Welcome to The Chase – 2017/2018 Annual Report

S. Group / July 20, 2018

Sometimes it takes years to start a ritual, and in this case, it has taken seven. Seven years, as we clocked over to the 2018/19 financial year, that's how many years young S. has turned. Seven years...that's how long we've been meaning to write an annual report to share with you our wins, set-backs and learnings!

This year we've done it. Why? Because we are learning too, so why not share these moments so others don't trip where we did?

We've called this annual report The Chase – `annual report` is just way too clinical for us.

Enjoy, share, send us feedback, talk us down, raise us up... But most of all, let's continue to #ChaseWonder together.

Love, peace and rock n' roll,
S. xoxo

The Chase

What do you call a win? Well for us, it's something you’re proud of, when you find yourself telling others and before you know it, the local paper has quoted it.

We’ve had some damn awesome wins this year that we’re stoked to share – not just in business, but in the positive impact that we’ve had on communities both locally and globally.


Giving is the heart of our why at S. After all, using our skills to positively impact our communities, both locally and globally is why we exist. And we’re proud to walk it like we talk it. Every little action can have a big impact, and we’ve been doing our bit in the world through -

  • Giving through fundraising campaigns, donations, in-kind services from our Brand & Marketing and Architecture teams and community volunteering days. Adding up to over $700,000 in funds and services donated since S. inception seven years ago.
  • Celebrating the opening of our first classroom that we ourselves designed and funded in the Black Sands community in Vanuatu. Check out our little doco on this project here. We dare you not to smile!
  • Helping the next generation of Wonder Chasers in Yogyakarta, Indonesia reach their potential by fully funding the re-development of a Compassion International Child Development Centre.
  • Providing 216 loans to the value of over $35,000 through KIVA. How do we do this? By connecting clients to a cause that aligns with their passions. Like Launceston-based technology firm Eaglecrest, who helped fund a loan to assist rural communities in Tanzania open computer training hubs.


Yep, we have gone from strength-to-strength, and not just because of the brawn of our resident office pin-up, Jez. When Sam and Sarah started the S. dream seven years ago, even they didn’t dream that this little archi business would grow to be a diverse, award-winning creative enterprise!

Under the incredible leadership of our Director Brand and Marketing, Tara Howell (who joined S. in July 2017), the Brand and Marketing team - which only made up 25% of the business last financial year - is now on par with our bearded, partial-to-tight-shirts, archi team. How? We hustled, and then hustled some more, all backed up by smart hiring decisions and a team who are insanely passionate about what they do.

And that means now as a bonus, we get to BAM! By joining forces we roll out projects for clients that begin with brand development and strategy, and ending with some mind-blowing Archi designs.

Here’s some more of the good stuff:

  • As a business, we’re growing faster than #bossman Sam’s hair. Fact. Backed up by the Australian Financial Review naming S. as the 23rd Fastest Growing company in Australia.
  • Just like the Duggars, our family keeps expanding. We added 15 new kick-ass team members in the last financial year. We like to think we’re pretty awesome to work with, and we now have a piece of paper in a cheap frame to prove it - recently named on the 2018 Employer of Choice honour roll.
  • Growing as people – We love nothing more than seeing our fam bam grow as people. Whether that be through professional development or truly nailing a speech that would make Obama’s speechwriters jealous (Javan); learning to open a beer with teeth (Anupa), or watching a grown man attempt to grow some facial hair (Jit) we celebrate our crew. Rain even let a fellow team member hug her. Rain is not a hugger. At all.

If you follow anything to do with S., you probably know all about our wins. After all, this is the stuff that we like to celebrate. But here’s what anyone who runs a small business knows – for every win, you have to fall flat on your face a couple of times for good measure. So, here’s where we swallow our pride and talk about…


Each and every business has the “oh s***” moments that keep them up at night. You can’t love what you do so much without experiencing a bit of pain. It hurts to talk about them but here we go -

  • Project Banbasa – We partnered with the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission (GSAM) in India to design and wholly fund a new staffing facility. Funds raised? Check. Designs complete? Check. Unfortunately, much to the frustration of both GSAM and S. the project has been delayed by statutory complications. We’ll admit - it’s hard to watch a dream which we worked bloody hard to fulfil, struggle to become reality. It’ll get there though!
  • Our Hobart office – we’ve learned a lot here. Fast growth + lack of strategy on how to exactly deal with the growth = major hiccups. We were so excited to expand our reach to Hobart but didn’t take the time to implement a strategy to ensure that the office flourished and failed by not giving the team enough support in terms of leadership and day-to-day operations. Needless to say, we got (suitably) burned for this lack of strategic focus. However, we listened. We learned. And we’re back on track. Much love to our Hobes team!
  • Growing pains – we’re no longer small business start-up. With over 30 team members across three offices we are officially a medium-sized business. It’s been a thrill to grow but with it comes changing, understanding, adapting and maturing to smoothly run as a business of this size. Which brings us to…


We know we don’t know it all, but here’s what we do want to share for any business owners or entrepreneurs ready to take the plunge -

  • When the day-to-day running of a business can become overwhelming we always try to come back to our why. Not only our why for our business, but why for our people and for our clients. When the going gets tough, aligning what we do our purpose is what keeps us going.

Honestly, we encourage all businesses to think about their why? Once you unearth your why, you can build it into your business and it becomes the foundation of who you are and why do it

  • Planning for growth is key. For us – and for all businesses out there big and small - the critical element of properly planning for growth is truly understanding the pain points of all facets of growth. We have learned to be bold in our hiring decisions and most importantly, to not hire too late! Trust us on this one.
  • Culture is King is an oft-repeated mantra in the workplace. But what does this mean? For us, it was pretty bloody simple. Treat your staff like human beings and listen, listen, listen even if it makes you uncomfortable and you don’t want to hear it. Too often, businesses get stuck on focusing on the bottom line, sacrificing all else but at the end of the day, staff who are respected, appreciated and loved will be the driving force behind reaching that bottom line. Just #bekind.
  • Finally, embrace Maktub! Simply, it is making your own path, embracing that journey and making the best decisions you can in the moment. Trust your instincts.

So, there you have it! Our year laid bare. But we can't sign off without addressing a few strange but hilarious fabrications about S. that we need to straighten out.


  • Yes we do pay tax (and we flippin' hate it) and we don't avoid it by giving all our money to the church (we're sure they've got enough money).
  • Yes, Sam's energy levels are insane and we all struggle to keep up but he is high on life not a certain white powder. (Seriously, he won't even drink Coke, let alone touch the white stuff. )
  • Sam and Tara are business partners, not life partners. Yep! Sorry to all the rumour-mongers out there.

We hope you’ve found something in our sharing that has made you think a little more and that you continue to #ChaseWonder.

S. Group Level 1, 10-14 Paterson Street Launceston Tasmania 7250 Australia (03) 6311 1403 Level 1, 90-92 Murray Street Hobart Tasmania 7000 Australia (03) 6251 3906 552 Victoria Street North Melbourne Victoria 3051 Australia (03) 9999 0776