Kate Dixon is a local Aura resident, and business owner. Her and partner Brent share their Aura story….
It was a long weekend rather than a single day that changed life for Kate Dixon and her partner Brent. A quick getaway to the Sunshine Coast saw them “fall in love” with the region and make a snap decision to move up from Melbourne. “It was the first time we’d been here and we spent three days madly driving around trying to shortlist suburbs – and Aura was a pretty easy choice for us,” she says. “Straight away it seemed like the perfect location: close to beautiful beaches and yet an easy drive to Brisbane. What hooked us in completely was all the new amenities and the future Aura Central plans. It looked like a great place to live and it certainly has been. We’re really happy here.”
Two years on, they’ve taken their careers in exciting new directions, too. They moved up without jobs, and Brent successfully started up his courier business locally. After about a year working in a full-time job on the Sunshine Coast, Kate took another leap and in October 2018 quit to turn her “hobby” into her own dream small business.
Boho Temple imports hand-carved, Indian furniture made from mango wood, along with some smaller homewares. “We’ve found a great supplier there now who has my sense of perfection – he made a colour swatch by painting little timber battens and he kept one half and I have the other, because with computers and phones, every device displays colours differently. So we can place custom orders and there’s great accuracy and consistency.”
Customers book showroom viewings directly with Kate, at her home. “It’s gone better than I could have imagined, and I credit that to Sunshine Coasters having an open mind to home businesses,” says Kate. “I don’t think it would have worked as well in Melbourne. There are a lot of home businesses up here and people seem to like that personal, one-on-one experience. It 100 per cent goes to the sense of community at Aura.”
Working from home feels like “a blessed life”, says Kate. “We have a home office, a front room, a media room, and the garage off the front section of the house, all before you reach the main living area of the house. So I’ve turned all the front section of the house into a home showroom and it’s worked out really well.”
“We built and bought land off the plan,” explains Kate. “Our builder, Ausmar Homes, found a great block in a cul-de-sac with a conservation area across the road.” The speed of the build of their single-storey home will impress anyone who’s been through a building or renovation: “Once the land was titled, they started building straightaway and we were in within 16 weeks!”
Kate likes that Aura requires trees to be a certain height and bins out of sight. “It all makes the estate look nicer – there’s a lot of pride taken in the appearance of the houses.” Her “four-legged kids”, Maltese Shih Tzus Happy and Geordie, love “getting over to the reserve and having a run and playing ball” in the conservation area across the road. “There’s a beautiful walking path that leads all the way down to schools and the local shopping complex – the whole estate is accessible via this fantastic path so you can walk or ride anywhere.”
Going farther afield is painless, too. “Brent’s got kids and now grandkids in Victoria, so we commute back and forth a fair bit,” she says, “so the accessibility to Brisbane and Maroochydore airports was really important to us – it’s an easy 45-50 minute drive to Brisbane, or 25 minutes to Maroochydore.”
“When the grandkids come up, we’ve got an awesome Pedal Park two- or three-minute walk away. That’s something we love about Aura – there are parklands scattered through the estate.”
Aura also has facilities for successful small businesses such as Boho Temple. “I know it’s inevitable that I’ll need a warehouse space,” says Kate. “Not a retail space, because I want to keep offering good value for my customers, but having a warehouse would avoid the double handling we have when a container arrives, so we can do it all in one location.” The Aura Business Park will soon include warehouses and storage facilities, “literally five minutes from home – it couldn’t be easier for me, everything is a stone’s throw away!”.
Southerners, it seems, regard the Sunshine Coast as just a stone’s throw away, too. “Since we’ve moved here, we’ve always had guests,” says Kate with a laugh. “There’s plenty of room – we have a beautiful four-bedroom, two bathroom home. And the family is always more than happy to come up and stay with us here, which we welcome and love.”