17 November, 2006
Taken from Gold Coast bulletin 17/11/06, page 75
With a passion for opals, Wayne and Estella Sedawie established Opal Plus more that 14 years ago and have found the internet to be a valuable tool. It’s where most of the company’s international transactions take place. Their affinity with the colourful Australian stone evolved when Wayne’s brother Paul got stuck in Lightning Ridge – the home of the black opal.
He fell in love with opals, converted the rest of the family and now one of his nephews now mines the gem. To get the business up and running, the couple used students from TAFE, Griffith and Bond to help build their original websites.. “We now have more than 40 websites with our main site handling sales of more than 50,000 opals to 58 countries,” he said.
“In the beginning we encountered a lot of hurdles – most of which were IT related.” “We have ironed out the problems and the internet sites now allow us to give our customers what they want.” When asked about the awards he had gained from running his own business, Mr Sedawie said he got satisfaction from being in control of his own destiny.
“It takes long hours to build up a business, and a long-term plan and goals need to be clearly mapped out.” “Being so passionate about opals, we feel the excitement and astonishment of our buyers and that drives us on even more to improve our site and our service. A love of opals is like that.” “It drives a passion throughout all areas of your life.”
The Sedawie family has friends who mine opal from Koroit to Quilpie, which allows them to buy direct from the source.
Mr Sedawie said an online auction was created that contained more than 16,000 items where consumers could buy and sell opals, gemstones and jewellery. Opal Plus won the retail, wholesale and distribution section of the September round of the 2006 Gold Coast Business Excellence Awards.
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