Designer Helen Bayley’s works are, quite literally, iconic.
Through her Brisbane online design and manufacturing business, Lovestar, Helen’s homeware designs feature imagery of iconic women transformed into vases, coasters, charms and other wares using modern materials with a pop-art twist.
For Helen, Lovestar was born as a creative outlet to help her overcome postpartum depression after the birth of her third child. She says her vision was to create functional, well-priced products for the home “that bring joy” to people.
It’s this vision, and the success of her Brisbane studio, that has seen Helen named as one of 52 recipients of the Lord Mayor’s Women in Business Grant.
“I applied for the Lord Mayor’s Women in Business Grant after a couple of my close girlfriends sent me the link for it,” she says.
“In Brisbane there are some seriously talented women in business and those women are incredibly supportive. There is just a general sense of wanting to get together as a community and support each other.”
That support from like-minded business owners and the Lovestar community has seen the business go from strength to strength, with some extremely brag-worthy milestones along the way.
“There have been a few pinch-me moments, like working with Westfield to do a massive installation in their Carindale store. We also collaborated with Peter Alexander, which was really fun. We’ve sent a vase to Beyonce,” Helen says.
“But honestly, if I had to pick one, I think it would probably be watching the business grow that has been our greatest achievement.”
Brisbane businesswomen must be supported
The Lord Mayor’s Women in Business Grants are now in their second year, and Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner says it’s vital that women in businesses are supported to start, grow and be successful.
“It’s all about making sure we support women in business in Brisbane,” he says.
“At the moment, women in Brisbane make up almost 51 per cent of the population but only 36 per cent of businesses. We want to change that.”
Lord Mayor Schrinner says $250,000 in grant money was distributed to 52 businesswomen across Greater Brisbane, helping the “small businesses of today become the medium and large businesses of the future”.
“There are so many amazing stories out there and Lovestar is one of them,” he says. “Women in the community are doing so many amazing things and Lovestar is something right here in the suburbs of Brisbane that no one would expect would be happening.
“The money helps, but more importantly it’s the network they’re able to get access to through the Brisbane Business Hub and meeting up with other women in business that is just as important.
“We had such a great response to the first round of Women in Business Grants in 2021, that we’re keen to make it an annual opportunity.”
Chance to network and learn a golden opportunity
Helen says the grant will provide her business with more than just money – it’s the chance to network and learn from others that she says will be transformative.
“It’s a wonderful initiative and I’m so thrilled to be one of the recipients. I’m really excited about accessing the mentoring and the opportunity to connect with other women in business here in Brisbane,” she says.
“We have so much to learn from each other. Running a business can be quite isolating at times. A lot of us are mothers and there’s a real juggling act involved there. So I think having the opportunity to connect with other wonderful women in business here in Brisbane will be absolutely terrific.
“We’re going to use the grant money to invest in technology, in particular a camera to help us become more visible online and just compete with the crazy advancements in technology. Because we’re an online-based business, that’s really important to us.”
Helen says every eligible businesswoman in Brisbane should apply to ensure they give themselves the resources and network to succeed.
“Do it? Yes, a hundred per cent. If you are a woman in business, you should be accessing every available resource you have and the Lord Mayor’s Women in Business Grant is an absolutely wonderful initiative,” she says.