Angie Mansey, the 2019 Telstra Queensland Business Women’s Small Business Award, built Kuluin Mufflers known for high-end workmanship, customer service, and its contribution to the local community. Here she tells her story to The Carousel.
Three and a half years ago, I was a specialist dental nurse, a mother to four sons and about to completely change the foundations of my life.
Eight years ago, my second son was born with a rare and life-threatening medical condition which turned our lives upside down. We spent all of our time in and out of hospitals for endless surgeries, watching on as he was repeatedly resuscitated from flat lining.
In November 2015, his liver failed and our lives began to fall to pieces. Already 21 surgeries deep, we had drained our entire life savings on travelling to major hospitals for his surgeries. Still holding down a part-time job, while my husband Luke worked full time to support our family, we soon realised that the status quo would have to change.
So, in 2016, we sold our family home, so we could invest in my new business venture, Kuluin Mufflers (KM). Without a doubt, it was the biggest risk I had ever taken. At that time, we were $120,000 in debt, with no assets and no business experience.
Running this business was a steep learning curve for me. Thankfully, that risk has since paid off.
I had a vision of creating a business that would help me balance the needs of my family and allow me to pursue my passion for cars, while also proactively supporting my community.
KM is an exhaust specialist centre that provides our own brand exhaust systems for a large range of vehicles in Australia and New Zealand. Our niche market is the V8 muscle, classic show cars and anything in the left-of-centre category. Our objective is to create that perfect “rumble” for the owner’s pride and joy.
As the managing director, I manage the financials, growth, customer service, social media, marketing, events, branding, merchandising designs and sales that come hand-in-hand with our ever-expanding empire. At the same time, as the main carer of my son, at least one of my young children is always by my side at our workshop. We’ve built a special lounge room within the workshop to help us manage our family needs.
Juggling family and business is a challenge, but our business has achieved great heights in the past three years. With no knowledge of the existing boundaries in the automotive industry, I was building up KM to shatter glass ceilings without even realising.
The most important thing that the KM brand stands for is its continued involvement in philanthropy.
We have helped the community around us through hosting large-scale car events that have raised tens of thousands of dollars for charities close to our hearts.
We are known in the community as an advocate of suicide prevention and mental health awareness, offering a place of support to those in need. Recently I launched my own not-for-profit charity Driven By KM, which allows me to have a greater positive impact on families with chronically or terminally ill children.
KM is a business with a heart and soul. It stands for something real. It gives hope to others, and with one heck of a rumble on its way down the street.
To be recently announced as the Small Business Award winner in the 2019 Telstra Queensland Business Women’s Awards was such an incredible moment and a memory I will treasure always. To be in a room filled with such accomplished and hard-working women was a highlight in itself and a testament to the hard work and the long hours I’ve put into both my family and my business.
ABOUT ANGIE MANSEY
Angie Mansey followed her dreams, selling the family home and assets to build her exhaust specialist business, Kuluin Mufflers.
As an advocate for raising awareness for mental health and suicide prevention, Angie has created a place where people can come and learn how to work on their cars when they want company or need help with work placements. She has also recently started a charity called Driven By KM, aimed at helping chronically and terminally sick children in the community.
Angie received the 2019 Telstra Queensland Business Women’s Small Business Award.