Media releases

Three city businesses are the toast of the state

Published 28 November 2016

A top-selling dog products company, a digital agency that allows its staff to bring their dogs to work and a marketing manager who redesigned an international wine brand clinched top honours on Friday night at the 2016 NSW Business Chamber State Business Awards.

The inner-Sydney-based Ivory Coat Companion Goods, Sitback Solutions and Imogen Hayes of DMG Fine Wines triumphed in their battle for best in state, taking home the Excellence in Small Business, Employer of Choice and Young Business Executive category awards respectively.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore congratulated the three City-based businesses on their impressive wins.

“It’s terrific to see Sydney businesses shine among the finest in the state, and I congratulate all our finalists for being recognised at a state level,” the Lord Mayor said.

“These annual awards celebrate success in all areas of business and are a fantastic platform for promoting our local businesses’ many talents and capabilities.

“The success of last night’s winners is an inspiration to all NSW businesses.

“Our winners and finalists should be proud to have achieved such incredible honours that will make lasting impressions on their businesses and allow them to grow further.”

Only in its third year of business, Ivory Coat Companion Goods has increased its annual dog food and grooming products sales from 2,400 to over 250,000, and has grown its net profit over the last 24 months by 2,300 per cent.

Founder and CEO Steven Deveraux-Stanford credits his Excellence in Small Business award win to a strategy of providing higher quality and locally produced products at a lower price point than major competitors.

“All our products are Australian-made and hypoallergenic, yet are at an equivalent price to many of the lesser quality imported products from larger companies,” Mr Deveraux-Stanford said.

“My team and I have worked exceptionally hard over the past couple of years and this award is great recognition for our hard work. It really inspires us to continue to do more.”

The website and UX developers, Sitback Solutions, won the Employer of Choice award last night and were shortlisted for the City of Sydney-sponsored Excellence in Business and overall Regional Business of the Year category awards.

The Rocks-based company’s commitment to being a great place to work has resulted in retaining 100 per cent of its 37 full-time staff members.

Holding the title ‘Sydney’s best boss’ according to his staff, founder Paul Armstrong shows appreciation for employees with spa days, flexible hours, free food and allowing their furry friends in the workplace.

“By cultivating working conditions of joy, hard work and professionalism – including perks like having dogs at work – we can retain our employees and work with our clients long term,” Mr Armstrong said.

“While being recognised externally is great for our branding and PR, it ultimately reinforces our key motivator of providing our clients with long-term care.”

Imogen Hayes is the winner of the Young Business Executive category award that celebrates young people who have achieved outstanding results in a business environment.

In just three years at DMG Fine Wines, Ms Hayes has launched the Handpicked Wines brand across Asia, landing it in Qantas First Class, through all major Australian airports and many five star hotels in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia and Korea.

Her contemporary, innovative approach has resulted in sales increasing by 72 per cent in the 2016 financial year.

“Our marketing strategy revolves around travel and lifestyle themes that resonate with an international idea of luxury – not just stories of soil and winemaking common in the industry,” said Ms Hayes, Marketing Manager of DMG Fine Wines.

“It’s a huge privilege to win this award in a city that has so many interesting businesses and cultures. The award has given me confidence in what we are doing, and has helped me reflect on what good leadership qualities are and how to achieve them.”

Nine Sydney businesses were shortlisted for the NSW Business Chamber State Business Awards.

The City is a proud sponsor of the state-wide Excellence in Small Business category award and Deputy Lord Mayor, Professor Kerryn Phelps AM, presented the award to the winning city-based business, Ivory Coat Companion Goods.

The City has recently boosted its sponsorship of the NSW Business Chamber Business Awards to create an expanded regional awards program.

This expansion will allow all local businesses to enter the Sydney City Regional Business Awards from 2017, whether or not they are members of a local chamber.

The Sydney City Regional Business Awards are held each year, with applications for the 2017 Awards opening in May and the finalists announced in July.

For more information on the Sydney City Region Business Awards program and how to enter, visit business-support/programs-and-seminars/business-awards

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For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Belinda Wallis on 0467 810 160 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Paul Mackay on 0432 182 647 or email