Marissa Bowden and Sarah Schoeller have been announced as the joint recipients of Griffith Business School’s Outstanding Entrepreneurial Alumnus Award at the School’s annual Gala Dinner.
The news of their win couldn’t have come at a better time either, with the pair celebrating an important milestone in their business lives as the founders of The Village Markets in Burleigh.
“It really is such an honour receiving this award especially after we just celebrated 10 years in business last month,” former Bachelor of Business student Sarah says. “Running your own business certainly is hard work and it’s moments like this that make it really worthwhile.”
Marissa, also a Bachelor of Business graduate, is similarly thrilled with their win. “We are so grateful to Griffith University for recognising our achievements.”
Sarah and Marissa were also finalists in the Cosmopolitan Women of the Year competition in 2017.
Outstanding Entrepreneurial Alumnus Award recognises exceptional success in the areas of start-ups or other entrepreneurial ventures, significant contribution to industry and the profession, and contribution to the community.
And The Village Markets definitely embodies all of that. It’s an iconic boutique market and community for creative entrepreneurs held at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, with a second location to be launched at Stones Corner in Brisbane in December. The event showcases a carefully curated line up of 100 fashion, vintage, art, and homewares designers; food stalls; a monthly pre-loved designer and vintage rack sale; and live music in a relaxed outdoor setting. The thriving event has provided a launch platform for more than 200 emerging creative and continues to go from strength to strength.
The idea came to them when they were struggling during the Global Financial Crisis, with Marissa and Sarah joining together to develop a business plan for the markets. “Marissa and I believed the Gold Coast lacked a cultural event that catered for all ages and we longed to bring together the creative community,” Sarah explains. “Having visited markets in London, Melbourne and Sydney, we created The Village Markets as a unique boutique market that showcased a curated selection of stalls, great food and amazing live local music.
“We then pitched it to interested parties and kicked off in October 2008,” she says.
Their creative idea blossomed and is now a Gold Coast institution, helping to foster the careers of other designers and artists. Sarah says a number of their early stallholders that launched at the markets have become huge successes in their own rights. They hope to replicate the same success when their markets launch in Stones Corner, Brisbane, later this year.