Sarah Schoeller and Marissa Bowden Support Local Creatives with Their Event – The Village Markets

The Village Markets (TVM) on Queensland’s Golden Coast has been wowing locals and those from afar since 2008.

Making their debut on MySpace, the fortnightly event is now a popular attraction for those seeking their Sunday fix of good vibes, good food, new threads and a market stroll.

NM27771 Sarah Schoeller and Marissa Bowden Support Local Creatives with Their Event - The Village Markets
Photo – Sarah Schoeller and Marissa Bowden captured by Natalie McComas

Not just any market, founders Sarah Schoeller and Marissa Bowden define The Village Markets as a ‘collaborative, creative community of small businesses, designers, artists, creatives, foodies, musicians, culture seekers and lovers of good vibes’.

Sarah and Marissa, both graduated from University with Business degrees, and had been working as marketing executives in the corporate world before the birth of The Village Markets.

In 2008, when the Global Financial Crisis hit Australia, Sarah and Marissa were made redundant from the finance company they were working for.

After noting local talk on the lack of cultural events and opportunities for creatives on the Gold Coast, this entrepreneurial pair saw a gap in the market calling their names.

Having both previously worked for various companies that specialised in marketing and events, Sarah and Marissa took it upon themselves to introduce the in demand creative hub for local artisans to showcase their work.

In October 2008, a humble event of just nine fashion, vintage and art stalls sparked the inauguration of The Village Markets.

“From there, The Village Markets was born,” said Marissa.

From humble beginnings, The Village Markets have been subject to the challenges that most businesses battle in the beginning – red tape and working with local councils.

Though their business journey on the Gold Coast has been nothing short of a dream, as Sarah and Marissa tell AUZi of the most rewarding part of running The Village Markets.

“It has not only been watching its integral part in the cultural shift on the Gold Coast and seeing how much people look forward to visiting the event, but at the forefront, the opportunity it has brought to so many small creative businesses to launch and retail their products, collaborate with others and grow their brands. We’ve really created such a positive, collaborative community at TVM.”

AUZi have truly admired Sarah and Marissa’s dedication to their local creatives.

Rightly so, in 2017 the pair were recognised for their achievements in business as finalists in Cosmopolitan Magazines Women of the Year Awards in the Entrepreneur of the Year category.

Sarah and Marissa’s continued success and support of local business perfectly illustrates why creatives should dive straight in and pursue their dreams today.

AUZi have even asked Sarah and Marissa for some words of wisdom to get you started!

“Yes, for sure – take the plunge! Go for it, our community will welcome you with open arms and we’re always on the lookout for new talent at TVM. We accept new stallholders every week.”

The Village Markets are happy to help budding creatives and business’s seeking to begin their market presence. Head to their website to peruse their ‘How To’ series, or download a copy of their business eBook on how to launch your start-up.

Event – The Village Markets

Venue: Burleigh Heads State School
When: The first and third Sunday of every month, 8:30am – 1pm

John and Kristine serve market fresh bite sized donut nostalgia across Sydney with their market stall Diego’s Donuts

Diego’s Donuts, a.k.a. the cinnamon donut lords have earned themselves quite the reputation across Sydney.

image1 John and Kristine serve market fresh bite sized donut nostalgia across Sydney with their market stall Diego's Donuts
Photo – Diego’s Donuts at Sydney Harbour

John and Kristine Encomienda discovered their love for donuts while traveling and allowed that love to flourish on their return to Australia.

“Being overseas and loving the donuts there inspired us to bring it to Sydney,” said John.

The idea was born in Seattle when the couple came across a mini donut stall at a market they attended.

John and Kristine have always wanted to start a business, and this concept was something they loved.

“However, life happened and before you know it a few years passed, we were in New York and came across another mini donut stall at the markets,” said John.

image4 John and Kristine serve market fresh bite sized donut nostalgia across Sydney with their market stall Diego's Donuts
Photo – John and Kristine

“It reminded us of the idea that we once had to open up our own business and so as soon as we got back home we started to put our ideas to paper and set out to make it a reality.”

This family start up have even included their beloved family dog in their venture.

Their very cute, donut loving fur baby Diego was gifted with the namesake of their donut stall – could this be any cuter!

image3 John and Kristine serve market fresh bite sized donut nostalgia across Sydney with their market stall Diego's Donuts
Photo – The famous Diego

This donut loving trios stall have quickly become a favourite at markets, food festivals and outdoor events.

“It was a coincidence, and some would say perfect timing, that donuts started to become a food trend when we launched our business – it was lucky for us for sure!” said John.

“We’re happy to ride the wave but know we’re more than just a food trend and our business can last the distance.”

They have certainly gone the distance, by taking their menu items to the next level with customers enjoying market fresh donuts with variety.

The menu includes ‘Diego’s Dozen’ which is quite literally – a dozen of their original cinnamon donuts.

Customers can also enjoy American-style powdered donuts, and a choice from their loaded topping range.

The chef’s choice goes to the Nutella n’ Berries and has proved its title by becoming one of the most popular menu items, because after all who doesn’t love Nutella?

image2 John and Kristine serve market fresh bite sized donut nostalgia across Sydney with their market stall Diego's Donuts
Photo – Nutella n’ Berries

The Diego’s Donuts team have had a ball meeting other stall holders that foster a likeminded passion for food and business.

“It’s such a supportive tight-knit community, we have made lifelong friends for sure,” John said.

“And of course you always get a buzz when customers come back for more, and say it’s the best donuts they’ve ever tasted, or you see your donuts on Insta!”

Though like any industry, the donut stall business has its ups and downs.

“But don’t give up – you’ll have good days and bad days, working in this industry nothing is guaranteed and it’s the risk you take but if you’re passionate about what you do and believe in your product then keep going,” said John.

“Definitely do your product research, also on the events and markets you want to be a part of.

“Choose something that you’re passionate about and that you can get creative with so there’s always something your customers can look forward to.”

With those words of wisdom, we hope Diego’s Donuts can be as much of an inspiration to you as they have been to us!

You can catch Diego’s Donuts popping up all over Sydney and occasionally south at Wollongong and Shellharbour, and north at the Central Coast and Newcastle.

Follow @diegos_donuts on Instagram to be sure that you don’t miss out on a White Chocolate & Oreo crumb, cinnamon, or Nutella n’ berries donut, or all three – we won’t judge!


Eight low budget marketing ideas for small business

Most small businesses aren’t in the position to facilitate a large marketing budget. Though this doesn’t mean that no marketing efforts should be made. In this digital era, business owners are presented with plenty of marketing opportunities that suit any small budget. Here are some marketing ideas for small businesses not wanting to break the bank.


These guys proudly self-title themselves the ‘front page of the internet’. This marketing tool allows you to directly access your target market. By using sub-categories, you will be able to market your product or service by creating content that is placed right in front of your ideal customer.

Utilize social media platforms

Mark Zuckerberg didn’t bless us with free marketing platforms for no reason! Social media is the largest and most effective marketing tool used today. Utilize their potential in every way possible. Create business accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest, and fill them with alluring content to attract your target audience.


Many customers are suckers for aesthetic imagery that market your business. An infographic is easy to digest and can easily be shared across social media to drive leads. Approaching a graphic designer may become quite expensive. However, websites like Fiverr give you access to freelances that are able to develop innovative graphics on the cheap. Though if you are the creative type, why not have a shot at doing it yourself on applications like Canva.

TEXT-1 Eight low budget marketing ideas for small business
Image – Infographic used by AUZi

Recycle content

If you run a blog and don’t have the budget to be investing in new written content, recycle what you have already paid for! Take an old blog post, update some of its content if needed, add more where you see fit, change the title and wallah – repost!

Begin a customer referral program

Your customers are your best friends! Although marketing efforts can drive sales, positive word of mouth can double your audience quickly. When existing customers refer a friend, reward them with a period of free service, discounts or any incentive that reminds your customer that they are special!


Social media allows you to open real time discussion boards with your customers. Thus, mini competitions can be easily done in a day while simultaneously driving up your brand awareness. Competitions that require people to like your page and tag a friend to receive an entry into winning a 20% discount cost very little, but make a big difference to your brand awareness!

image1-64 Eight low budget marketing ideas for small business
Image – A past competition run by AUZi

Share the love with balloons

What? Yes, you read right! Children love balloons and lets be real so do us adults! For this marketing tactic, all you have to do is buy a cheap helium tank from Big W, get your logo printed on some balloons and hand them out at events. What better way to drive brand awareness than having a crowd of people with your logo bopping up and down above their heads!

Get involved in community events

Supporting events in your community offers a plethora of opportunities to market your business. This can be done by simply contributing to a local contest. If there is a prize up for grabs at your local market or event, donate one of your products or vouchers for a free service to be included in the prize package.

Six ways to improve your market stall presentation

blush Six ways to improve your market stall presentation
Photo – Blush & Co.

Ensuring that your market stall is eye pleasing is more important than many think. Remember, if your stall doesn’t turn heads, it won’t attract the sales you need. Considering this, your stall presentation is a make or break situation. Though we know not everyone carries a creative flare. Here are some easy tips you can follow to improve your market stalls appearance.

Give your stall a pop of colour

Though don’t go overboard, too much going on can be an eyesore! Instead, choose a theme of one or two colours that go well together. For instance, if a majority of your products are the same colour like tan coloured wood, you could choose a pastel blue and red for your stalls trimmings. On the contrary, if your products are vastly different colours, do the opposite and choose a neutral colour for your stalls trimmings.

Don’t overdo your product display

There is no need to have 10 of the exact same product out, all it does is make the space look over cluttered. Display each of your products, but only a couple. If you’re displaying a large number to simply fill a large stall, then it’s time to downsize your market stall space.

Set up a demo of your product

It’s important for customers to get a grasp of your product before purchasing. You can show them a demo in many ways. This can be done by offering samples, displaying the product in use, or wearing the clothes you sell.

Be Unique

You may not be the only candle stall at the market, but you can differentiate yourself. When planning your display, product packaging, or price packaging, consider what your competitor is doing. If you are unique, customers will remember you, spread the word, and drop in for a visit at your next market.


Since you are running the stall, you are the first point of contact that customers have with your business. So, don’t forget to put on a smile and welcoming vibes. A stall holder that sits on their fold out chair, looking bored scrolling through their Facebook feed will ruin all the hard work put into making the stall look presentable.

Balance your display

When considering how to display your products, spread them equally across eye level, above eye level and below eye level. This will make your stall look impeccably neat and easily navigated when browsing products.

How to consider the environment when designing your market stall and products

Australia is becoming more and more environmentally considerate, and rightly so. In Australia, we are lucky to live in such a beautiful and clean country. Though it won’t stay that way unless our growing population continues their effort in sustaining the environment.

enviro How to consider the environment when designing your market stall and products
Photo – Sow ‘n Sow’s eco-friendly products sold at the Earth Eden Co. market stall

As a stallholder, you will leave your footprint at every market you attend, and every home your products end up in. It’s up to you whether that footprint is positive or not.

Giving back to the environment and playing your part in looking after Australia is a wonderful feeling. We all want to keep Australia beautiful, and continue to live in our healthy corner of the world. Here are some steps you can take to ‘go green’, and ensure your footprint is a positive one.

Consider your materials

When you design your products, you must consider the environmental impacts of the whole life cycle of the materials involved. This is called eco-design. Developing an eco-design not only helps the environment, but it also has the potential to reduce costs in the long run. Remember, everything that is involved in your entire design process, including the manufacturing, selling, consuming and afterlife will end up somewhere. It doesn’t simply disappear. The fate of synthetic fibres will ultimately be our serene beaches. Therefore, limit your waste, and opt for ingredients or materials that have a low impact, can be recycled, or have a long life.

enviro1-1 How to consider the environment when designing your market stall and products
Photo – Grumpy Turtle Design

Consider the entire design process

It’s not only the materials you use that end up in landfill and waterways, it’s also the result of what is involved in your process. Consider the energy efficiency of your production, and opt to use recyclable paper products as much as possible (save the trees!). Say a big fat no to plastics and utilize reusable containers and packaging rather than a silly one time use alternative. Make an effort to minimise transport in the process of concept to delivery.

Consider your display 

This is simply another checklist as with your materials and design process. Are all elements of your display reusable, sustainable and eco-friendly? Be resourceful and try to make do with what you already have, rather than scoping out a new stall for every event. Think ahead and create a stall that is versatile to be adapted to every market space, so that it doesn’t end up in landfill. Embrace your creative side!

enviro-3 How to consider the environment when designing your market stall and products
Photo – Earth Eden Co.

Consider your suppliers

Buy local so you can become familiar with their processes. This way you confirm that your suppliers are adopting these same practices. When you support suppliers that also have a positive footprint, you’re another step forward to an entirely eco-friendly production process.

Six things to do in Brisbane this weekend

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, we have you sorted! Australia’s river city is bursting with exciting events this weekend, and we’re here to give you the run down on where it’s at. Join us in attendance of the most epic three days to come!

up-on-constance Six things to do in Brisbane this weekend
Photo – Up On Constance

World’s Biggest Warehouse Sale

Ladies and Gentlemen! Gone are the days where crazy cheap warehouse sales are soley reserved for women’s clothing stores. These guys are here to make sure everyone snatches up a bargain. Over the last two years, Coles have kindly been donating over 30 pallets of unused stock for these sales. Now, Coles have inspired over 10 companies to follow suit. The profits made from the sale go towards local Queensland charities. Get down and grab yourself a bargain!

Venue: Warehouse 3, 400 Nudgee Road, Nudgee
When: 28th – 29th April from 8am
Entry: $2

For more information click here.

Festival of Tibet

This weekend you will be treated to a cultural taste of beautiful Tibet. The festival will explore themes of compassion, conflict, occupation, love, peace, migration, environmental justice and human rights. Event organisers have achieved this through culturally significant workshops and demonstrations, such as Mantra Mani stone painting, Sand Mandalas and ‘The Story Of US.’

festival-of-tibet Six things to do in Brisbane this weekend

Venue: Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm
When: 27th – 29th April
Entry: Free

For more information click here.

Eats & Beats

Logan City are shaping up to Eat Streets vibes with this urban food truck and pop-music event. There will be endless eats on the menu which are sure to satisfy any craving. Who doesn’t love good food, good music, and good vibes?

Venue: Kingston Butter Factory, Milky Way, Kingston
When: 27th April 5pm – 9pm
Entry: Free

For more information click here.

Festival of Chariots

The Festival of Chariots celebrates culture, community, and spirituality. It originated 5,000 years ago in India on the East Coast of Orissa, in a city called Jagannath Puri. The festival involves taking the deities on hand-drawn chariots through the streets. The crowd will gather at King George Square to pull the chariot through the streets at 11:30am.

festival-of-chariots Six things to do in Brisbane this weekend

Venue: The parade leaves King George Square at 11:30am. The festival will continue in the square from 12:30pm – 4pm
When: 28th April
Entry: Free

For more information click here.

Havana in the city

This Sunday Sunset Party is the perfect opportunity to get your salsa on with your mates. There will be live DJs, mojitos galore and Cuban dance shows. The dress code is white, and the event will take place at Brisbane’s beloved rooftop bar, Up On Constance. If you really want to get into the Cuban spirit, you can even attend a Cuban Salsa Dance class for beginners before the festivities begin!

Venue: Up On Constance, Fortitude Valley
When: 29th April 3:30pm – 9pm
Entry: Tickets by Eventbrite

For more information click here.

The Endless Summer Design and Fashion Market

Ladies! This market will have you swarming in a heaven of fashion, flowers, brunch, cocktails, coffee and a celebration of the strong female. It’s time to replenish that wardrobe as the cooler weather is almost upon us! We hear they are adding four additional boutique pop ups to this Sunday’s market, alongside previous stall holders. All this shopping may make you hungry but don’t worry, there will be food trucks on board, and even a smoothie van!

IMG_0089-1 Six things to do in Brisbane this weekend

Venue: 204 Montague Road West End
When: 29th April 9am – 2pm
Entry: Tickets by Eventbrite

For more information click here.

A Vegan foodie paradise is landing in Melbourne this Mother’s Day weekend

BIG_VEGAN_MARKET_FACEBOOK_COVER_2018_970x A Vegan foodie paradise is landing in Melbourne this Mother's Day weekendVeganism is becoming more and more prevalent in Australia; which is great news for devoted vegans and vegetarians seeking more options when out to eat. This Mother’s Day weekend in May, Melbourne is being blessed with a two day vegan paradise.

‘The Big Vegan Market’ will be held at the Royal Exhibition Building on May 12th and 13th. At this event, vegans will enjoy the normality of not having to ask each stall for vegan options. This is because every single product at the market will be 100% animal and cruelty free! But it doesn’t stop there, not only will you enjoy a vegan foodie paradise, there will also be vegan make up, skincare and clothing. Market goers will be spoilt for choice, with over 200 stalls selling their wares at the event.

BVM_4_of_5_1080x A Vegan foodie paradise is landing in Melbourne this Mother's Day weekend

After the event was a big hit previously, market organisers expanded it to run across two days, with a plethora of more stalls. The market was created by Melbourne Vegan Eats, which was originally an Instagram account that shared vegan eats from across Melbourne. The account developed into a valuable source to finding delicious vegan eats around Melbourne.

We’ve scoped out the list of stallholders and are more than impressed at the variety at hand. Vegan burgers, vegan cosmetics, vegan cookies and many more ethical goodies! So get down and buy Mum a gift for Mother’s Day, or better yet bring her along and share some yummy vegan treats.

For more information, click here

Venue: The Royal Exhibition Building Melbourne

When: Saturday and Sunday 12th – 13th May 2018 10am-6pm

Entry: $2

The Makers and Shakers Market is returning to Melbourne this weekend

The Makers and Shakers Market is returning to marvellous Melbourne this weekend!

This event is powered by the handmade movement, with local makers, artisans, and designers selling their unique wares to fortunate market goers.

This event is held in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra twice a year.

From the Makers and Shakers team –

“The Makers and Shakers Market is a fiercely independent event powered by the goals and values of the handmade movement. We strive to play our little part in creating the shift from the consumption of mass-produced products, to the mass-consumption of locally and authentically produced products. Our modus operandi is to put on meticulously organised market events, that are intimate and concentrate in the best quality makers, but still large enough to offer a wide range of homewares, food and lifestyle products for customers to amass amazing treasures.”

As you can tell, this market has been beautifully curated; you must not miss it!

This weekend, you can expect to see bountiful makers as you browse through over 60 wonderful market stalls under the one roof.

Here are a just a few faces that will make an appearance this Sunday –

Nanna Woo 

nanna-woo The Makers and Shakers Market is returning to Melbourne this weekend

We are absolutely obsessed with this makers beautiful ever-evolving jewellery and homewares. If you’re looking for a unique buy from a local creative, you will find it here. Nanna Woo owner, Hanna Woolley, uses bio-based resins and other ethical and sustainable materials.

Billy Van Creamy 

download The Makers and Shakers Market is returning to Melbourne this weekend

If you’re just here for the food (us!), then be sure to get your hands on some of the best ice cream in Melbourne. Billy Van Creamy churns every flavour with a unique recipe, meaning they are rich and vibrant. YUM.

Jaccob McKay Studios

NaturalLogRingBoxJaccobMcKay The Makers and Shakers Market is returning to Melbourne this weekend

Photographer, artist and craftsman, Jaccob McKay works with sustainable natural materials. His beautifully unique jewellery and homewares are inspired by nature.


27879375_1828628533875474_7153566441520758784_n The Makers and Shakers Market is returning to Melbourne this weekend

These skincare extroadinaires tick all the boxes in our book! They capture the traditional and uplifting properties of aromatherapy in their modern product line. These babies are free from synthetics, artificial properties, parabens, SLES, SLS and palm oil.

That is just a taste of the quality you are bound to see at Melbourne’s Makers and Shakers Market. Also, the freshest and most tasty donuts ever, by Shortstop, will be there. So, obviously we’re SOLD #donutsarelife.

For further information click here.

Venue: Coburg Town Hall 90 Bell St, Coburg VIC 3058

When: Sunday 29th April 2018 10am – 3pm

Entry: $2 (Under 12 free)


Sydney’s Best Farmers Markets

Australia’s Harbour City is full to the brim of fresh produce, spoiling Sydneysiders with a plethora of farmers markets to enjoy. Sydney’s neighbourhoods, orchards and beautiful hinterland host frequent markets for local producers and artisans to showcase their wares. Here are AUZi’s picks on farmers markets to start the day fresh in Sydney.

Carriageworks Farmers Market 

image1-57 Sydney’s Best Farmers Markets
Photo – Carriageworks Farmers Market

If there is anything to note with this market, it’s to ensure that you don’t eat before you go! The venue is packed with seasonal produce, including organic and bio-dynamic foods from artisan producers and farmers from all over New South Wales. The Carriageworks Farmers Market also offers free cooking demonstrations by Australia’s best chefs!

Click here for more information.

Saturdays 8am – 1pm

Bondi Farmers Market 

image1-58 Sydney’s Best Farmers Markets
Photo – Bondi Farmers Market

‘Fresh produce – Gourmet eats’ is the Bondi Farmers Market slogan, and they definitely live up to the promise. Their beach front setting is full of healthy breakfast choices, coffee, live entertainment and fresh produce. Did someone say smoothie bowls – yum!

Click here for more information.

Saturdays 9am – 1pm

EQ’s produce and flower Market

image1-59 Sydney’s Best Farmers Markets
Photo- EQ Moore Park

EQ’s produce and flower Market is renowned as Sydney’s finest produce market. Your market haul at Moore Park will consist of a vast variety of top quality produce, and it’s just 10 minutes from the CBD! This family friendly venue has something for all with hot coffee, beautiful fresh flowers, clothing, crafts, scrumptious cooked lunch and breakfast, and of course fresh produce!

Click here for more information.

Wednesdays and Saturdays 8am – 2pm

Pyrmont Growers Market 

image1-60 Sydney’s Best Farmers Markets
Photo – Pyrmont Growers Market

Pyrmont Growers Market has landed itself as one of the most popular food markets in Sydney. After 18 years of practice, these guys know how to run a good foodie haven. Live music can be enjoyed with the relaxed weekend vibes to experience. There are also plenty of play areas for children.

Click here for more information.

The fourth Saturday of the month 7:30am – 12:00pm

Northside Produce Markets 

image1-61 Sydney’s Best Farmers Markets
Photo – Northside Produce Market

Sydney’s market of choice! This market pride themselves as the ultimate destination for breakfast, brunch and lunch. The award winning Northside Produce Market features artisan food producers, growers, barista coffee and plenty of delicious eats.

Click here for more information.

The first and third Saturday of the month 8am – 12pm

Gold Coast ready to pop the cork as the Food and Wine Festival returns in 2018

Endless exceptional wine and cheese boards to match are at the ready for the Gold Coast’s third annual Food and Wine Festival. The festival is returning to the Sunshine state to explore our golden coasts culinary landscape.

image1-56 Gold Coast ready to pop the cork as the Food and Wine Festival returns in 2018
Photo – Gold Coast Food & Wine Festival

The festival will cater to over 15,000 foodie and wine connoisseur’s, with 30 events stretching from as North as Beenleigh, to Coolangatta in the South. This wine affair is bringing together chefs, street food, wineries, breweries and distilleries from across the great South East.

Festival attendees will be spoilt with picnics, degustations, workshops, demonstrations and signature food events. We’ve watched the event blossom into a local fave, attracting festival goers from all over. This year, organisers are exploring the theme ‘Evolve’.

“The idea of Evolve sprung from the changing landscape of the Gold Coast food and wine industry, especially with the legacy of the Commonwealth Games in April next year.” – Festival Director, Michelle Christoe

evolve1 Gold Coast ready to pop the cork as the Food and Wine Festival returns in 2018
Photo – Gold Coast Food & Wine Festival

The 2018 festival promises to explore experimental dining, food, culture crossover events, and dining as entertainment.

Those who attend the celebration will enjoy the Gold Coast’s world renowned beauty, with 30 events running from the 31st of May to the 3rd of June.

At AUZi, we’ve established that it is bound to be a foodie paradise, partnered with the best wine of our region.

The 2017 event saw a collaboration with the Gold Coast’s food hub, the Night Quarter. This year, you can expect to see more collaborations with other prominent indulgences from the Gold Coast culinary corner.

image2-7 Gold Coast ready to pop the cork as the Food and Wine Festival returns in 2018
Photo – Gold Coast Food & Wine Festival

We’re already drooling over our picnic basket, surely we can’t be the only ones?! With a Merlot in one hand, Gouda in the other, you will see us there!

For more information click here.