Creating space for growth and inspiration

Holly Neilson, Paper Hands

Sometimes it is the space you create that allows opportunity to flourish.

Holly Neilson’s experience growing her business, Paper Hands, has often paralleled her journey as a creative. Both have a foundation of authenticity and a desire to create a space where inspiration, joy and fruitful happenstance are invited in.

Holly’s illustrations and products are currently on display as part of the Artist wall local business showcase at Brisbane City Council’s Suburban Business Hub in Nundah.

Finding your way

As an emerging creative in Brisbane 6 years ago, Holly knew that she wanted to grow her hobby as an illustrator into a career but was unsure about the path to take. Starting to share her work on socials and exhibiting in local cafes provided her with confidence and opportunities including the chance to work with the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in South Brisbane.

“The opportunity to work with GOMA confirmed to me that it was possible for an emerging artist in Brisbane to have relationships with galleries and so I was able to refine my goals taking a more organic route,” Holly said.

With a vision for her business, Holly identified short courses to develop her creative technical skills and to address the skills she would need to grow her business such as Adobe software and art licencing and how to protect her art.

Benefits of co-working spaces

Holly said that she first became aware of the Suburban Business Hub in Nundah, and other Council support for businesses in Brisbane, while she was doing some work with the Museum of Brisbane.

A self-proclaimed ‘Brizzy’ girl at heart, Holly said that the local business showcase at the Suburban Business Hub provides opportunities to connect and be a part of a new community of business peers.

“Often as creatives we’re working alone in a studio or workshop. It’s good to get out and make connections.”

“There’s always the element of surprise in collaborative spaces like the Suburban Business Hub. You never know who will walk through the door or who will be inspired by your artwork. The unknown is an exciting space to be in, which is why I love to keep an eye on my email inbox and see what turns up.”

One critical ingredient

Holly said if there was one critical ingredient to her business, it would be that she loves what she does.

“There’s going to be challenges but, especially in the creative industries, it’s essential to nurture yourself and reflect on why you’re creating artwork and where you see that going. Then you can get closer to your goals.”

“Put your business hat on and reflect on how you can practically create a business – research opportunities - there’s lots out there. Once you create that space and find that direction, it’s motivating.”

Suburban Business Hub Nundah is a free co-working and meeting space for Brisbane-based businesses at 16 Aspinall Street, Nundah. Find out more about the hub and how Council can help support your business.

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Topics: business

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