An Insider’s Look at ‘Collective Retreat’: Our Holiday Home for Entrepreneurs

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Come stay at our Byron hideaway!

An Insider’s Look at ‘Collective Retreat’: Our Holiday Home for Entrepreneurs

A  lot of people are fiercely private about their happy place ­– and I understand why. In this chaotic, busy, and sometimes unsettling world there are fewer places and spaces where we feel soothed, grounded and guided; where we feel creative but calm, inspired but at rest, productive but peaceful. When we find – or create – these spaces we want to guard them, protect them and keep them to ourselves so no one will disturb them.

But, what if we were happy to share them? What if we invited people to join us and our happy places became community spaces where we could ignite our unique human potential together?

This is the vision behind my latest passion project – Collective Retreat – a four-bedroom escape in Bangalow, 10 minutes from the beating heart of Byron Bay. The property is available to you, our community, whether it’s for corporate retreats, brainstorming days, family vacays or a well-earned break from changing the world (because even entrepreneurs need a holiday). Browse availability here.

This isn’t just a holiday rental – it’s my happy place. Five years ago I bought the hideaway after writing a book called Property Investing: The Australian Way. Back then, Collective Hub was only a flicker of a vision and I never imagined that one day I’d have an international community to share it with.

Read More: Want to book your stay at Collective Retreat? Click here.

Since then the property has undergone a huge transformation (more on that in just a moment) to become a place where I’ve had some of my most life-changing ideas and lightbulb moments. I could have kept it to myself or ‘flipped’ it – but where’s the joy in that?

Because happy spaces are sacred but so is a sense of community – and I truly believe you can bring the two together.

You’d barely recognise the property if you saw it when I bought it. In one word – technicolour! The main bedroom looked like a Neapolitan ice-cream tub because the walls were chocolate, pink and white, while the kitchen was bright blue. It felt too busy, overstimulating and distracting.

After I bought it, I invited a group of friends over for Easter – then handed them a paintbrush each. Over the course of one weekend, we painted everything within an inch of its life in ‘Antique White’ (it was more fun than it sounds!). It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do to elevate a home.

The problem is, over the next five years, I didn’t really do anything else to it (because I was busy launching a little project called Collective Hub). I rented it out with the help of an amazing friend of mine who lives locally, but I didn’t really think about its future or put time or funds into fulfilling its potential.

The clincher came earlier this year when my partner and I went to stay there for a mini-break. ‘Wow, you rent this place out?’ he said. I was suddenly embarrassed as I realised that my pride and joy, a place I loved like my second home, had been forgotten.

As you know, I never do things by halves. In that moment, I decided to renovate it top-to-bottom and bring it back to life by partnering with some of my favourite brands who could inject it with beauty, energy, vibrance, light and love. Most importantly, I would reopen it as an extension of Collective Hub.

Read More: Want to book your stay at Collective Retreat? Click here.

My vision? A bright, white space with cosy corners and inspiring workplaces, eye-catching crafts and one-off pieces of art that light up the creative areas of your mind. I wanted the bedrooms to be cool, calm sanctuaries and the kitchen to be a hub that encouraged laughter, chatter and late-night discussions.

Over the years, I’ve visited thousands of offices to meet clients, competitors, allies and investors. I’ll never forget visiting Martha Stewart’s office in New York. You walk into the foyer, which is plain, stark and nondescript, then you walk through another door and it’s like this huge reveal, entering a magical wonderland of crisp, clean, organised elegance with fresh flowers and areas for crafting and cooking.

It’s exactly what I imagine the inside of Martha’s mind looks like – grounded and extraordinarily efficient. In the same way, I wanted our retreat to emulate the collective mind of our community – calm, bright and strong, with unique, quirky touches and LOTS of white space for expansion.

Anyone who has visited Byron Bay or its surrounding villages will know the area has an out-of-this-world creative community and thriving start-up scene. To tap into that, we tried to bring in as many local brands as possible by walking down the street and into stores to draw inspiration and see if they would like to contribute to our vision.

Read More: Want to book your stay at Collective Retreat? Click here.

The beyond-incredible Sally and Rich from Marr-Kett in Byron provided rugs, hanging plants, cushions and cacti (my interior addiction!). They also kindly housed two couches that we sent up from Collective Hub’s Sydney HQ over the weekend because we had guests staying and they couldn’t be delivered to the property.

For the outside area, an amazing chair was provided by Byron Bay Hanging Chairs, who also gave us stunning wall mirrors. Crystal and Mitch from Design Twins were a dream and hand-painted all the pots for the house and garden, while In Bed supplied incredible linen for the beds, along with Eadie Lifestyle, the soft furnishing magicians, who also supplied the most perfect linen curtains, cushions and throw rugs.

Hendrix & Harlow pitched in stools and benches, in addition to an incredible leather ottoman and the Turkish beach towels for the guests.

As for the walls, we left them in the safe hands of The Artwork Stylist – an amazing platform that sells limited-edition affordable artwork.

Meanwhile, talented local painter Rob Knox and his team took care of all the interior and exterior painting including the floors. Did I mention there’s a Nespresso machine in the kitchen?

As the renovations went on, I felt like the property became more than just a building. It was incredible to see how passionate and excited other people were to share in the project and see it take shape. A massive shout-out to Georgia from my team who project-managed the entire process. I could not be prouder of her or of the result.

Keeping in the spirit of supporting small businesses, we enlisted Louise Roche of Villa Styling – a visionary stylist and lifestyle photographer – to capture the essence of the property.

Finally, because I’m a big believer in outsourcing, we handed the management over to Byron Bay Holiday Rentals who will cater to all of our guests’ needs.

Now, the next step of the retreat’s transformation is down to you, our community. We’ve overhauled the space and, I hope, created a place where people can feel like the very best version of themselves.

However, the real essence of a building comes from the people who visit it, the ideas that are born there, the laughter that fills the air and the special bonds that are formed within its walls.

At Collective Hub we’re about igniting human potential. So to have a beautiful homely space created for our community where they can go to dream, think and come up with inspiring ideas for their best life is so fitting with my vision. It feels so special to have somewhere that really is like a second home for me to open up to you, our community. Who will be the first to step over the threshold?

Want to reserve Collective Retreat for your next getaway? Book now.

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