Name Melissa Burgess
A.K.A Mel
Business Op for Change
Location Manly

What’s your favourite place on the Northern Beaches?
Too many to list, so right now it’d be chilling on a Friday night at home in front of the firepit.

Is there something about you that would surprise people?
I’ve performed in a Theatre sports show at Belvoir St Theatre and have an acting background.

What’s something everyone should do at least once?
Take an acting class.

It’s Sunday afternoon, where do we find you?
Probably catching up on things round the house and then planning our regular Sunday night family dinner at a local restaurant.

If you were down to your last $50 what would you spend it on?
Yum cha at Green Sprouts Neutral Bay.


How did Op for Change happen?  How long have you been operating?
We’ve been open just over a year. Op for Change came to me as a fully formed idea which then fell into place after we found our perfect shop location in Manly. Thanks Pine Property!

Best business experience?
To trust myself and my own intuition, but to also be open to other people’s ideas and feedback.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
In my dreams a rock singer or radio host.

Best part of your job or most enjoyable part of your job?
Having my good friend Gini come on board unexpectedly before I opened, and seeing the results of our collaboration over the past year. Becoming a registered charity and receiving so much support from our community, which then allowed us to donate more to our featured charities than I ever could have imagined. Plus, meeting and connecting with so many wonderful people through the shop. We’ve just hosted our first learn to draw class and have plans for a regular book club.

Most stressful part of your job?
Initially worrying if I was going to be able to make the rent each month. Now it’s the learning curve as I work on our online store!

Weirdest thing that has ever happened at work?
A customer who came in for a browse and then proceeded to place what seemed like half the shop on the counter.

What’s the best part of working on the Northern Beaches? Why’d you choose to work here?
Luckily the shop location found us, so the best part is being able to live and work in Manly, especially after the long commute from my previous job.


What would you rate 10/10?
The support of my husband Ian for whatever crazy tangent my ideas take me on, my four children who have each supported the shop in different ways and the enthusiastic welcome home from my dogs each day.

What is the best advice you’ve received?
The power of habits and that from little things, big things grow.

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this week?
Receiving a song as a birthday gift from two of my children and seeing it released on Spotify and Apple Music.

Greatest strength?
ADHD – good out-of-the-box thinking, creativity, and hyperfocus when needed.

Greatest weakness?
Haha also ADHD… and taking on too much.

Does anything scare you?
Taking on too much… and heights.

What’s your idea of absolute happiness?
A weekday dog walk around Narrabeen Lagoon or Manly Dam, and a Friday firepit night.

Which two famous people would you choose to be stuck in a lift with?
Someone who’s an expert on whatever I’m currently trying to learn and someone else to get us out of the lift.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Truffle chips.

Who’s your personal hero?
My mum.

If you were an animal, what would you be?
Definitely a dog, they’ve nailed the right outlook on life.

How would you like to be remembered?
Someone who stayed true to themselves, was willing to give most things a go and hopefully contributed something good to the world.

If we could ask you one more question, what would it be and what’s your answer?
How can people support Op for Change? Come in for a shop and a chat, follow us on social media and spread the word. And help us find a new home next year!