all fired up for global attention
Aurora Suspended Fires arose from the perfect marriage of Chloe Allan’s creative talents with Neil’s engineering background. But building a successful business selling suspended fireplaces was an unexpected turn for this husband and wife team.
“I never expected to find myself working in an industrial estate being in charge of a team of boiler makers, never in a million years,” Chloe says, of their Ballina-based manufacturing space.
Chloe’s creative career path saw her working as an actor for 10 years, then retraining as a video editor, before retraining again as a high school English and Drama teacher when she started a family. But life felt a bit out of balance, Chloe says.
“Our girls were four and five at the time when I was working long hours at Shearwater Steiner School, doing a long commute each way, while Neil was working five weeks on, five weeks off, offshore as a marine engineer,” Chloe says.
The couple had just finished building their home in Lennox Head during this career crunch time, when Neil first spotted a suspended fireplace in an inflight magazine.
“He rang me up and said, ‘These fires are amazing, I’d be prepared to drop nine or ten grand on one of those’,” Chloe says. “But when we researched it we saw, ‘Oh my god, these are $20,000’.”
This put the designer fireplaces beyond the couple’s budget, but Neil was so inspired he decided to build one himself.
“I’m the rules and regulations person,” Chloe laughs, “I pulled him back from the brink and said it won’t be compliant, it’ll bugger up our insurance. You can’t just build a fire for your house,” she says.
“That’s when we thought, ‘If we want one of these, there must be a market for them at a more accessible price’.”