ABOUT US: Ever wondered who’s behind Mr Gift?

“I have heard there are a couple of different ways that people come up with an idea for a business:
1. Their idea gradually evolves from an initial thought or trying to find a solution for a problem, or;
2. They are struck with an idea and have one of those brilliant ‘light-bulb’ moments.
The idea for Mr Gift was the later – a complete light-bulb moment. I can even remember the exact moment that I had the idea for the business…” READ MORE of our story here>>>


1. Tell us a bit about your business and how you got to where you are now?

My husband was always complaining that he could never wash his hands in the laundry sink because I was always soaking clothes in there, and told me to do something about it. So I accepted the challenge and saved my marriage by inventing the Australia made Soka Tub.

The Soka Tub increases the usability and functionality of the laundry sink whilst saving water and detergent. It allows you to separately soak delicate, stained and coloured items in different solutions, all in the one bucket. Thus saving time and avoids the backlog of multiple items on your laundry bench. Store in the sink, on the bench, in a cupboard or out on display. There is no wrong answer.

Even though the Soka Tub is primarily designed for the laundry it also was purposefully designed to be versatile in and around the home with a goal of one product having infinite uses. Since storage space is a premium in most homes, apartments, caravans and boats, the Soka Tub therefore becomes the solution to most household problems. Stylish, versatile, practical, universal, ergonomically designed, sustainable, award winning, Australian made and with a focus on supporting a circular economy.

2. What do you love most about your business – how is it unique?

The unique features of the Soka Tub include:
– There is no other compartmental laundry soaking system on the market
– No other system eliminates the risk of children drowning with the internal compartments insitu.
– The only system which is ergonomically designed for manual handling of lighter loads
– The only system where you can soak 3 different items in 3 different laundry solutions in the one bucket
– The only system with draining lids which reduces skin contact with waste water and also – doubles as a mixing tool.
– The only system with a circular economy focus
– The only system that saves water and detergent

The Soka Tub

3. What’s your life mantra?

Life’s too short to be in the laundry

4. What else would you be doing if you didn’t do what you do?

Working in an op shop!! haha

5. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Last week my girlfriend surprised me with a 3 hr house cleaner!!! I was in 2 minds whether to get her to do the standard clean like bathrooms and floors, or the things you don’t get to often like tracks and skirting boards.

6. What’s the best gift you’ve ever bought someone?

A Soka Tub of course!!

Nicole Gibson is the Director of Soka Australia. Nicole accepted her husband’s challenge and designed the award winning laundry Soka Tub which saves water, detergent, space, time,money and sanity.

With over 2 decades as a registered nurse and having 4 kids, Nicole shared her knowledge in a parenting book which saw Nicole provide the community with solutions to everyday problems as a parenting expert on local radio for 3 years. The Soka Tub is proudly made in Australia and Nicole actively supports local business through donations and mentoring. Nicole often shares how even regular Australians can do extraordinary things simply by asking what problem are they solving and what makes them unique? Nicole believes that many great ideas go to the grave, and that if there is still a hole in the market after numerous years, then that is a sign to fill that hole with your business idea
. Learn more at www.sokaaustralia.com.au and connect on Instagram.

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After buying our home, furniture was our next most carefully considered purchase. The pieces of furniture you select for your home are generally a big financial investment, and something you have to live with everyday…no pressure! This week we caught up with Anesley Clarke, Business Owner & Director of B2C Furniture, and discovered how he makes the experience of purchasing furniture special.

1. Tell us a bit about your business and how you got to where you are now?

Furnishing your home should give you warm and fuzzy feelings, not leave you frazzled and fed up! But unless you’re a carpenter with an eye for detail and design, you’re in real danger of getting lost in the abyss of ambiguous information like a coin that’s fallen out of your pocket and slipped beneath the cushions of your couch.

Furniture should be functional and hard-wearing, without lacking in style of course! You’ll generally have to pay a pretty penny for the pleasure of taking home all three.

By sourcing direct from the manufacturer, taking out the middle man and selling online, B2C furniture can offer a range of exceptional quality pieces crafted from solid timber, at prices usually associated with furniture that is vastly inferior in quality and design.

B2C Furniture set out to build a furniture range with sustainable hardwood timber being the focal point of each design as opposed to most of our competitors who manufacture from cheap chipboard which ends up in landfills and pollutes our precious planet.

B2C Furniture has range that has a five-pronged focus – bedroom furniture, kids beds, dining sets, living room furniture and furniture packages.

Paris Beige Occasional Chair

2. What do you love most about your business – how is it unique?

We are a genuine 100% Australian owned “Business – 2 – Consumer” (B2C) company. Cutting out the middle man allows us to offer exceptionally crafted designs at half the price of our competitors so our customers benefit from the significant savings.

Our website is our shop window. The emphasis on quality is evident at the click of a mouse.
There are a number of key features that differentiate our online offering, including;
– Intuitive, fast, and easy to navigate website
– Lifestyle pictures of our entire product range with in-depth descriptions
– The ability to deliver Australia-wide
– After browsing the range online, local customers can visit our showroom in Dandenong, Melbourne to see for themselves what exceptional value for money they’re getting.
– We openly inform our customers to visit our competitors, see what they’re offering, compare the price. Invariably when we do that they come back to us. We get so many repeat sales, because we’re creating a level of confidence in our brand. We have a conversion rate of more than 90 percent for customers who come into our showroom after viewing our range online.

However, the single most important aspect which differentiates us from our competitors is our customer support.

In a competitive industry where most competitor transactions are emotionless, B2C pride ourselves on an endearing after-sales service that inspires strong feedback.

We have an in-house team that personally follow up with our customers once they have had a chance to enjoy their pieces in their homes and check in on how things are going. ‘did you receive the furniture, are you happy with it, do you have any issues or feedback?’

Product reviews are especially important for us, and we average 4.9 out of five stars. We were awarded “The Best National Furniture Store for 2020” by product review.

Furniture is one of the biggest commodities globally and by cutting out the middleman and offering stunning furniture constructed with solid hardwood timber direct, we believe we are offering pieces with substance and style at a price point they would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

Cruz Hardwood King Size Bed Frame | Rustic Walnut

3. What’s your life mantra?

My life mantra is “when the student is ready, the master will arrive”. In my experience I’ve discovered the importance of having the courage to follow your passion even though you don’t have the knowledge at the beginning of your journey to achieve it.

I’ve recognized that inexplicably you will meet the people who will educate you on how to take the next steps if you have the courage, belief and tenacity to stay the course.

4. What else would you be doing if you didn’t do what you do?

I’ve always been an entrepreneur since I graduated from RMIT as an Aerospace Engineer. So if I weren’t involved in running a business I would be designing rockets to explore the universe 😊

Myer King Single Bunk Bed with Storage

5. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

The most precious gift I’ve ever been blessed with is my 6 old daughter. When she was born, I suddenly saw the world in a new light; the awe-inspiring feeling of pure love, the enormous gratitude of being blessed with a life so precious.

Bella 5PCE Round Glass Dining Set

6. What’s the best gift you’ve ever bought someone?

My mother is a widower who is 86 years young. She is battling the onset of dementia which is a terrible illness. Two years ago during the onset of this disease I took her on a trip to Europe.

I’ve always been busy with various business ventures ever since I left university. So, I never truly had the opportunity to sit one-on-one with my mother and just talk as adults.

But spending three weeks with her visiting historic cities of Europe and taking the time to have a coffee with her in some enchanting little cafes was amazing… To listen to her stories, to understand her joy, sadness, and wisdom was an enriching experience for both of us. One that will live in my heart forever…

Finn Double Size Bed Frame

Anesley Clarke is the Business Owner & Director of B2C Furniture. Furniture should not cost you the earth…nor should it cost the earth its survival.

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With the spread of plastic straw bans, businesses like The Other Straw have emerged to provide environmentally friendly solutions. We were particularly inspired by co-founder, Jamie-Lee Kay’s story of the inception of The Other Straw, and delighted to interview her for our Aussie Business series:

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1. Tell us a bit about your business and how you got to where you are now?

The Other Straw is a social enterprise replacing single-use plastic straws with reusable, ethically sourced bamboo straws.

Since launching in late 2018, we’ve diverted over 9 million plastic straws from entering our landfills, waterways and oceans.

After some early traction with our straws, we took the leap to extend our product range to other sustainable, ethical alternatives to plastic items. Including bamboo toothbrushes, bamboo cutlery and coconut bowls.

Our mission is to make the world a more sustainable place. We want to make it as easy as possible for individuals, and businesses to live a less wasteful lifestyle.

2. What do you love most about your business – how is it unique?

I love our why and purpose of our business. We started this business with the goal to eliminate single-use plastics, and this is our biggest motivation.

The pillars in which our business was built on are our personal values and ethos. And this shines through everything we do. Every decision we make is made with passion, meaning and intention. We put our purpose and people above our profits, always.

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3. What’s your life mantra?

Create a life you are proud and passionate about.

Your daily choices, decisions and actions are what makes up your life. If you are not proud of them, do something about it. Live a life that you are content and passionate about. Build a legacy and purpose that you can be proud of.

4. What else would you be doing if you didn’t do what you do?

I probably would be in marketing (as this is what I studied). In 2018, after graduating with a Commerce Degree (major in Marketing), I turned down the corporate career path to start The Other Straw.

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5. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

The best gift I received was from my partner’s Mother. She gave me some veja sneakers. For those who don’t know veja, they are an ethical, sustainable and fair-trade sneaker company. I wear them pretty much everyday, so I couldn’t have asked for a more practical and better gift.

6. What’s the best gift you’ve ever bought someone?

When my partner and co-founder Lennart moved to Australia from the Netherlands I bought him a bike. The Dutch love their bikes. Although it wasn’t the bike he had in mind, he loved the gesture haha.

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The best thing about winter is…working in the garden

It’s around this time of the year we start to long for longer, warmer days, and generally more sunshine. When it feels like the end of winter can’t come quick enough, this is the time to take stock and make the most of where we’re at. We put the question: What’s the best thing about winter out there, and received some great responses. We particularly loved this one from Elle Meager, founder of Outdoor Happens:

“The best thing about winter is working in the garden without being burned alive! Winter’s my favourite time for labour-intensive tasks like mulching and digging new gardens. During the day in winter, it’s the perfect temperature here in North Queensland.”

Elle Meager is the founder of Outdoor Happens, Permaculture Designer, and Sustainable Living Consultant.

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Our Aussie business feature continues with this inspiring interview with Stride founder, Jordan Wilkes. We absolutely love hearing peoples’ stories about how they arrived where they are today. This is Jordan’s journey of founding his Australian business Stride, an ethical fashion company:

1. Tell us a bit about your business and how you got to where you are now?

Stride is an online store that showcases ethical fashion from over 75 Australian labels. Think of Stride as similar to ASOS or The Iconic, but for slow fashion! Lots of Australians are fed up with a fashion industry that abuses human rights, destroys our environment, and even has child labour in their supply chain. Through Stride, Aussies can vote with their wallet for the world they desire – they can match what they wear with what they believe.

I have had an interesting career before Stride. I always had business aspirations, but my ambition since I could remember was to play professional soccer. After returning from playing soccer Greece in 2018, I finished my business degree and decided to pursue my business ambitions – hence Stride was born soon after.

2. What do you love most about your business – how is it unique?
It would definitely have to be the value-driven cause of Stride. Yes, we are a for-profit enterprise, but the overarching goal of ethical production and sustainable practices go far beyond the benefit of Stride. It truly humbles me to know that I am empowering Australians with good intentions to shop fashion that is contributing to a better world for them (and the people around them).

3. What’s your life mantra?
I’m not sure if it’s specifically a mantra, but a Tony Robbin’s quote that has always stuck in my mind is “Hell on Earth is meeting the person you could have become”.

I’ve been blessed in so many aspects of my life that I want to live it to my fullest potential – I don’t want to look at some young guy in 30 years time and think ‘that could have been me’.

I love how this quote is also very personalised in that it is the person that YOU could have become. It’s insular and not to be compared to someone else’s success; it’s all about being the very best person YOU can be.

4. What else would you be doing if you didn’t do what you do?
In a dream world, it would be playing for Liverpool FC – but I’m nowhere near good enough!

If I wasn’t operating my own business, I think I would be working for a marketing agency. Marketing in all it’s forms has always fascinated me and I’m always interested to see how platforms and messages can compel people to convert.

5. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
I’ve received some really thoughtful gifts in the past, but I can’t remember them!

For my last birthday, my girlfriend got me some Airpods and they have been a game-changer for so many reasons – work, exercise, podcasting.

6. What’s the best gift you’ve ever bought someone?
This may not be the ‘best’ gift, but I think it might be the most thoughtful one. My girlfriend and I were watching TV and she commented on how much she loved the earrings that the person on TV was wearing.

I noted that in my head, and the next day, I tried to Google these green earrings… but I didn’t get far! So I thought I may as well DM the person on TV and just ask.

To my surprise, she responded in like 20 minutes and told me where she got them from.

A quick online order and after a few days I had them – my girlfriend was very appreciative!

Jordan is the founder of Stride – Australia’s leading ethical fashion store with over 75 local labels.

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