Magazines. With a penchant for parmies, pinot gris and all things outdoors, Sarah can often be found hiking, biking or frolicking in the ocean. She loves exploring and has a terrible habit of booking international flights after a few too many vinos, much to her husband's despair.


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