Meet the Swanky Australia Team!

Meet the Shopify Plus experts based in our Toowoomba office. This is your trusty Swanky Australia team!

Written By
Esther Lowde

Since the launch of Swanky Australia in November 2019, our Aussie team have been busy driving results for clients across the APAC region and beyond. Allow us to introduce you to our ecommerce experts down under!

Who are Swanky Australia?

In late 2019, our Swanky team decided to take their passion for helping clients to the other side of the globe. Their aim was to help Shopify continue to establish itself as the right solution for small, medium and large businesses across the APAC region; one of the fastest-growing markets in ecommerce. And so, Swanky Australia was born

Swanky’s Aussie branch is led by our Head of Optimisation, Sean Clanchy, who has years of experience working in the world of ecommerce – and knows pretty much everything there is to know about Shopify. 

Since Swanky Australia’s launch, Sean’s team has been rapidly growing, with every member of the team bringing a wealth of technical expertise to the table, united by their passion for helping clients thrive and scale.

Just like in our UK headquarters, our Aussie experts specialise in a variety of ecommerce services; from migrating your business to Shopify, refreshing your web design and perfecting your digital strategy, to helping you take your store international and even creating custom apps to suit your business’ unique needs.

Some of the exciting brands our Aussie team have already had the pleasure of working with include fast-growing subscription brand Whisky Loot, new jewellery kid on the block Medley (a sister brand of global jewellery retailer Michael Hill) and local fashion retailer Goondiwindi Cotton.

Of course, all of Swanky Australia’s services are tailored to each brand’s unique goals and requirements, as our Aussie team are every bit as passionate as their UK counterparts about providing a personal service

Based right next to Toowoomba’s new international airport, they’ll even happily fly out and meet you for a face-to-face consultation – followed by multiple digital catchups day-to-day! 

So, without further ado, let’s get to know them a little better:

Sean Clanchy: Managing Director of Swanky Australia and Head of Optimisation

Nickname: Fat Pat (Patrick is my middle name – thanks Dad!)

Age: 31 

Born in: Brisbane, Australia

Favourite part of the day: Either dawn or late at night. It’s the best time of the day to watch the stars… or go fishing! And if I’m travelling, it’s the best time of day to avoid travellers and see locals being locals.

Why do you work at Swanky Australia?  I love solving problems! We have clients all around the world selling different products, in different locations, with different marketing strategies and different needs. The insight I get into how these people have built their businesses and lives – as well as the satisfaction I get from helping them out – is pretty awesome!

What would you say to someone thinking about working with Swanky? We have an expression in the office: “strong opinions, loosely held”. By all means be passionate, but also be open to change. We are always trying to improve ourselves, our knowledge, our processes and our skills. We want to work with people who want to grow as much as we do. 

Funniest story? When we first got access to our new office in Toowoomba, I spent 2 weeks sat on the floor of the office waiting for our furniture to arrive. Every day, it was supposedly “out for delivery” but it never actually came. Eventually, after much chasing, I got a hold of the courier and we discovered that he’d been outside but not coming in as we didn’t have any signs up yet and he didn’t want to deliver to the wrong address… I had the numbest butt in the world from sitting on the floor for so long!

How many countries have you travelled to? Fifteen! Australia, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, South Africa, England, Wales, Scotland, France, Belgium, Holland, Canada, the USA, Spain, Singapore and Hong Kong. 

Favourite hobby? Walking my dog, the wicked Miss Wendy. Fishing. Reading. Or playing rugby (back in the day!)

Andrew Newman: Lead Front-End Web Developer

Nickname: Drew or Andy

Age: 30. More importantly, I’m one month younger than Sean!

Born in: Ohio, USA

Favourite part of the day: Work-wise, the start of the day is probably my favourite part. I love grabbing a coffee and discussing what the team’s up to, our goals for the day and what we’re heading towards. It’s a great way to refocus and get in the right headspace before attacking the day. Outside of work, I love my time in the gym. It allows me to re-energize and I definitely feel my best when I’ve had a good week at the gym. It’s important to spend some time away from a desk and monitor!

Why do you work at Swanky Australia? I’ve known Sean for a long time and this opening at Swanky Australia sounded like a great opportunity to do something a little different. Whereas my past role was much more focussed on development and completing someone else’s vision, I love that at Swanky I can get involved with more business-related components and strategy. One of the biggest selling points for myself was also the opportunity to travel, which has always been my reason for getting into the tech industry. 

What would you say to someone thinking about working with Swanky? Swanky is a great place to learn and grow while working with a lot of different business types, rather than being stuck in one product or line. Obviously, there will still be overlap in the ways things are done, but it’s great being able to work on different things on a daily basis.

Funniest story? Recently, I was out for drinks with some friends in Osaka. A group of Japanese people came in celebrating a birthday and ordered a bottle of gin, but it turned out to be a much bigger ordeal than the party had expected. As much as they tried, no one could get the lid off! The party guests, the barman, everyone at the surrounding tables, were all defeated by this gin lid – and we weren’t allowed to try using a knife to open it because (after being shown the suggestion by my friend on Google Translate) the barman screamed “Noo! Too dangerous!”. Eventually, a fairly big guy from a different table was able to get the bottle open (after about 15 minutes of attacking it with a fork!) and the birthday boy, along with his new friends, was rewarded with free shots. So it was worth it in the end! 

How many countries have you travelled to? Seven. USA (lived in), Grenada (lived in), Australia (lived in), Carriacou, Petite Martinique, New Zealand and – most recently – Japan.

Favourite hobby? Basketball. 

Jess Paroz: Graphic Designer

Nickname: The Angry One (due to my grumpy resting face!)

Age: 28

Born in: Toowoomba, Australia 

Favourite part of the day: The morning coffee run. Coffee is life, as any good coder knows.  

Why do you work at Swanky Australia? After working as a Graphic and Print Designer for the past 6 years, I was looking for a new challenge. Having enjoyed working in the ecommerce field before as a Front End Developer, it’s been great to jump back in! 

Funniest story? Most of my funny stories involve me being clumsy, running into something and hurting myself.

How many countries have you travelled to? Four! Japan, Noumea, Lifou and Vanuatu.

Favourite hobby? Arts & Crafts. Or being a Crazy Cat Lady…

Paul Davis: Digital Project Administrator

Nickname: Pazz or Meza

Age: 24

Born in: Darwin, NT

Favourite part of the day: Whenever I get to do QA. I am very good at breaking things, and it’s nice to not have to worry about messing it up and breaking it, because that’s exactly what I’m trying to do! 

Why do you work at Swanky Australia?There’s a great team dynamic at Swanky Australia. I felt very much part of the team right from the off.

What would you say to someone thinking about working with Swanky? Swanky is a great company to partner with if you’re looking to set up an ecommerce store with Shopify or Shopify Plus. We’re big enough to satisfy all of your needs, but small enough to ensure we give our clients a personal experience (instead of just being handed from department to department like some of the bigger companies do). We work with clients all over the world, so no matter where you are, we’re the right company for you.

Funniest story? I’ve not been here for long, so it’s a bit early to be revealing all that goes on in the office 😉

How many countries have you travelled to? 3, if you include Australia. I’ve also been to Singapore and Thailand in 2012, which was good fun, if a little hot and humid!

Favourite hobby? I play video games in my spare time. A bit of everything, but I particularly like puzzle games, or games with a really in-depth story. I also play Dungeons and Dragons with my friends every Sunday afternoon, and can often be found getting absolutely absorbed in a good book. My favourite book series is The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb, but I’m also really enjoying Robert Jordan’s series The Wheel of Time

Oluwaleke Tade: Junior Web Developer

Nickname: Leke, Lekus or Lekustic

Age: 33 

Born in: Lagos, Nigeria

Favourite part of the day: Well, my least favourite part of the day is definitely waking up in the morning, so every other part of the day is probably my favourite! 

Why do you work at Swanky Australia? Before Swanky, I worked for 7 years as a Radio Access Network Engineer in the Telecommunications industry. But when I did a project-related paper on using web applications to increase team productivity, I got absolutely hooked on web development – and the rest is history! I especially love that with Swanky, I have the opportunity to actually ‘create’ for our customers without being locked to any hardware vendor. Plus, Toowoomba’s weather is pretty awesome (especially compared to the UK)!

What would you say to someone thinking about working with Swanky? Even though I haven’t worked here very long, I always feel that my thoughts and opinions are heard here, which is awesome. The team are very supportive, the work space is super transparent and there’s a real sense of involvement with everyone here. 

Funniest story? When I was 7 years old, I climbed onto the top of a car and stayed there for half an hour to escape being chased by a dog… which turned out to be a puppy!

How many countries have you travelled to? Not too many! I’ve travelled to the UK (Scotland, England), the Benin Republic and Australia.

Favourite hobby? It has to be a tie between watching wildlife documentaries and playing football video games (psst… PES is better than FIFA!)

Stephen Gouma: Project Manager

Nickname: Steve

Age: 26

Born in: Donnybrook, Australia

Favourite part of the day: Afternoons, for sure. I like the feeling of completing a productive day.

Why do you work at Swanky Australia? Swanky has large potential for growth, which is something I would like to be a part of!

What would you say to someone thinking about working with Swanky? From my experience of working with multiple agencies, Swanky is very clearly a people-first agency. Everyone in the team is very happy working here.

Funniest story? Earlier this year I went to New Zealand for what I thought was going to be a two-month holiday. I ended up being there for six months because of the COVID pandemic! At least the snow was good!

How many countries have you travelled to? I would estimate at least 30.

Favourite hobby? Snowboarding!

Niki Patel: Junior Front End Developer

Age: 24

Born in: Ahmedabad, India

Favourite part of the day: The entire day is my favourite, but especially evenings when I finish all my tasks for the day.

Why do you work at Swanky Australia? After working as a Front End Developer for Shopify Agencies, I found that Swanky is the best place to learn more about ecommerce and improve my development skills.

What would you say to someone thinking about working with Swanky? In just a short period of time, it was clear to me that Swanky’s team environment is friendly and supportive.

Funniest story? In India, I used to go out with my friends on bikes. One day, a friend needed to fill his fuel tank. We were in a hurry, so after filling up he just drove off and accidentally left me at the petrol station! After a few minutes he realised his mistake and quickly came back to pick me up. That moment was a bit embarrassing, but still whenever we met we laughed a lot! 

How many countries have you travelled to? Three: India, Australia and Singapore.

Favourite hobby? I enjoy playing badminton, watching comedy shows, listening to music, and cooking as well.

Kate Phillips: Ecommerce Manager

Nickname: Katie Nee 

Age: 33

Born in: Brisbane, QLD

Favourite part of the day: I love sitting in the morning sun with my hubby, drinking an almond flat white and listening to the birds welcome me to the day!

Why do you work at Swanky Australia? I actually know Sean, the Director of Swanky Australia, really well (he’s my little brother). I already worked within the industry, although in a slightly less fast-paced segment. I listened to all the exciting projects he was working on constantly. When he asked if I would be interested in joining the team I jumped at the opportunity. 

What would you say to someone thinking about working with Swanky? Whether you are looking to work for Swanky, or a potential client looking to work with Swanky, we are a whole bunch of people with really diverse backgrounds and strengths that operate as a team to achieve some really amazing outcomes. We have a really strong culture around learning and sharing knowledge and ideas, where even the smallest of chats have you learning something new, and generally something pretty cool!

What do you love most about the eCommerce world? Having come from a marketing and business background, but primarily working within service-based businesses, I absolutely love how targeted, but also how measurable your successes and failures are. eCommerce allows you to test and iterate campaigns so quickly and to ensure that you are rarely wasting budget on campaigns that are no longer performing. Google Analytics is one of my favourite tools.

Best eCommerce tip? Make Google Analytics your best friend. Play in there and find the bits of data that show you something you didn’t expect … then leverage what you learn!

How many countries have you travelled to? Not enough! And COVID has upset the Apple Cart for any additional countries I was hoping to add in 2020. I think the current count is 7.

Favourite hobby? Reading! As a child, I would read the back of the shampoo bottle in the shower when I was separated from a good book! I love acquiring new knowledge and can’t think of a better way than by reading!

Michael Wagstaff: Digital Project Administrator

Nickname: Mike, Mickey, Mikey, Mick

Age: 32

Born in: Hobart, Tasmania

Favourite part of the day: Dinner time! Why? Because I get to cook a meal for my family and see my daughter’s reaction to a good home cooked meal – it’s kinda cute 🙂 

Why do you work at Swanky Australia? I followed Swanky from the moment that they arrived in Toowoomba. The business was new, with a young team in a cutting edge industry and I just wanted to be part of it, as a natural progression to the overall career aspirations I possess!

What would you say to someone thinking about working with Swanky? If you want to work with a team who are passionate about helping you to grow, learn and succeed, that is Swanky exactly. They are caring, supportive and just want to see you achieve your goals.

What do you love most about the eCommerce World? The fact that it is online. You don’t have to have the day-to-day of bricks-and-mortar but you can achieve the same (or better) outcomes because there is so much flexibility. If you are analytical, it is the most amazing industry. In the eComm world you can express yourself in a way you can’t in bricks-and-mortar – you are not limited to any boxes. 

Best eCommerce tip? Content is KING!

How many countries have you travelled to? Only to Australia so far.

Favourite hobby? Cooking! And with anything related to tech, music, movies, TV or video games, I’m all in.

You’ll find our Aussie team at their super-swanky office in central Toowoomba. (Image credit: Kate Phillips, WiseOwl Photography.)

Could Swanky Australia help transform your ecommerce store?

If you’re an Australian business looking for help with your store design, Shopify Plus migration or digital strategy, we’d love to hear from you!

We’re passionate about helping ambitious, high-growth brands unlock their potential and achieve their ecommerce dreams. 

Just check out some of our Aussie success stories to see some of the amazing results we’ve generated for our clients!

Please do get in touch with one of our friendly ecommerce experts at Swanky Australia if you’d like to find out more.

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