Graeme Luey, Johnny Hollick
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#Hashtag Gallery Ltd. is a contemporary gallery in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods area that offers emerging and mid-career artists a professional environment to display their work. Acknowledging the creative potential of the online revolution through its name, the gallery strives to push Canada’s next generation of talented artists to the forefront of the contemporary arts world.
Owners Graeme Luey and Johnny Hollick launched their business in 2012 after growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of job opportunities available in the city. “It’s often about who you know rather than what you know or how talented you are,” says Graeme, a trained graphic designer and web developer. “I was tired of looking for a job so I decided to go into business and work for myself.”
Besides providing the pair with the financial capital necessary to start #Hashtag Gallery, Futurpreneur connected Graeme and Johnny with a mentor that answered all of their business-related questions and provided moral support along the way. “Neither Graeme nor myself went to business school,” says Johnny, who works as a DJ on the side. “With our mentor’s help, we were able to get our business off the ground the right way.”
For Graeme, the best part of being an entrepreneur is having the freedom to create his own work schedule. “Being my own boss means I can set my own hours,” he says.
Johnny, on the other hand, appreciates being able to build something he can be proud of. “I like knowing at the end of each day that I’ve made something that is uniquely mine. Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to create a career that I’m interested in, rather than simply spending my time making someone else’s business successful. The feeling is truly exhilarating.”
“Try it and see what happens. Starting your own business is a lot of work and it may not be for you, but it’s better to have tried it and to know for sure. You won’t go to work and complain about your boss if you are the boss. – Graeme
Do as much research as you can beforehand. It’s best to ask a lot of questions when you’re just starting out so that you avoid falling into any unnecessary traps later on. – Johnny ”