Bush block the perfect weekend escape for creative Spanish duo

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Ottway the Label founders Neri Sacristan and Manu Lopez-Velez have bought a bush block in the Otways. Picture: Alexandra Cohen

A SPANISH couple behind Melbourne-based fashion label Ottway the Label have cemented their love for the region that inspired the brand, buying a secluded hideaway in Beech Forest.

Manu Lopez-Velez and Neri Sacristan have bought a 1ha bush block tucked away on Old Colac Rd.

Charles Stewart, Colac agent Margaret Brown said the creative duo had a soft spot for the area’s natural beauty and wanted a permanent base for exploring.

They paid $70,000 for the land, which can’t be built on due to its farming zone but comes with a bus that they plan to do up as a weekender.

Manu Lopez-Velez will do up a bus that came with the block as a weekender.

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“They are just a gorgeous couple and because of Ottway the Label they love to be going up to the region,” Ms Brown said.

“He fell in love with the block and wanted to buy it.

“The property wasn’t on the market for very long.”

The land in Old Colac Rd, Beech Forest.

The couple moved to Australia five years ago and launched Ottway the Label online in late 2017. The brand offers an alternative to fast fashion with its vintage-inspired pieces, which are designed to be unisex and timeless.

Earlier this year Ms Sacristan told the Geelong Advertiser the Otways was dear to their hearts.

“The Otways are our little paradise — pretty much all we need to be happy, hence we decided to honour our project carrying this name,” she said.

“We have been exploring the area for more than five years: waterfalls, rainforest, the beautiful little towns full of character like Forrest, and the striking coastline.”

Ottway the Label is inspired by the Otways and Surf Coast region.

Ms Brown said there was strong demand for weekenders in the area, with 98 per cent of buyers coming from Melbourne.

However, finding a block where building a dwelling is permitted can be a challenge for buyers.

She said she had inquiries “every single day” about two slightly larger blocks in Beech Forest but people were turned off when they found out they couldn’t build there.

“They start off as weekenders … but it is the younger ones that want to get away from the city because you can get coverage here, I have sold to people who spend half their week in the Otways and the other half in Melbourne,” she said.

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