Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

24 Hours with Geoff Iles, decorative visionary

Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

There is no longer such thing as the 9-5 workday. We profile small businesses and track how they run a typical workday to show the variety and personality of businesses across the country.

Geoff Iles, managing director of decorative stone and flooring product supplier Décor Stone, started businesses with his late father in 1973. Since taking over as managing director some 31 years ago, Geoff has built up the paving stone business with a current network of 380 resellers. We chat to Geoff about the joys of working with family, the travel perks of sourcing new products, and the importance of making time to do other things you love.

Tiffany Loh: What time do you wake up in the morning?

Geoff Iles: 5:45am! I’m a firm believer that “the early bird gets the worm”. The more you do, the more you get. First things first, I let in Sasha, our six-year-old golden retriever, then we walk down our driveway together to get the newspaper. 

Tiffany: Newspaper, radio or iPad before work?

Geoff: I like to read the Herald Sun until 7am. The radio goes on next; it’s 3AW for their great news and sport reports.

man and woman sat with dog

On Wednesdays I head to the golf club for an 8:15am tee off. When I started this routine six years ago it was a challenge for me to leave the business for even half a day but I’ve since found that it focuses me and I come back to the office with even more ideas I want to try within the business. 

Tiffany: How do you usually spend your first hour at work?

Geoff: The first hour of work is devoted to clearing the overnight emails, including those from our overseas suppliers in China and Turkey. 

One of the benefits of personally establishing trading relationships with suppliers in countries like China is the visits to the quarries and factories of our suppliers let us see the “real” country. Through these visits our staff has substantially added to their knowledge of what constitutes the best natural stone and the facts needed to educate our customers on their use and care. 

Tiffany: Does your business vary from day-to-day or do you often repeat the same processes. Why/why not?

Geoff: We’ve just taken on a new marketing coordinator who is looking after our social media – which some of us oldies have some difficulties getting our heads around so I’m learning a lot! You have to keep reinventing your company and every platform at your disposal should be used to bring your name to those who haven’t heard of you before.

Tiffany: Lunch; at your desk or out of the office? 

Geoff: Lunch is always at my desk at 12:30pm. Sasha, our dog comes in from the factory at this time on Mondays to remind me it’s time for our lunch. Peta who is also our finance director brings her into the office while she looks after the company’s accounts.

 

No one day is ever the same, and that’s where the excitement lies.

- Geoff Iles, Décor Stone

Tiffany: What’s the best part of your job? 

Geoff: I get to work with my family and see my sons contribute to the business through their own particular skills. Grant, our younger son, is a qualified carpenter and runs training days for TAFE Colleges and trains students on application techniques of our various Décor Stone products. 

Our older son Andrew is involved in the computer industry and he set up our server and provides installation and upgrading of our system. He is able to access our system remotely to fix any glitches that may arise, as a true expert.

Tiffany: It’s 3:30pm. How many cups of coffee have you had?

Geoff: Morning hot chocolate is always provided by one of the team at 10:30am with liquorice black tea in the afternoon. There used to be two marshmallows with the chocolate, but the waistline said “no more”. 

Tiffany: How much work do you get done after 5pm, or do you use that to allocate tasks for the next day?

I head home at 5:30pm just in time to sit down with Peta to go over the day’s events with a Pernod and Diet Coke. One of my major forms of relaxation and reflection on the business and decisions is in the warmer months with a hose in hand ensuring that our landscaped gardens receive the required watering. 

Geoff: Who’s cooking/buying dinner tonight?

Peta is the kitchen cook in our family, while I look after the BBQ on the front patio. I also buy the fish and chips on Friday night and pizza on Sunday night, so I feel that am providing a good percentage of the evening dinners! 

Tiffany: What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed?

Geoff: When the television goes off, Sasha stands up, knowing it’s bed time, so she heads off to the laundry to her bed. The last thing I do before going to bed is to turn the TV on in our bedroom to the late news and set 30-60 minutes on the time clock – we always drop off before the TV goes off.

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