Meet the Game Changers — the Australian entrepreneurs who are making waves in their respective industries. From the world of fine dining to skate and surf publishing, these men have carved out fascinating careers for themselves. They’re doing things on their own terms, in their own way, in their own time.
The Game Changers
Nathan Sasi is the chef and business mastermind behind amazing new restaurant Mercado as well as desert destination Good Times Artisan Ice Cream. He has worked for some of the world’s most respected chefs, including Neil Perry, Peter Doyle, Heston Blumenthal and Moro's Sam and Samantha Clark. As a chef, Nathan is best known for making everything he serves from scratch, a reputation that has seen Mercado become the hottest ticket in town since opening just a few days ago. It’s already known for its excellent cheese selection — that was one of his aims, with opening it. They make their own cheese, butcher their own meat, and bake their own bread. How’s that for an artisanal experience?
Paul Bedwell has started his own social media app. called ‘Clapit’ (check it out at clapit.com). With a background in clinical medicine and research (he graduated from Sydney University with a medical degree), he began travelling and became interested in population health, and so worked in research for a number of years, fighting type two diabetes. Over the years he became interested in how we as humans communicate, which got him thinking about social media. Essentially, he wanted to do social media ‘better’. He felt that to ‘like’ something was one thing, but to really be into something, you have to share and therefore endorse it. And so he started Clapit. In his own words: “The fundamental premise behind Clapit was that there’s loads of good content that gets lost in the huge volume of social media, so the solution is to crowd source it to one place. Users display what they want to see — this application doesn’t require a mathematical algorithm to decide what you see. The content with the most claps or applause is what people see.” After taking a powerpoint presentation around to different people, he found that they either wanted to invest or jump on board. He has Chris Adams (who’s worked at Facebook in the past) as an adviser, and Paul Wilson (previously of Ksubi) marketing the app. “We’re a new social network where you clap what you love to build a best content democracy and find and share music, videos and photos,” he concludes. “We’re winning one back for the humans. You can have a voice in what you see.”
Campbell is a total legend. He’s the man behind Monster Children — one of the most successful and beloved independent publications to come out of Australia. “Chris and I started it because I worked at surf magazine and if you were a surf magazine you just did surf, and if you were skate you did skate, but we thought if you’re into either of those things you’re into more than that — Ed Templeton good example of being into skate and art. We wanted a vehicle to showcase anything we liked, with no set formula. It’s the things we love — art, skate, music, fashion. There’s no rules.” Monster Children is well-known in Australia and the US (they have an office in Sydney and one in LA, too). They also thought it would be an excellent portfolio with them, since Chris is a photographer and Campbell is a graphic designer. But it took off, spreading by word of mouth, and now it’s become a real force in the publishing and skate/surf industries. They recently celebrated their 50th issue, and indeed it has been a good for their portfolios. They now have Monster Children Creative, which creates work for advertisers like Levi’s and Corona. And in addition to all that, they hold gallery shows and sponsor the tours of bands like Eagles of Death Metal and Wolf and Cub. Their annual photography competition also receives thousands of entries.
Simon Cancio is the baker and brains that opened the locally renowned Brickfields Bakery in Chippendale — by far the best bacon sandwhich that you’ll have in Sydney. Simon’s always been hospitality, having years of experience in bakeries and fish and chip stores, before breaking out on his own. He opened Brickfields in 2012, baking from his business partner’s coffee roasting business in Alexandria, before opening the Chippendale shop front tin February 2013. Now everything’s baked at a space in Marickville, and he has plans to open a shop there too. His baked goods are also sold at markets around Sydney, and they’re looking to grow the retail baking side of their business. “We’re all really happy with how things have progressed,” he says. “The process has become a lot easier and the finish in the products is top notch now that we have the space and infrastructure in place.” The Chippendale space will soon stay open late into the night as a pasta bar. They have a pasta machine on premises and they’ll also have lots of salads and tapas available, not to mention beer and wine.
Derek Rielly started cult surf magazine STAB with Sam Mcintosh in 2003. They made a book for Billabong and used the quarter million net profit to fund their own project. Although Derek has since sold his share of STAB, and left the magazine (where he was Editor-In-Chief), he’s started his new project Beach Grit. Beach grit was founded with infamous surf writer Charlie Smith (who basically started VICE’s whole gonzo journalism thing way back). In the space of a year, they’ve reached 130,000 uniques a month with their surf and lifestyle website. “Print is close to dead,” he says, “and it’s time to throw your money into online. BeachGrit is a great way of creating our own little real estate prospect online, and it’s growing quickly. In the past three months it’s grown by 90%, at least.” The growth may in part be due to the awareness of their project that came with conducting the last interview with veteran surfer Brock Little before his untimely demise due to cancer, some months ago. His last interview received 30,000 listens on soundcloud alone. Outside of the publishing industry, Derek explored the world of the water with a luxury water taxi business, which he suspended within a year of starting it. “I wanted to offer a beautiful trip on the harbor from A to B, but boats just cost so much money! They say you buy a boat the day you sell it, and it’s true — the repairs are ridiculous! Someone said to me, as we travelled under the Harbour Bridge, “you must never get tired of this view.” Well, it was the 400th time I’d seen that view, and I thought that if I saw it again I’d vomit. So that was the end of that.”