A leap from the safety of employment to the risks of small business has brought rewards Holly Komorowski never dreamed of. Now a finalist in the Canberra Women in Business awards, Holly is being recognised as a small business leader in the ACT.
Canberra Women in Business is a not-for-profit association supporting women in business in the Canberra region. The association holds an annual Gala Awards Night to recognise and reward the valuable contributions and outstanding achievements of ACT businesswomen. Holly is a finalist in the Small Business category, one of nine awards to be given in 2019.
Previously employed by one of Canberra’s leading real estate agencies, Holly left to set up her own agency, home.byholly, three years ago. Starting with just one employee, her business has now grown to 15 staff.
Holly says there was excitement in the agency when they found out she was a finalist in the awards.
“This is an affirmation that people believe in us and what we are doing. Real estate is such a male-dominated industry, particularly in terms of leadership. I purposely set out to be different, I wanted to be a boutique agency. Most agencies work on a nationally applied cut and paste model.
“Every home is different and buyers and sellers are all different. I could see that if we could be more personal and use different strategies for each property, we could do things so much better,” Holly said.
“The challenge was not to be the biggest but to be a leader in the Canberra market. So I took the risk and focused on providing a flexible, personal service and to tailor our marketing using creative resources and designers. It was all clear in my mind, I wanted things like the photos to be different and to tell stories about each property, taking less of a cookie-cutter approach,” Holly explained.
“What we’re doing is working and it’s resonating with buyers and sellers. This nomination is an affirmation that we’ve established fabulous brand recognition in a short time and that our brand has penetrated the market Canberra-wide. It’s quite an achievement for such a new business.”
Holly says she is loving the challenge of building a business and being considered the underdog.
“I love that I regularly hear comments such as ‘Holly is too busy’ or I am called ‘the busy mother’ to undermine me, yet I still outperform my competitors.
“I am thrilled to be a Small Business finalist in this year’s Canberra Women in Business Awards. The goals of Canberra Women in Business are definitely reflected in the way we work here at home.byholly. A positive team culture is integral to the success of this business and we strive to work collectively and to support each other,” Holly said.
Holly provides a flexible workplace for her female-dominated team and provides twice-weekly gym sessions for the staff.
“Every one attends. Not only is it great for team building, a focus on health and well being creates good energy. We all work better if we look after ourselves,” Holly said.
The award winners will be announced at the Rubik3 Canberra Women In Business Gala Awards dinner on Thursday, 7 November at The National Arboretum. Finalists will be presented with their certificates by the Chief Minister at an invite-only event prior to the Gala Event at the National Arboretum.