Sibling self-starters make business fun
DAILY GRIND After making the decision to step away from the rat race and go into business together, Ollie and Hamish Fraser couldn’t be happier. Catherine Healy spoke to them about their latest venture.
If you’ve ever stopped at the drive-through coffee place on Tamaki Drive, you might recognise these faces.
Ollie and Hamish Fraser started that business in 2007 and spent a couple of years getting up at the crack of dawn to grind beans and steam milk.
They were only 25 and 27 years old at the time, but when the chance came up to buy the Lilliputt Minigolf course next door, they took it.
The Fraser boys come from an entrepreneurial Gisborne family. Their parents owned a horse trekking business and the four of them have just started another venture together – a lodge on the family farm.
‘‘I was working in the horse trekking business when I was 14,’’ Hamish says. ‘‘As a family we have plenty of small business knowledge.’’
The boys and their father were keen polo players and Ollie would have loved to play professionally, if an accident hadn’t stopped him. His horse slipped and landed on top of him, shattering his leg.
With so much time on his hands while recovering, his mind wandered. He had a property degree but could see that his fellow graduates were struggling to get work.
‘‘I’d be sitting in bed emailing Hamish, trying to work out how we could make some money.’’
Hamish was working in advertising but was keen to escape and be his own boss.
So together they leapt into the coffee business and then on to mini golf. They extended the Tamaki Drive operation from 18 holes to 36.
Ollie reckons he’s played almost every mini golf course in New Zealand in the name of research.
Their second mini golf operation, The Lost World, has just opened in the basement of the Metro Centre on Queen St.
There are 18 holes which take you on a journey through several themed rooms. One is set in World War I; another is full of pohutukawa and kiwi. There’s even a black light tun- nel where you have to rely on your ball and club glowing in the dark to make your shot.
There are dinosaurs that move and roar as you walk by and giant palm trees which had to be heaved down the stairs by the Frasers’ rugby playing mates.
It was Ollie’s job to go to China and source the right materials. He’s reluctant to say how much he spent on his haul of plastic dinosaurs and trees, but the brothers are very pleased with the overall effect.
They’ve been careful to use every bit of available space so that each hole is big enough and interesting enough to make for an enjoyable game.
‘‘We spent days just drawing on the carpet, designing the holes. Then you start putting bricks in place and hitting balls to see which way they bounce,’’ Hamish says.
Like most siblings the boys are not afraid to abuse each other – and that’s a good thing when you’re in business together, Hamish says.
‘‘It means we don’t bottle anything up. We’ll have a scrap and half an hour later, we’re good again.’’
If things go well at Queen St the Frasers will soon be looking for their next site. The boys already have a ‘‘very cool’’ concept in mind for their next mini golf course.
Brotherly business: Ollie, 31, and Hamish Fraser, 33, are business partners. They own Lilliputt Minigolf on Tamaki Drive and this new mini golf course in Queen St.