Ignite entrepreneur Hollis takes on the world
Shanna Hollis learnt a ton at Maryland Institute College of Art, one of the top graphic design schools in the United States.
Four years after graduating cum laude with a bachelor of fine arts, graphic design, the energetic entrepreneur is now going full speed ahead to fill in the gaps in her knowledge.
Ms Hollis, 25, is the designer and owner at Shanna Hollis Designs, where her high-spirited personality is reflected in the bold and effective branding that she provides for clients.
She said: “I am a very bright and colourful person, and that comes across in the work that I do.”
Ms Hollis is also a full-time art teacher at Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation, the creative director and co-owner of Holly’s Supplements, which has been put on pause for now, and collaborated with fellow artist Kendra Earls on the recently-unveiled mural of Olympic triathlon gold medal-winner Flora Duffy.
She was an enthusiastic participant in the month-long Forbes 30 Under 30 residency programme on the island in February held in partnership with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, and is just past the midway point of the six-month Ignite Bermuda entrepreneurial accelerator.
Ms Hollis said: “I am a busy, busy, busy bee. I am a real go-getter, I don’t want to let an opportunity pass.”
She added: “I went to college and I learnt all things graphic design.
“The only thing that college did not teach me is the business aspect – how to run your own business, how to be an entrepreneur, have meetings and network – all of which is crucial to survival.”
Ms Hollis, who is seeking to turn her design company into a full-time operation, added: “How to build a business – all of it, from the ground up – how to run a business … and grow it into a sustainable business, that’s what I’m in Ignite for.
“Another reason is that my dreams are global – I love to show off Bermuda in my work, but I feel I have international potential and Ignite has the resources to help me represent Bermuda on a global scale.”
Ms Hollis finished third in the pitch competition at Ignite, and has been supporting other members of the cohort.
She said: “My Ignite experience has been completely different than most people’s. So many people need my services or a consultation with me. A lot of my Ignite experience is showing up for other people, other small businesses, for them to be able to put their best foot forward.”
Fifty-four alumni from Forbes’ global 30 Under 30 lists came to the island in February to network, to collaborate and to take part in a mentoring programme for Bermuda’s entrepreneurs.
Ms Hollis embraced the opportunity, attending weekly meetings with her mentor Alvin Carpio – the founder and chief executive of London-based advocacy organisation The Fourth Group – and even organised a jet ski outing for the visitors.
While the Forbes group shared their experience, Ms Hollis said they were open to learning from their hosts too, adding: “It was amazing that I could share my knowledge with them as well.
“What I truly appreciated about the Forbes experience is it was a give and take, and not a one-handed thing.”
Mr Carpio provided insight about Ms Hollis’ branding, advising her from an international viewpoint that showing off the island was great – but that clients were seeking her out.
“He helped me see that my branding needed to be more of me to compete globally,” she said.
“I am now in the process of rebranding Shanna Hollis Designs completely. Without his perspective, that’s not something I would have seen that I needed to do.”
The Forbes programme also saw Ms Hollis make a two-minute pitch – her first time doing so – at an event organised by the BTA and Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, and hosted by the Corporation of Hamilton.
She said: “What was amazing is I picked up a few clients there – local, and then some of the Forbes people came and said they’d like to work with me, which was pretty awesome.”
Meanwhile, Ms Hollis’ “Gotta Go Town” design will be featured on TABS’ summer product selection of shorts, trunks, and more.
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