Jayme CooneyCertificate III in Furnishings (2003)

Business Owner

With her bubbly personality and girlish looks, you’d be forgiven for assuming Jayme Cooney was your average girl next door. On the contrary, she is a successful business owner, tradesperson and mother… all at the age of 26!

Deciding that traditional academic pursuits were not for her, Jayme left school at 16 to join a kitchen company as an apprentice cabinet maker, while studying the trade at Box Hill Institute. This combined her love of making things with her hands, and interest in colours and interior design.

As a female in a male-dominated industry, Jayme quickly found that the best way to gain respect was to be exceptionally good at her job. And this she was: while at Box Hill Institute, Jayme won the Lion’s Club Encouragement Award for First Year Apprentices and later the Multiplex Student Apprentice Award.

Not content to study the technical aspects of her trade alone, Jayme also completed courses in Small Business Management and Interior Decoration – something that she recommends to every apprentice as “it’s the period in your life when you have time to do extra things”.

Her studies completed, Jayme stepped away from her trade briefly to try a stint as a kitchen designer, but found being away from the hands-on aspect of the business frustrating. She wanted to be involved in the whole process, and from this desire her own business, O’Beachy Designs, was born.

The company specialises in designing and installing custom-made kitchens, and soon after its inception Jayme won RMIT’s award for Outstanding Achievement by a Practicing Tradesperson in 2005.

Today O’Beachy Designs employs a team of tradespeople, many of whom have been working with Jayme for years. Her husband also forms part of the team.

Now Jayme’s greatest challenge is no longer building her business, but rather finding more time to spend with her two-year-old daughter. In between balancing work and home life, Jayme is also building her own beach house on the block she bought when she was eighteen.

What next? If she continues at the same pace as she has over the last 10 years, we could expect anything!