Michelle MatthewsEntrepreneur


About Me

/Who Am I

A Melburnian with a nomadic and entrepreneurial spirit who has lived and worked in the USA, Canada, Argentina, Japan, Indonesia, England, Italy and Spain. Her industry experience covers media, hospitality, travel, tourism and aviation.

Luck is the residue of design.

- Branch Rickey -


/What I do

Michelle is a highly adaptable and resourceful, publishing entrepreneur with a global vision and a local attention to detail. She counts her vast international network of peers, colleagues and friends as her most valued treasure and inspiration. And she gets a kick out of living and working in these times of fast moving technology and innovation and looks for any way to integrate them into her life and business.


Creating great content has been a long standing passion from the initial creation of the Shopping Secrets books which revealed the most interesting and unusual retailers in Sydney and Melbourne to creating high quality, hospitality content for cities and islands all around the world.


Michelle’s love of ideas and making things combined perfectly in world of publishing. A long-term self-publisher she witnessed the democratisation of the means of production and rode that wave to the shore. Since 1998 she has published books, magazines, decks of cards and one CD music and guide concept.


From the earliest days of app creation Michelle’s content was coincidentally and conveniently made for the mobile screen format. Commencing with apps for the Symbian operating system using BluePulse in 2005 before moving on to thrive in the Apple iOS environment, then creating for Windows and finally Android.


35Countries visited
1Marathons run
1Cars owned


Entrepreneurial Resume

/My entire career

Aug 30

“Awards in the bag for clever Victorians”

13 September 2007

Article reporting the Victorian winners of the Victorian Packaging Council's annual awards ceremony. Secrets Sounds; the CD concept launched by Shopping Secrets Pty Ltd won a silver award for innovation. Read more here in "Awards in the bag for clever Victorians".

“Raising the bar”

11 May 2008

There were predictions that the Melbourne bar boom was about to bust in 2008. Asked to comment on this notion in an article by Peter Munro. "Raising the bar".

Aug 30
Aug 30

“Waiting to inhale as the band played on”

1 June 2008

Asked to comment about the impact of the 'non smoking' ban on the bar scene of Melbourne in this article "Waiting to inhale as the band played on". Excerpt below. The pub and bar scene has been shaken and stirred, mostly for the better, say some observers. Michelle Matthews, publisher of the popular Deck of Secrets bar guide, believes the ban transformed Melbourne bars and pubs architecturally, with licensed venues upgrading their outdoor areas for smokers. "The nice thing about the Melbourne bar culture is that it is mostly based on small venues run by really interested business owners. So when the rules changed, these people made it work," said Ms Matthews. "Now it seems you can't open a bar in Melbourne without an outdoors of some size." The results include a faux tropical resort atop Bourke Street (Palmz at the Carlton) and an artificial-turf bar with a camp country club motif (Madame Brussels). "Madame Brussels is a great example of bar anticipating the effect of the smoking ban," Ms Matthews said. "The deck space comprises about 50% of the total and is a key feature. It gives the bar a daytime relevance that it wouldn't otherwise have." She said bars with decent-sized outdoor areas were becoming afternoon destinations, and probably taking some customers away from unlicensed cafes.

“Secrets of her Success”

13 September 2007

A major write-up in the weekend broadsheet; The Age by journalist Jill Stark. The Secrets of her Success  

Aug 30
Aug 30

Hidden Secrets Tours


Hidden Secrets Tours of Melbourne logo Secured a Small Business Development Grant from the City of Melbourne to create Hidden Secrets Tours. The concept was for small group walking tours revealing the best of the city. The concept was co-developed by Fiona Sweetman who now wholly owns Hidden Secrets Tours and has built it into the incredible business it is today for over a decade. These pioneering tours have made a substantial contribution to Melbourne and the local businesses it champions.

Launched Android apps


Launched apps for Android; 4th platform in a decade of mobile app publishing.

Aug 29
Aug 29

Social Screenings


socialscreening Started the documentary film business with Danielle Draudt called Social Screenings. This semi-commercial operation sourced high quality, socially aware documentaries and screened them at various hospitality venues around Melbourne. Read more in this article from The Age: Thinking small in a world of big business. A local entrepreneur joins the campaign against globalisation. One featured documentary was The Economics of Happiness which was so popular that an additional screening was held and some thousands raised for charity.

Launched Windows Phone apps


Worked with David Burela to create mobile apps for the Windows phone. Some of their features later became standard features of the Windows Phone platform. These apps featured integration with Dimmi for instant restaurant reservations.

Aug 29
Aug 29

EAT. Sydney app featured on Apple’s TVC “There’s an app for that”


EAT. Sydney one of our iOS apps was selected by Apple for the ‘There’s an app for that” TVC that screened across Australia showing what the iPhone was to be used for.

DRINK. Melbourne hit the app store


DRINK Melbourne app icon by Deck of SecretsTeamed up with local app developer Shaun Ervine to create the Deck of Secrets iPhone app. The Bar Secrets aka DRINK. Melbourne was one of the first 10,000 apps in the now crowded app store.

Aug 29
Aug 29

Won silver prize at the packaging awards night


Released the Secret Sounds CD


Creation of Secret Sounds CD; a collaboration with Level Three Music. The CD of great tracks also included a national bar guide embedded within the packaging.

Aug 29
Aug 29

Won a Victorian Tourism Award


Won the VTA media category award

Created her first mobile app


Released her first mobile application on the BluePulse platform operating on all Symbian handsets.

Aug 29
Aug 29

Created Bar Secrets


Deck of Secrets logoCreated Bar Secrets, which became the first title in the global series Deck of Secrets guides. These guides came in a cigarette style box with a flip-top lid. Over 30 titles were released across 10 countries and four continents. An original concept with the key title selling well over 150,000 units and appearing on the best seller lists.

Launched A7 street press title


Launched A7 an up-market street press title half the size of a postcard and dedicated to showing city residents and workers the best of the city from bars and restaurants to events and theatre reviews and our very own Dragon Lady commissioned Chinese horoscopes. Yes there was a time before blogs and magazines were relatively thin on the ground and the CBD was of little interest as life happened in the suburbs and villages back then.

Aug 29
Aug 29

Indulgence Editor of Melbourne magazine.


Started a TelCo


Started a telco before everyone else was doing it. Even before James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch conceived of One.Tel. Major Pagers was a tech hardware rental business with two streams of customers; intra company and the general public. Sourcing a fleet of over 30 pagers and negotiating corporate rates for the service, the business then rented these devices to flight attendants and pilots at Ansett Airlines and Qantas as well as male models. This business came to a natural conclusion with the proliferation of mobile phones whereby the fleet was traded-in for a top of the line model mobile phone.

Jun 8
May 4

Shopping Secrets Pty Ltd


Created Shopping Secrets Pty Ltd; a publishing business dedicated to revealing the most interesting and unusual retailers of Sydney and Melbourne. This high-end niche publishing company did everything excessively well. Need a map? Great I’ll commission a cartographer. Matt cellosheen cover treatment; sure, no problem. Drum scan 12 shots for one retailer? Um yeah. Shopping Secrets books were released in alternate years for Melbourne and Sydney from 1999-2003. Written up in the New York Times.

Ran the Buenos Aires marathon

October 2009

Travelled to Argentina for a five week stay to learn some Spanish, explore the amazing city of Buenos Aires and run the marathon. This was her initial digital nomad/location independent posting.

Oct 14


Spike Jonze was out until the wee hours on his last night in Melbourne guided solely by information contained in Bar Secrets!
Melbourne – But the best thing is all the small bars. You can pick up a pack of cards and each card has a small bar on the back. Go to as many as you can – before you fall over.


/Get in touch with me