Alex Hollinworth’s love of photography began as a hobby way back when he was still at school. His parents nurtured his interest and bought him a camera one Christmas, booking him onto a workshop to learn how to use it properly.
By the time he left secondary school, a local photographer had seen his work online and offered him work experience. This lasted for nearly 2 years and, after leaving college, he was offered a full-time position with the photographer.
In summer 2020, Alex began thinking about his next challenge and set things in motion to start his own business doing commercial photography. By that December, he’d started trading and moved into a unit in The Business Village.
“From there, my business just snowballed becoming bigger and bigger. By April 2021, I was looking for a larger unit and I’ve now moved into a new space which is big enough to work as both an office and a studio, so it’s almost like a hybrid space.”
Alex has found that the location of The Business Village is very attractive to his clients, especially when they visit the studio. The free parking is great for them, and many have commented on its proximity to the motorway, whilst still not being too far from the town centre.
“Being in The Business Village gives you a business HQ and professional address. I think it makes you look established which has definitely helped my business grow. I knew from the conception of the idea that I wanted a business HQ because, as a photographer, you need a studio to shoot from. I remember being impressed by The Business Village facilities and offices on a previous visit and they were the first people who came to mind when I began looking for space.”
Since becoming a tenant, Alex has found lots of opportunities to meet other businesses and has gained new clients amongst the other tenants.
“It’s an excellent place to meet new people and there are so many well-connected people and businesses here.”
He’s also benefitted from lots of support from the ScaleUp 360 project and members of The Business Village team, which has helped him to learn more and develop his business. Alex thinks the business support is a massive plus to being tenant at The Business Village and he’s received advice on branding, marketing, business planning and finances, along with introductions to other businesses.
The 24/7 access has also been helpful when Alex needs to shoot something urgently or get kit ready the evening before and the bistro provides a convenient place to grab a coffee or lunch when on a big shoot.
When speaking about the future of his business, Alex expects to continue being based at The Business Village and is looking forward to engaging with as many tenants as possible.
“Once you’re an established person here and everyone knows you, then your network will just grow forever because there are so many well connected businesses here.”
Right now, Alex is a one-man band, but he wants his business to keep growing to the point where he can take on a couple of apprentices for editing or maybe another photographer. He also aims to increase his workshop space over time and feels that The Business Village is a great location to be able to do this with ease.
“One day I could be doing personal branding shots, the next I could be shooting products for a drinks company. It’s very varied and a fun job which doesn’t feel like work sometimes. I just want to grow it into a visual agency where businesses can come and have their imagery done by us and we have employees, big space and can do absolutely anything image based for businesses.”
“It’s in a brilliant location, which is good for everyone here.”