Mountain life leads to success

Michelle Roper-Dennis
Michelle Roper-Dennis

TAMBORINE Mountain felt like home to Michelle Roper-Dennis and her husband Steve from the first time they visited.

“We were living in Karatha and we had done our time there,” she says.

“We started looking for places that were in the country but not too country.  We needed to be  within an hour of airports so Steve (who is a FIFO worker) could still go back to work.”

 “We started Googling places and circling places and every time we went on holidays we went to a different destination.”

“When we came here it felt like home to us, physically and emotionally – and we stayed.”

The couple raised their three children on the Mountain – they have all moved on but still enjoy coming back to visit.

She kept busy raising her children and became involved as a volunteer with the Vonda Youngman Community Centre and her church group.

Originally from New Zealand, Michelle had run a number of businesses there and was looking for a new business once they settled on Tamborine Mountain.

Ill health slowed her down for a few years, but eventually she found the right business – My Country Escape in Canungra.

Michelle recalls knowing instantly it was right for her, despite her lack of experience in retail at the time.

Her friend Nadine Beckhouse used to come and help merchandise the store and assisted in the early days of My Country Escape.

The two women have a strong bond and a deep respect for each other, which had led to further collaborations.

They opened Lux & Gather on Tamborine Mountain, which operated for two years before closing.

“I feel like that was an opportunity to see if we could really work together.”

“We did the hardest two things in business – we opened a business and we closed a business.”

“We did that together and we are still business partners and friends and when the opportunity came up to buy her business partner out, it was a no brainer.”

Today, Michelle and Nadine own and run Folk and Co ladies boutique and Feather Road Studios in Jimboomba.

Michelle says Nadine is the more creative and artistic of the two, describing herself as the ‘handbrake’.

She does, however, have an uncanny ability to envision the next steps in her business and has an entrepreneurial streak.

“I’m the first person to  say, ‘I don’t know how to do it’ or to admit when I’m wrong.”

Michelle works with a strong team of women and she loves to empower them in their lives.

“I’m always saying to them – what’s your side hussle, what is it you love doing and how can we make that happen.”

Running three businesses is time consuming and at times stressful, but Michelle maintains a passion for excellent customer service and quality products that keeps her energised.

She says she loves coming home to the Mountain.  It is her sanctuary. 

“I live in a beautiful neighbourhood, I’ve got really lovely people surrounding me.  I’m really lucky.”

About Keer Moriarty 20 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.