When Jess and Ayden Hogan popped onto our screens earlier this year, the country well and truly fell in love. Favourites on both The Block Triple Threat and Reno Rumble, I always admired Jess for her loveable nature and her ability to be ever-patient with her funny man husband (she’s a better women than me!).
Spending many late nights doing back to back renos, their efforts paid off, with the duo scoring $665,000 on The Block, and a few month later, $50,000 and a car for winning Reno Rumble. But for Jess, it still doesn’t seem real. “We really can’t believe we’ve won. Every week we would say to each other that this would be our last week and we just kept on getting through. Reno Rumble was really tough but really great at the same time! Ayden and I learnt a lot about how to renovate and work to a client’s brief.”
[contextly_sidebar id=”5KF1UdjXoKjR4IUrjKXWKc4wQiSqf8Sc”]As reality TV veterans, the question that came straight to mind was which show was harder and which one was better? “Reno Rumble was more physically and mentally exhausting because we were doing a house every week and there never seemed like there was enough time! The Block was hard because we had no design experience at all and we found being judged on that every week pretty tough. They were both challenging but the best experiences of our lives! If I had to choose, I’d probably say Reno Rumble because of all the experience we gained.”
Now taking a well deserved break from the tools, Jess has begun working with her parents on their family business, Banksia Gifts Australia. Having been around for 30 years, in 2010 the company changed tack, moving away from the artistic and expensive works of art to cater more for the gift and tourist market. “We started exhibiting at Reed Gift Fairs and realised that the gift market was huge and largely untapped where our products were concerned,” explains Jess. “After trading for 20 plus years as Hansen Galleries we felt that the name bore no relevance to our current business, so Banksia Gifts Australia was formed.”
Selling Australian designed and made products — turned from the humble Banksia seed pod — they sell everything from tea lights and coasters to scent pods and eucalyptus oil. Jess’ father Tony is the designer, turner, production manager and everything in between and her mother Liz manages all of the finishing, packaging, packing and shipping. “Dad has been a professional turner for over thirty years now, and dare I say, is one of the best and last remaining in Australia. Mum is his right hand man and handles just about everything else. They are a dream team and I don’t know any other married couple that work as well as these two do! Then, I do all the sales, marketing, accounts, concepts, research and anything else I can do to help.”However, while Jess is enjoying working with her parents, she’s not said goodbye to renovating for good! “We are currently drawing up plans for our own home and can’t wait to get started on building that later in the year. Ayden also plans on starting a renovation business of his own and so I feel we will always be renovating now. We’ve got the bug!”
— Jess Hogan and Banksia Gifts Australia will be exhibiting at Reed Gift Fairs, Melbourne from 1 to 5 August.
Belinda Smith says
It was delightful to watch Jess introduce her Dad’s unique and attractive products on The Block. Also to watch the interaction between her and Ayden – how did they keep their sense of humour under the circumstances?