Welcome to Meet the Maker an interview series where we get up close and personal with our inspiring local producers, sharing their passions, business savvy and what makes them tick.
For this instalment, the maker behind Byron Bay Olive Antoine Quezel reveals his path to bringing his renowned family recipe to Byron Bay, starting a business and the daily rituals that keep him happy.
What was it that inspired you to start Byron Bay Olive?
Coming from an entrepreneurial family, it has always been an idea to start a business one day … And it happened here in Byron when I arrived as a backpacker doing “underpaid migrant jobs” and realising that no one yet was offering what I was able to produce following the family successful business model.
Was there a particular time in your life that you can recall that led you to creating Byron Bay Olive?
Originally when I started this business, I called it “detour en Provence” , creating a link with my home region back in France. After a year or two, getting tired to spell the name every time that I had to do a business call; plus realising that it was not resonating with as many consumers as I could thought, I decided to change it for Byron Bay Olive Co as Byron bay was becoming so trendy that It would add value.
Only after few weeks, we could feel the positive impact of this change.
What was the biggest obstacle that you faced when starting your business?
Coming from overseas and starting this business only 6 months after my landing in Australia, the biggest obstacle was first the language barrier and also the understanding of the law and regulations. Quickly after came another reality which was running a business as a non resident; closing all doors for business loan and financing… but we made it through.
What do you enjoy most about creating Byron Bay Olive?
The whole journey I guess. First the creating process and strategy development, then test and apply then, fail, learn, redo, understand your mistake and learn from it …
Then there is also all the human side, along the way you meet so many inspiring and talented people as supplier, customers and employees, which give faith and motivation to move forward and keep creating.
What honest advice do you have for someone starting or thinking about starting a business?
Don’t count your hours, work hard but smart, you will face a lot of challenges along the way; keep believing in what you do and don't give up. Be on top of your numbers.
What’s next for you and Byron Bay Olive?
In these uncertain times, it is hard to predict. Business wise we want to keep growing safely and work and new products and recipes. On a personal level, waiting that borders opens again in order to go back home and spend some times with my family and friends.
GETTING TO KNOW THE MAKER
Favourite all time healthy food/recipe?
A colourful salad with many flavours and ingredients.
Favourite all time food or recipe?
Bouillabaisse, A typical seafood soup from the mediterranean french coast.
Morning routine consists of?
Meditation, Turmeric Latte and some physical activity( mostly surf, if not yoga, run or walk on the beach)
Favourite way to unwind at the end of the day?
Be in the ocean!
Favourite song at the moment:
Do Me Right - OBF, Nazamba,Telly
'The Power of Now' - Eckhart Tolle
Human the Movie
Besides living and sharing a healthy lifestyle with your brand … what else are you passionate about?
At the moment, my main focus and research is around personal development and well being. But I also have this life goal of sailing around the world at some stage, so I'm passionate about preparing this journey.