Local entrepreneurs Bianca Gregg and Arlen Macpherson have achieved some extraordinary success over the years. Not only are they both madly in love with each other, they are lucky enough to be following each of their own dreams side by side. FOCUS had a chat with the couple to find out more about what they have been up to.
Tell us about your background in your respective fields …
We both spent our childhood in Coffs Harbour before relocating to Sydney in 2009, where we found ourselves working in the fashion industry – Arlen in Fashion Distribution and Brand Management and myself in Fashion Wholesale, Marketing and PR, representing local and international brands for my own agency. After working and living in the industry’s hub for six years, we both had a yearning to return home and bring all we had learnt from the city to the coast. We took a leap in recreating our businesses from scratch and going against the grain to continue to thrive outside of the considered norm and have limitless possibilities from our old/new home. From here, Salty Lenz and Bianca Gregg Agency were born.
How has Salty Lenz evolved, and tell us more about your current roles?
Arlen: Salty Lenz was created in the summer of 2016 upon returning home to Coffs Harbour. I combined my love for the ocean, surfing, environment and photography to create a platform that showcased the locals enjoying these moments. The Salty Lenz website is updated daily with images taken from sunrise onwards, available for all beach goers and surfers to view online and access these incredible experiences of themselves and others in the ocean. Salty Lenz was derived from wanting to capture the positive energy in the water and the camaraderie of our local community, who love the ocean as much as I do. I have recently started offering video services and high-quality image prints for sale through my website, that are framed and hand made locally by John at Coffs Picture Framing. Some of these framed pieces are available for viewing in a local favourite of ours, Supply Café.
Bianca: I had a fresh start upon relocating to Coffs Harbour and began operating as an individual agent for six fashion labels, whom I wholesale to boutiques globally. Currently, I am representing brands across all categories, from apparel, accessories, swim and bags, wholesaling these labels to just over 330 stores worldwide. My business has grown exceptionally due to the comfort of the base in our beautiful home office in Moonee Beach, in the midst of my weekly travel around Australia and the international legs to come this year. My industry is very cutthroat and challenging at the best of times, so I like to ensure I have the separation between who I am in business and as an individual. I thrive being connected to nature, and Coffs has enabled the balance between being involved in such a fast pace industry whilst also having the leisure of heading down to the beach for a break and a swim.
Why did you choose Coffs?
Coffs Harbour will always be our home. We have a perfect balance here to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle in such a supportive community. Coffs for us really is having our cake and eating it too. Many people considered us leaving the busy city as giving something up, but we feel we have only gained. We maintain a healthy lifestyle by the ocean whilst clocking in flexible work hours, contributing to the utmost happiness towards the job. Salty Lenz has the optimum setting for images – we have some of the best waves on the East Coast, with such a talented group of surfers to match, from the new generation of grommies to the old boys who have surfed these waves their whole lives. It’s an incredible thing to capture. We have access to amazing picturesque scenery, which people pay to travel the world to see, and it’s in our back yard. Being in Coffs allows Salty Lenz to build a communal platform, helping bring not only the local surf community together, but also on a broader scale displaying our quality of lifestyle to the world.
Coffs provides us accessibilities to the world, with minor overheads. We are in between two major cities in Australia and have easy access to these on a quick flight. After travelling for business regularly, which can be quite a whirlwind, returning home is very grounding.
How do you collaborate as a young entrepreneurial couple?
Bianca: We complement each other with our skills in both of our fields, backgrounds and are very engaged in our businesses. We both push each other day to day to reach new heights and work together in doing so. I assist Arlen with marketing across his channel and backend business structure. Arlen also is on board with my company and works as my bookkeeper. I have to give him some extra credit here and mention that this involves more than bookkeeping the majority of the time, with quite a few other aspects of the business he is also across. Arlen travels with me for business, which is incredibly helpful when we are setting up showrooms across Australia. This year we are headed to New York and Paris Fashion Week to show. I am looking forward to tackling that journey together and having Arlen’s support along the way.
Arlen: Being so submersed in such a relaxed lifestyle, it is incredibly helpful having a partner who is so driven, as this reflects on my work ethic. Bianca’s business does take us around the world, which opens up new opportunities for my photography with new landscapes, beaches and atmosphere to bring home. Tahiti this year will be a highlight, being there whilst the WSL comp is running.
We are partners in business and in life.
Website + Instagram handles – www.saltylenz.com @saltylenz