Standing tall on Montague Road, The Joinery is a dynamic event space in West End that was created by local sisters Maria Nicolaou and Penny Culpo. Recently, the sisters celebrated the venues third birthday and reflected on their journey.
Astute working mums, the pair absorbed everything there is to know about hospitality from their hard working Greek migrant parents. “The idea for The Joinery came to us as we were lamenting the lack of flexible event spaces for hire in Brisbane. We were already managing our family catering business, Chez Nous Corporate, so would see with our own eyes how little variety and versatility there was available at the time,” Maria said.
Three years on and The Joinery has served thousands of meals, countless glasses of Champagne, and welcomed the entire Brisbane Lions’ team, the My Kitchen Rules judging panel, Olympians, politicians and television personalities and famed musicians. It has hosted all manner of events, including weddings, engagement parties, christenings, birthday celebrations, corporate events, conferences, car launches, fashion shoots and even a yoga and barre workshop. Through all of this, Maria and Penny continue to learn and grow. “We have learnt to always keep sight of our vision and not let unforeseen problems derail our path. We have come to realise that it’s not so much about what happens but how you handle it which can make all the difference. And there is always a solution, it just might not be the obvious one,” Maria said. “As working mothers, we have also learnt the importance of finding balance in work and family life. The demands of a career in hospitality are unrelenting but you can’t put a price on time with your family. We try hard to split the out-of-hours workload between each other so we both have opportunities to enjoy downtime with our family.”
Maria attributes much of the pair’s success to the close relationship they share. “Operating a business with a sibling, in particularly a close sister, means we both share an innate understanding of each other’s personalities, values and beliefs. We are also equally invested. This transparency and understanding makes day-to-day communication and delivering objectives much more efficient and less time is wasted on tip toeing around each other’s feeling,” she said. Their personality types and business styles are different yet complementary. “At times, I bring Penny back down to earth and at others, Penny encourages me to dream bigger. We have learnt a lot together and continue to learn from each other. We wouldn’t share the journey with anyone else!”
Penny and Maria are excited to continue growing their business together. Many plans are in the works this year including market days, pop ups, cooking classes and dinner collaborations. This year, the joinery will hosts its first Melbourne Cup event. “We are always thinking big picture and would love to expand The Joinery if the opportunity presented itself”
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