Most of us aren’t lucky clever enough to figure out how to combine the things we love most in life and a job to pay those pesky ol’ bills. But Alyce and George Gorgievski have been able do just that with their amazing buisness, Hire A Kombi. This dream-team, with the winning combination of passion, skill and good vibes, has lovingly hand-crafted a gorgeous little fleet of fully restored super-special VW’s that they (crazily) hand out to the general public, so that Regular Joe’s like us can get a little slice of Kombi magic in our adventures.
Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 4.39.25 pmDSM caught up with Alyce this week to see how they manage to juggle a successful business, a young family, and working every day with your husband/wife! And all this while keeping 6+ vintage vehicles, that drive thousands of miles every week, on the road 24-7!

DSM: As Kombi experts can you explain the mystery of the kombi to us? Why do you think people everywhere love these old machines so passionately?

HAK: I don’t know if we can explain the mystery of the kombi love. I think this will always remain a mystery.

“Why do you smile automatically when a kombi drives past?  Really not sure!”

Being the only vehicle we drive we know it happens everyday, and they are still uplifting us to. Kids in the street pull at their parents clothes and point, elderly people stop and smile.  They are the only vehicle we know of that have that personality.

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“I call them “a little bubble of joy”.  If I have to drive a normal car I am so appreciative to get back in our kombis or beetles.”

DSM: What inspired your family to start this unique little business?
16105657_1757847814240740_1999454775405801157_nHAK: George made it his job to find his passion and he realised it was kombis.  A qualified mechanic, he taught himself the ins and outs of the VW.  He had one online for sale, which is when I got in contact with him.  I am originally from Queensland, Australia, so seeing he was in the same area as my sister who was in Victoria I called and told him my story of my childhood dream of wanting to travel Australia in a kombi.  The one he had advertised had just sold and he had one tucked away in his shed which he said he was keeping for his business plan.

“The next day he called and said actually he could restore this van for me. He said something in my voice just made him want to do it…”

So 3 months later he was delivering my kombi to me in the Whitsundays. I called it Applejack.
I set off on my adventure from the Whitsundays and traveled for 3 months doing Qld, NT, WA, SA and VIC.  George and I had formed a great friendship so on my way through Victoria I called in and we realised we really liked each other.
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“I went back to the Whitsundays, but after 4 months I jumped in Applejack and ended up at his doorstep. George was finding it hard handing over the keys to the vans he was restoring for people, so Hire A Kombi was created. Everyone gets to experience the joy the kombi brings and we get to keep them. Win win!”

DSM: Awwww, so the story of Hire a Kombi is an adventure story and a love story and a business plan rolled into one! Do you have a favourite baby in your growing family of vehicles?
Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 4.37.05 pmHAK: It’s so hard to say which is our favourite.  George would probably say Gracie, but I guess my heart belongs to Applejack because of our trip together and how reliable he was, but I also have a soft spot for Clancy.  I had a beautiful friend who passed away in a horse accident and she had a crush on this funny cowboy called Clancy and he nicknamed me ‘Small Fry’ so although Clancys fit-out is brilliant and he drives so smooth, I think his name has me won over.
DSM: Do you have time to go on mad Kombi road trips with your kids, or are you too busy helping other people have their adventures?

14141586_1540914382600752_8823217993703997642_n“We never get away!  People say “Oh yes, its hard when you have kids…”, but it’s definitely not the kids stopping us. They love the kombi’s and they always say “I want to go camping! Our daughter Mae even cried because she wanted us to sleep in the beetle, so it’s really just a case of us not having a kombi to camp in because they’re all out!”

That, and George works too much.  We said our goal is to have all the vans out so we can be traveling ourselves, however, if all the vans are out we are usually left stranded.  If we restore anything we feel selfish keeping it for ourselves so it goes straight on the fleet.  We are currently test driving a beetle to add and I’ve been saying “Hurry up George!” so I don’t have to keep swapping car seats around, but I’ve already started taking bookings so we just keep shooting ourselves in the foot.
14344161_1555240364501487_1332570226151771943_nWe have noticed quite a few pics of our front yard  getting around on social media and people commenting how “greedy those people must be to have all those vans”. It made us upset because we are anything but greedy by restoring kombi’s to hire out.  You don’t find many kombi owners who will hand over their keys to a friend, let alone strangers.  Don’t get me started on the love/hate relationship we have with social media!  We don’t just collect kombi’s to sit in our yard.  They all have a purpose, but it takes time.
DSM: Talking to you when we came and hired one of you babies was like visiting old friends, even though it was the first time we’d met! Your love for the life/business you guys have created was evident straight away.  What’s the secret to combining your passion, your work and normal family life and still staying sane you think?

“We aren’t sane! That’s why we do what we do!”

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It’s a lot of work.  Maybe because we work from home we do welcome everyone like they are friends or guests.  If we worked from a flash office with a waiting room it wouldn’t be the same.

13882307_1514466858578838_6686872237981868233_n“George and I have worked together for about 6yrs and somedays he gets a heart, other days a finger drawn into his froth on his coffee!”

For the last couple of weeks he has worked from another shed and I’ve actually really secretly missed him. The kids would wander between me in the office and hang out with him in the shed so we have been extremely lucky to all be together every day.
Some days we have so many balls in the air and we catch them all, and other days they all fall down around us so we definitely have our ups and downs in owning our business.

“I think it’s important to remain kind, treat everyone the same, laugh when you want to cry and have each others backs when shit gets hard.”

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My daughter asked me today “Where are we going mum?”  I said “Not sure, I just need to get out.  She replied “Are we going to crazy mum?”  So if anyone out there is working from home with kids and keeping it all together please let me know the secret because I’m still trying to find it!

“I think it’s important to constantly stay in line with what makes you happy. We do this because of the joy it brings people and we meet wonderful creative people through the journey. It’s important that when you grow you keep your feet on the ground, head on your shoulders, humble and real.”

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Social media shows off our fleet, the places they go, the people they meet and it looks so wonderful and it is.  However for that to happen George is constantly running around maintaining these 40yr old vehicles which are doing up to 1000km per week each so it’s no easy feat.  So when you meet us and we talk about what we do we get quite emotional a lot of the time because this has been a massive journey for us.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 4.37.21 pm“I guess the emotion comes from following a dream.  I’ve seen George do sleepless nights to further his family, working in the dirt, in pouring rain and getting drenched.  I’ve seen this all unfold with the kids beside us the whole time.  Hire A Kombi isn’t our job, it’s our life and we are forever grateful to everyone who has supported us.”

To Hire A Kombi for your next adventure click here!

Keep up to date on Instagram follow along @hireakombi and on Facebook here!

Pics courtesy of Hire A Kombi, wedding and ‘Clancy’ pic by the amazing Fabio Oliviera (@fabiooliviera), + additional pics of the kombi’s in action by @jayjays, and @coasta.coast. and previous DSM feature folks @willandbear!

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