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EFTPOS Air is helping this fast-moving mobile business take payments on the road

Lady in yellow dress smiling

5-minute read

A gap in the market for appealing plus-size fashion drove Susanne Mulholland to start her own mobile business selling ‘country tropical-style fashion’ in markets across central Queensland.


These days she’s clocking up more than kilometres as she makes sales with the help of the Westpac EFTPOS Air app and hatches next-level plans to take the business online.

What we’ll cover

  • How a unique market stall idea started a successful mobile business
  • The "no additional hardware" benefits of EFTPOS Air as a Tap to Pay app
  • The ways EFTPOS Air keeps operating costs down for businesses on the go.


Former marketing executive Susanne Mulholland is a self-described ‘fabric junkie’ who discovered a gap in the fashion market when she moved from one of Australia’s largest cities to a remote country town.


These days she’s a regular stallholder at many local markets across Queensland’s central highlands, keenly gauging customer preferences for Emma Hobson Designs, her label specialising in plus-sized women’s clothing created in natural fabrics and inspiring prints. Along the way, Westpac’s EFTPOS Air Tap to Pay app is the right fit for her mobile business, she insists, as she travels long distances to reach ever-more customers in remote locations. In this Q&A with Susanne we find out why.

Why did you decide to start a mobile business?

We moved from the Gold Coast to Emerald – around three hours’ drive from Rockhampton – where the main industries are agriculture and mining.


I started Emma Hobson Designs (named after my grandmother) at the beginning of 2023. At the time I was working in a clothing store, and I realised there wasn’t a wide range of plus-sized clothing available and certainly not in cotton. What looks fabulous on a sized 10/12 doesn’t necessarily work when you get to larger sizes.


I’ve decided to focus on ‘Country Tropical’ style, because in the winter here there are only two hours in the evening that might be cold, but during the day it can still be 28 degrees. So, we need summer clothing available all year round.


Country areas also tend to be more conservative and there’s a concern about skin care and sun damage. So, the same designs you may wear in a beach area might not be suitable for this market.

Do you create the clothing yourself?

I have a network of textile suppliers and garment makers in India who can supply small-scale businesses such as mine. I use around three or four suppliers, contacts I developed in my other business, which is running tours to India.

How does the business work?

As a micro business, I stock around a dozen designs in a variety of sizes. In sizes 14-26, I do two pieces [in each fabric and design] every other size is just one piece. This is because I’m testing the market to see what the reaction is, and I can’t afford to have stock that doesn’t move.


It's not so much the money, because it’s not a large amount of clothing. It’s the lost opportunity cost – until I sell these designs, I can’t capitalise on the feedback I receive to then reinvest in alternatives.

Tell us how your market operation works.

The shop I was working in had to close because of increased rents, so the owner allowed me to run a pop-up there for three weeks while I was investigating where the markets are in the area.


I can’t just rely on markets in Emerald. Most markets in the region run annually, quarterly or monthly – I need to go further afield. For example, we did the Muttaburra Stock Show, which is about five hours drive northwest from Emerald.


Markets start early in the morning. So, I need to stay overnight and accommodation in these towns is not necessarily cheap.


In Muttaburra, accommodation was scarce so we had to stay two hours down the road in Barcaldine, drive back to Muttaburra early in the morning, do the market and then pack up and head back to ‘Barkie’ for another night because it was too late to return to Emerald.


It’s the tyranny of distance, but it’s also about serving local communities without having a large investment behind you.

Why did you choose EFTPOS Air for payments?

I previously had a homewares business and had used PayPal and Square in the past. I’ve also had an EFTPOS machine.


This time around, being mobile and a microbusiness, I knew the costs for the hardware and the contracts were extra expenses that I didn’t need. Money spent on equipment means you don’t have money for stock.


Having a separate reader when you are on the road means they need be powered up and easily connectable to your phone. Extra devices also cost money upfront, and you are less likely to lose your phone than you are those devices [in transit].

How do you use EFTPOS Air?

I’ve been mainly using the app as a register [in ‘simple mode’] but I’ve just started playing around with the dashboard, and I do see potential in the inventory management options.


Being able to see what sells is vital. Too often our perception about what sells doesn’t match the reality.

Do you find EFTPOS Air a cost-effective payments platform?

The 1.4 per cent fee makes EFTPOS Air the most cost-effective payment system that I am aware of. And no, I don’t pass this cost on to my customers.


As a retail business, customers are aware of the prices on the tags. They get upset if then they have to pay extra fees. After all, it’s a harsh financial climate and the cost of living is an issue.

Where do you plan to take the business next?

I would like to be able to afford a van I can stay in overnight and that can also carry my stock.


One reason for getting out to all these towns is that people can try on garments, get to know the shapes and styles that suit them and in the future order via the internet when I’ve developed an online business.


Apply directly for the Westpac EFTPOS Air app. 


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Things you should know

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business. Westpac does not endorse any of the external providers referred to in this article.