THE SUNSHINE COAST IS FULL OF TALENTED PEOPLE – EACH ISSUE WE SHOWCASE TWO SUCCESSFUL LOCALS DOING GREAT THINGS IN THEIR FIELD. WORDS KATE CLIFFORD
eing creative is something that came naturally to Bree Billin from a young age. At school, she would sit in the classroom drawing and on Saturdays she would work at a hair salon, learning the art of hair colouring and styling. It was during this time, Bree discovered her love for the creative industries, and at 15, she started her high-school certificate in hairdressing. This passion only grew and as soon as school finished she was straight into an apprenticeship, learning to cut, colour and style in every shape and form. “I have always been a creative person and knew it was what I wanted to do,” Bree said. “I just wanted to learn and grow my skills from a young age.” After her four-year apprenticeship, Bree started at a new salon in New South Wales, before moving into a senior stylist role at Port Macquarie. She opened her own hairdressing business just 10 months later, renting a space in a salon in the same area. It was during this time Bree’s hairdressing skills grew in popularity and she became the go-to girl for weddings and evening up-dos. “I am passionate about bridal and have done a lot of weddings, because my skills are really focused on up-hair styling for big, special occasions,” Bree says. “I love spending time with a bride and making them feel special, so on their big day they can be so happy with how they look, and feel beautiful walking down the aisle.” In 2013, Bree’s parents decided to make a sea change to the Sunshine Coast and asked if she would pack up her business and join them – of course, she said yes! “I wanted a change as I had been working in one salon for two years, I guess it was a challenge moving to a new place as well,” Bree, now 22, says. Bree and her mother, Deb Billin, opened their salon Bella Boutique Hair in Noosaville in July last year, where Bree says she is focussed on specialising in bridal hair as well as top class cuts and colours. “I spend a lot of my spare time re-training, to keep my skills fresh and with the times,” she says. “If I am not working I try to get to the beach or go for a walk, as it is such a beautiful place to live and we are very lucky.”
alking through the streets of Paris on a sightseeing trip, Buderim’s Emma Hayes fell in love with the city’s coffee and homewares scene, fascinated as the creatives extended along every corner, and around every nook and cranny. As she wined and dined her way around, Emma says she would sit and watch from behind rows of chairs and sugar-coated desserts, fascinated with the culture and the people who lived and worked there. “I was living in London at the time and took a trip to France for a few weeks because I had always wanted to go there and experience the culture,” Emma explained. “The streets would come alive with the smell of coffee, people reading newspapers in the cafes and the beautiful homewares stores were incredible – I knew this was my calling.” Emma had ventured overseas to London in search of a new beginning and hoping a new take on the world would inspire her next career move. Hailing from a fashion and retail background, she was surprised to discover her passion was in food, coffee and French-inspired homewares. “I had been working in the fashion industry for six years and although loved it, I had become quite bored with the lifestyle and was looking for a change,” Emma said. “When I went to France, I just couldn’t get enough of the culture and pretty much wined and dined my way around, falling in love with every cafe and restaurant we visited.” On her return to the Sunshine Coast, Emma put her new dream into motion, purchasing a quaint shop on the corner of Burnett Street in her hometown of Buderim. The 25-year-old then spent the next few months painting, fitting out and collecting all the French-inspired bits and pieces to finally open the doors to My Private Provence in November 2013. “I have a sign inside that says, ‘It was all a dream’, and it’s true.” Emma said. “The store is exactly what I envisioned it would be and the locals have been extremely supportive ever since we opened. It’s exciting to have my little slice of France right here in Buderim.”
Sunshine Coast Magazine featuring Corporate Lifestyle, Business, Local Profile Stories, Fashion & Life Advice.