Down to earth and kind-hearted are words that come to mind when we think of the Ottens.
I brought my daughter Emily along for the interview which was held at the Ottens home, situated on a quiet corner of the Bellarine. Upon a short trip down a dirt road, we were greeted by a modest facade. Their home is full of natural light, clean design and some absolutely breathtaking artwork, which we discover was painted by Brad’s late mother. We get a warm cup of tea before heading to the ‘shed’ with their son Johnny following on his bike. Brad is seen feeding the goat and sheep, who were currently waiting by the workshop.
A large barn door pushed aside reveals a large workshop where all the magic happens. Though it is a clean workshop, with a few showroom tables up front, the rest of the workshop is well laid out and has a sense of order to it. Brad talks of getting his cabinetry trade in his final years of playing football for the Geelong Cats. He had planned to launch his own business, but fate had other plans. He and his wife, Sarah, were also planning their wedding at the time (all completed in 8 weeks!) and had decided to purchase furniture items and make some custom pieces to decorate their own wedding. They had a ball doing so and pretty soon had requests to hire the same decor for other weddings, Pepper Sprout Hire was born.
This business grew beyond the Geelong region and allowed Brad to create some custom pieces for wedding decor. However it was always his goal to end up here; creating custom pieces for his own business, O Design. Pepper Sprout Hire has since been sold to some new passionate owners and now Brad can flourish in his workshop, in between checking the local surf. During our interview Brad is checking the Rip Curl pro, which was broadcasting the men’s heats. He then starts to get ready to head out for another surf (he had already been earlier). We don’t mind though, surfing is part of the lifestyle here on the coast, so we even stop to watch a little.
Before we head back in to refill our cup of tea, they all stop by their fruit and vegetable garden to pick some items and take back to the house. They talk about their dogs, some they inherited through family and others that have just been around forever and keep going. It is pretty clear there is a very grounded sense of living at the Otten’s residence.