Us Gold Coasters are notorious for welcoming new biz’s into our ‘hood. And how lucky are we to have been graced with such an eclectic array of eateries, sipping spots and boutique locales? Our easy-going nature makes us the perfect place to open up new creative ventures, if we do say so ourselves.
For Abbey Jones, starting vegan fashion store LOVECHILD in Mermaid Beach, was just the first step. Before long the GC community were hungry for more eco-lovin’. So, Abbey expanded to host plant-based markets in the neighbouring alleyway. These were an equal hit. Yet still, we craved more from the #greenlife scene and Abbey thought it was only natural to take that all one step further.
When The LC opened its doors in Miami earlier this year, everyone went NUTS. Offering a selection of plant-based food stalls, a guzzle-worthy bar and divine sun-basking spots, we can totally see why.
We chatted with Abbey about her story up until now, the Gold Coast foodie scene and what’s next for The LC (spoiler: it sounds pretty epic).
What were you doing before the LOVECHILD days?
My first job was a flight attendant—that was quite a big job right out of school! I've always been quite passionate about working with big industries. After that, I've just been in management of clothing retail stores.
Everyone has their own reasons for going vegan. What were yours?
For me, morally, it's just the right thing to do. I think the health benefits speak for themselves, really.
What was your vision for The LC?
My vision was to create a destination that gave an experience on many different levels. On one level, a new age independent dining style establishment, and on another level, a high-end venue. Overall, the vision is still really evolving. I'm showing people that they can have as good of a time at The LC as they can at any other venue. It’s definitely something that I'm really passionate about.
What is it about the Gold Coast that makes it the perfect spot for The LC?
I think people in the Gold Coast love to have a good time and The LC fits that description perfectly. Our climate means that people can enjoy al fresco dining and drinks all year round, which is a big part of the experience at The LC. With the second level of the venue opening and other exciting concepts expanding in the near future, I think we definitely offer something different. [The LC] can kind of be deceiving from the front, but it opens to quite a beautiful open space.
Is there a difference between vegan and plant-based?
I think the term plant-based can be a lot less socially offensive. The word vegan seems to turn people away from the lifestyle, which is very much a shame for something that is beneficial for so many people in so many ways. The focus should be more on people feeling like they can give it a go without there being a stigma attached. We’re really focused on the experience, the vibe, and people kind of accidentally finding out that it is all plant-based.
What was your 'pinch me' moment, when you knew you were onto something special?
The business has definitely evolved a lot and I think it's watching people's support that really is my ‘pinch me’ moment. As we grow and branch into new areas, I think people have that trust in what we do and are kind of following that experience that we're creating. I think that's a big thing to know. That you've built something and that people are wanting to follow that and want to know what's next.
What's your best piece of advice for small business owners?
It’s a piece of advice that was given to me. You’ve got to work really hard and you've got to really want it. So, it's very simple, but that is kind of what business is about too. I think for everyone it's different. There's different things that resonate with them, but those two pieces of advice are ones that have really kind of given me motivation to keep moving forward in what I'm doing.
What's the biggest hurdle you've had to overcome in business?
I think in business there are definitely hurdles of different sizes every single day. The best thing to do is have the attitude that you'll always learn from them and overcome them.
Where are your favourite places to grab a bite or drink?
Tian Ran and Easy House both have great food and they’re in the Mermaid Beach area. They're run by really lovely, friendly people. To have a drink, the Garden Bar at Star Hotel and Casino.
You have one whole weekend off. Where would we find you?
If I did have a whole weekend off, I’d be taking my dog Rocco to the beach. Maybe a quiet drink somewhere. Home-time is definitely a little bit scarce these days. So, a bit of downtime is always welcome.
Want to get to know more Gold Coast legends? Check out the team behind Bam Bam Bakehouse.
Image Credit: Hayley Williamson for The Urban List