Taking care of business
Published on 06 December 2021
If you’re planning to start or expand a business, Stonnington’s Business Concierge Service can help fulfil your dream.
The service can assist with permits and registrations to operate, change or expand your business. More than 1,000 businesses have used the service since opening in 2020.
Here's Beau, co-founder of a local business called Vine Boy, sharing his experience.
Tell us about your business, what makes it different?
Earlier in 2020, Joe, my co-founder, came to me with an idea. He had been looking for a gift pack to send to some loved ones that included a plant, alcohol, and something else nice. What we found was many places offering this service, but no one ticking all the boxes such as pricing that was accessible, potting as a standard inclusion, gifts that were premium quality, but not necessarily high-end or pretentious. Fast-forward a year and here we are turning our online business into a store in the heart of Chapel Street. Along with our usual offering of plants and gifts, our recently opened café named Boy offers delicious coffee by ST. ALi, Italian-inspired sandwiches and pastries from one of the best bakers in the area.
You recently used Council's Business Concierge Service; how did the service help you to get started?
Coming from an online commercial background and not knowing the local laws and permits required to open a hospitality business, Stonnington's business concierge has been a huge life and time saver. It was great knowing from the second we gained access to our site, Council was on our team from the get-go, helping us get everything we needed and sorted out as quickly as possible. It’s like having a super knowledgeable cheerleader who knows the ins and outs of applications and permits.
Why did you choose Stonnington to establish your business?
We have lived in Stonnington for a while now and know what we love about the area (cafés, restaurants, retail stores, parks). We love the options and variety. It had been sad to see businesses we love come and go from Chapel Street, but we've noticed a massive resurgence over the past twelve months, and we're so excited to be part of it. The block we are in has a row of stunning heritage-listed buildings all offering something fun, different and unique, with a killer sense of community.
How did you get into this business – tell us a little about your background?
Having a café has always been a dream for both of us. Sharing our love of food and hosting is something (pre-COVID) we used to do a lot through dinner parties with our family and friends. Joe's Italian heritage means food is pretty much the only thing he thinks about (other than plants). Joe has been a primary school teacher for 12 years and COVID-19 offered him the opportunity to find a distraction once he finished correcting the schoolwork of his students. I have a background in business and operations with a passion for making a customer's end-to-end journey a great experience, whether it's digitally, or in person. Together, we've managed to build both of these businesses that we're so proud of.
What do you love about your customers and staff?
Vine Boy, prominently being an online gift-giving service, means the customers we deliver to are always over the moon to receive their gifts. People love buying gifts and people love to receive them, so we love seeing the socially distant smiles when delivering gifts as well as the feedback online and through social media. Our café Boy is the first time we will have face-to-face interactions with our customers and we cannot wait. Even if you're not a morning person, we welcome your grumpy morning self and when you leave, with your coffee in-hand, we know you'll have a smile on your face. So far on our business journey, we have been a two-man show, with a small pool of casual and contract staff and couriers helping us out daily. We are excited to have a permanent base of staff who are as excited about coffee, food and plants as we are.
421 Chapel Street, South Yarra