Docklands Dreaming


For Gwendoline, being in Docklands is part of a business dream which is unfolding as if it was meant to happen.

Gwendoline has learned plenty from previous business highs and lows and appears to have an inexhaustible reserve of high-octane energy to drive the dream.

She recently opened Just Lashes at Digital Harbour and has plans for national expansion.

She never planned a career in beauty therapy but stumbled across a unique opportunity in Las Vegas in 2007 which she has now introduced in Australia.

The new Lash Lounge at Shop 3, 198 Harbour Esplanade follows a start in a home office, followed by a small suite in West Melbourne, and is now one of the major progressive steps in an unfolding journey.

“I’m amazed how easily everything is just falling into place,” she said.  “Nothing is hard.  Doors are just opening.”

“Success in business doesn’t come from the commodity you are selling, but rather how you treat your customers.  It’s all about the service.”

Gwendoline has a marketing background and has previously owned and operated a diverse range of businesses.  When she’s not working, you might find her piloting helicopters (which she says she took up to distract her from maternal urges!).

Just Lashes is a specialist in eye lash extensions.  And, in an apparent contradiction to the name, it also offers professional teeth whitening, pure mineral cosmetics and quality clip in hair extensions.

Just Lashes can be contacted on 1300 790 898.


Quack if you think this is mad

There’s nothing mad about this Yarra’s Edge mother and son.

Vivienne and Sam Rowe own and run the Mad Duck Café which has become an extension of the lounge rooms of many a tower resident.

Mad Duck combines elegant chic with cosy comfort and has been operating at the base of Tower 5 for the past eight months.

The Mad Duck story is a Docklands community story.

Vivienne and Trevor Rowe introduced their family of three to the joys of inner city apartment living from rural Warrnambool 10 years ago.

Originally settling at Southbank, the Rowes have been a permanent fixture in Docklands for the last five years. 

For most of this time Sam has been travelling – working in his chosen career of hospitality and later chasing the big money during WA’s resources boom and wandering South East Asia.

Putting his savings towards revitalising a struggling café upon his homecoming and creating the Mad Duck was an organic decision.

Between the two of them, Sam and “Vee” manage to put in all the necessary hours and intend pushing the boundaries even further when the warmer weather returns.

With a permit for 80 outdoor seats, the Mad Duck intends to take full advantage of its north-facing aspect and French Riviera ambience.

The Rowe’s claim to have the best coffee south of the river and the foot traffic from the nearby Lorimer St businesses would attest to this.

They say their $15 lunches are a drawcard for the rest of Docklands but perhaps the best reason for northern Docklands to trek across the Webb Bridge is Sunday night roast for $18.50.  Bookings are necessary.

The Mad Duck is at 92 River Esplanade and can be contacted on 9681 8882.


The comfortable Curves Bar and Restaurant

There’s something very comforting in the name “Curves Bar and Restaurant”. 

Curves has emerged from the old Lot 50 establishment in the base of Yarra’s Edge’s Tower One.  It is the inspiration of energetic duo Meri Aceska and Miki Kostantinovic.

The two young women have been on a steep learning curve since opening the doors for the first time on June 18.

The 14 to 18-hour days have just been the start of it.  Being relatively new to restaurants, there is much to learn.

But with unbridled passion for the task and enthusiasm to burn, success is coming to Curves.

The women look forward to the warmer weather when they can bring to life the outdoor space next to the curved road (Wurundjeri Way) and the curved (Webb) bridge.

“We’ve got quite a few adjustments in mind,” Meri (pictured left) said.  “We want to bring the locals out of their apartments to enjoy the sunshine.  In summer time, you won’t want to be anywhere else.”

Miki said inexpensive, quality food and good entertainment would become Curves’ hallmark.

So what does the name really mean? 

“It’s a number of things, but we are not afraid to admit that we are two females with the curves in the right places,” Miki said with a grin.

The business partners met through mutual friends.  Meri is an accountant and has run many varied businesses in the past.  Miki started her career in fashion before moving into hospitality two years ago.

Miki had been looking for a suitable business since early this year.  As her accountant and adviser, Meri gave her the thumbs up the Yarra’s Edge opportunity in March.  Miki then challenged Meri to join her in the venture.  “It took her just three seconds to say yes,” Miki said.

Curves Restaurant and Bar is at 50 River Esplanade and can be contacted on 9646 6250.



May 4th, 2022 - Abby Crawford
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