The Red Platypus story

The Red Platypus story begins back in 2013 when husband and wife, Carmen and David Allan-Petale, were living in London.

David was a senior broadcast journalist for BBC World News, after stints with Al Jazeera and Sky News, and Carmen edited business magazines before landing a gig with Southerly, a boutique creative agency.

Life was frantic but fun.

Although something was missing.

The desire to travel kept pulling at them.

So they set off on a 6-month around-the-world trip that turned into a five year exploration that saw them live in places including the USA, Caribbean, South America, South East Asia and Japan.

And while they kept moving, they discovered what they were looking for – the opportunity to work for themselves.

Their host at an Airbnb in San Francisco asked if Carmen and David could do some marketing work for her business, after learning about the pair’s former careers.

And so with this little push, they founded Red Platypus in July 2013.

Quickly Carmen and David realised they loved to help businesses tell their stories.

As they travelled and ran a business, many lessons were learned about how to work smarter and lead a balanced life. As a passion project, Carmen and David told their own stories through their blog Double-Barrelled Travel, sharing insights and experiences from the road.

They returned home to Perth, Western Australia, in mid-2016 when Carmen was six months pregnant with their first child. 

David went to work for Fairfax Media as a senior journalist and Carmen juggled nursing baby Ruby while keeping Red Platypus going part-time.

But life moves fast.

And dreams persist.

So when little Ruby was eighteen months old the family set off on a round Australia caravan trip that lasted nearly two years. They roamed all over, from the red dirt around Uluru to the tip of Cape York and down to Tasmania, working remotely on Red Platypus all the while so as to support their adventures.

Then COVID happened. So back to Perth they went, scraping across the border shortly before lockdown. They arrived home and Carmen gave birth to Baby Brontë four months later.

The “new normal” took over and other adventures began to brew.

David’s novel, Locust Summer, was published in June 2021 by Fremantle Press. Both he and Carmen continued to grow Red Platypus, sharing their skills and experience through online courses, in-person workshops and one-on-one client work.

Business ramped up as Red Platypus became more recognised in Perth and the COVID dust (molecules?) settled. And then David was offered his dream job at a well-recognised Australian philanthropic organisation… so he left the family business to pursue new horizons.

They’re still married, don’t worry. 

And Carmen is happier than ever helping her clients realise their own aspirations via her work at Red Platypus, with much-needed support from Carla.

So that's us. We do things differently.

We pursue our dreams and are driven to help others pursue theirs.

This is our story. What’s yours?

We’d love to hear it – and work with you to share it.

Our Values

Working in the storytelling business, these are some of the important things that matter to us.

Creativity & curiosity

Curiosity didn’t kill any cats around here. We love to learn what your business is doing so we can uncover the secret sauce that drives you. Thinking creatively helps us to share your story in a way that resonates with your customers, making deeper connections and increasing the business you receive.

Collaboration & connection

No business wants to be the carbon copy of another - or if you do, then perhaps we’re not for you. Our strategy sessions allow us to brainstorm out-of-the-box thinking that will enable us to deliver your message in a way that gets people listening. And for the best results, we believe this involves a team effort.


Freeeeeeeedom - and not in the cringy war-cry way. There are two reasons Carmen and David founded Red Platypus:

1. To have more freedom to spend time with our family by creating a business that fits around our lives.
2. To give YOU more freedom to do what you love in your business because you won’t be stressing about sending or posting that newsletter / media release / blog / [insert any comms here] like… yesterday.

Honesty & integrity

We pride ourselves on having open conversations where we actively listen and give you feedback on ways you can improve how you market your business. And if you have any feedback for us - we’re all ears!

Open communication

We’ll keep you in the loop on everything we’re working on, with regular WIP meetings and monthly reporting (for retainer clients). You’ll see our faces on the regular, and we never shy away from chatting on that old-fashioned thing called the telephone.

Our Team

Carmen Allan-Petale

Since I was a tween aspiring to be the next editor of Dolly Magazine, I’ve always had a passion for writing. And then travelling the world and experiencing new cultures has cultivated a love of meeting new people and listening to their stories.

These two passions - writing creatively and building relationships - have created the ground from which Red Platypus is built.

If you want to know the somewhat dry stuff, I also studied a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and PR and completed a cadetship at Community Newspaper Group before leaving my hometown of Perth for London where I worked my way up to Deputy Editor of three B2B Magazines.

Then I quit journalism for agency life, and moved to Southerly – now SBC – working as an account manager and social media specialist before going out on my own.

I’m obsessed with yoga even though I can hardly touch my toes. I’m a wife and mum of two girls, and I like to paint when I get a chance to get out the art supplies!

Carla de Jesus-Medina

I'm your friendly neighbourhood virtual assistant extraordinaire. I've been a freelance VA scene since 2011! When I'm not slaying the virtual assistant game, I'm rocking other titles like wife, fur mom, gourmand, bibliophile, pluviophile, and hodophile.

Back in college, I had dreams of crunching numbers as an accountant. But life had other plans in store for me. I took a detour into the world of virtual assisting, and it was the best plot twist ever.

I live in a tropical country so it’s typically hot all year round but one day my boyfriend (now my husband) and I woke up and had a sudden urge for a change of scenery, so a week later we uprooted and settled in the chilly mountains of the Philippines. 

Fast forward ten years and we’ve settled down here and we love it. People always ask us why? My answer is simple: it’s the cold (and rainy) weather. 

And the best part? We can work from anywhere, so we’ve got the freedom to go wherever we desire.

Who we support

Red Platypus is a supporter of Classroom of Hope, donating monthly to the charity.

Classroom of Hope is a non-profit organisation that builds schools and distributes scholarships in rural parts of developing countries.

It uses recycled plastic, turning it into blocks, to build the schools in a sustainable way.