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AAMI Queen to AAMI Customer | Introducing Philmah’s Werqshop


"One thing I promised myself was that I was going to do it properly. This means that I wanted to have everything in place so that I can be the best at what I do."

Philmah Bocks, aside from being one of Australia’s most darling drag queens, is also the owner and creative director of Philmah’s WerqShop; the pastel paradise where all the magic of Philmah’s fabulous events, ‘Phoamy’ foam wigs, and drag makeovers take place. 

We were lucky enough to chat with the Queen herself to discuss the inner WERQings of her business, which goes above and beyond the scope of your standard studio space. From the daunting three-month set-up, all the way to witnessing her client’s thrilled reactions to the finished product, Philmah spills the tea on what to expect as a small business-owner.

Firstly, tell us about Philmah’s Werqshop!

The WerqShop is a fabulously creative space, that not only celebrates the last 25 years of my career, but enables me to continue the journey. The bright, 50’s pastel studio is a fun and inviting place to work, and I love coming into it every day. I’m surrounded by pictures of previous work, awards and glitter; it’s a true lady cave.

The WerqShop is a place where designs, costumes, headpieces and makeovers take place, and a hub for fellow artists to use and enjoy. It’s also a production office, where large events get organised and shows get mixed and created. The multi-functional space is a melting pot of all things glittery. 

Instagram @philmahbocks

How did you develop the idea for your small business?

I have previously managed and run quite a few studio spaces and work rooms for other businesses and companies in the past, so it’s always been part of my career. Taking what I’ve learnt from working with these successful studio spaces, plus the frustration of working out of my kitchen, I decided it was time. With the extra financial security awarded by hard work and from being part of a fabulous national TVC campaign (lucky), I was able to commit and create my brand new shop! 

What are some of the highs and lows of owning a small business?

I imagine most people who run a small business would say the same; the highlights are being the boss of your own company, of course. You get to manage your own time and thrive in its successes, creating happy clients and incredible work. I’m grateful for this, as I get to choose to be a child again and play with fun fabrics, feathers and sequins whilst listening to my favorite music, or even watching a movie. 

With great power comes great responsibility, and that’s where being an adult comes in. You’re the one usually working the long hours to make sure everything is in place; quotes, networking, and ensuring that contractors are paid, the invoices are sent, and the bills are paid; emails are sent, and the phone gets answered, all with a smile. This all takes my time off the studio floor, but it’s all okay because I have a stunning team around me who support this and keep the wheels turning. 

What have been your favourite things about opening and running Philmah’s Werqshop?

I love being surrounded by all my achievements; my gallery of stars and creations. I’ve absolutely loved turning the ugly duckling of a space in to this glittering Queendom and if there’s one thing I never get tired of, then it’s the reaction when people first step in to the space. It’s such a sensory stimulation and the gasps are always a fun way of knowing that what you’ve created is something special. I also love making my clients happy and seeing their excitement from the costume or product that I’ve created for them. 

Instagram @philmahbocks

Do you have any tips for aspiring business owners? 

Being true to yourself and your product, they both come first. A good business plan and a set of achievable goals was mandatory for me. When I started the three-month set-up and fit-out, one thing I promised myself was that I was going to do it properly. This means that I wanted to have everything in place so that I can be the best at what I do. The right equipment, kitchen, washing, storage solutions, office and wardrobe space all needed the right attention to detail. I also needed the whole business end in place, such as my security system and business insurances. If anything were to go wrong, I feel safe and secure that I’m covered for anything unforeseen. 

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What’s it like being both an AAMI Queen and an AAMI customer?

OMG I am just loving it hehehe - I’m so proud to have been chosen to be a representative of AAMI and to have been given the opportunity to be part of this incredible journey. I’m not sure if anybody knew at the time of the TVC shoot how well it was going to be received by Australia. There’s been so much extra activation following the TVC and I have enjoyed every moment. I think we all have. AAMI's sponsorship of the Broken Heel Festival makes me so proud and I couldn’t not give a little back and also become an AAMI customer. Like anyone would, I shopped around a little but came back to home base, as AAMI were not only compassionate to my business aesthetics but also the most competitive in price. Thanks AAMI dolls! 

Instagram @philmahbocks

Where are you off to?!

As I speak, I’m on another big adventure - as the script once wrote: “We’re off the Broken Heel! We’re off to Broken Heel!” I’m currently a part of a wonderful incentive for the Broken Heel Festival, a mentorship for two young indigenous queens up in Lismore. 

Then I’m jumping back in the car and driving to Broken Hill for three days of drag, divas and disco in the desert... our glittering festival. It’s our 4th year and we are gearing up for a massive party in the Outback. I’m so proud of what we have achieved, both the workshop and the Festival, so thank you AAMI!

From our charming chat with Philmah, we know that any small business starts with a dazzling idea and a whole lot of passion, so the best way to keep the dream alive is to be prepared for the unexpected. Security systems and insurance are as integral to a small business as a gleaming business plan and a set of achievable goals. As Philmah wisely recounts, “with great power comes great responsibility”, and nothing says responsibility like knowing you’re covered if anything takes a turn for the not-so fabulous.

Find out why more than 60,000 businesses trust AAMI with their business insurance – get a quote online or call 13 22 44 to speak to a business specialist (8.30am – 6pm AEST/AEDT, Mon-Fri).

Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as AAMI Business Insurance. Any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before you make any decision regarding this product. The Target Market Determination is also available.

Instagram @philmahbocks

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