5 minutes with a member: Andrea Culligan

5 minutes with a member: Andrea Culligan

Self-confessed serial entrepreneur Andrea Culligan has come a long way since she arrived in Australia in 1998.

Starting her stay here guiding whale boats, within 10 years the Canadian had won the Telstra Young Businesswoman of the Year and the Telstra Small Business of the year as co-founder of the Unimail Group.

Andrea’s latest venture is branding agency Harteffect and she also a board member for EO-Entrepreneurs’ Organisation. 
Taking time out of her hectic schedule, Andrea chats to Gravity about the benefits of co working life – no hidden costs or unexpected overheads allow you to invest more in your staff, not bricks.

After letting office space for so long, why did you make the move to Gravity coworking?
After having my own space and floors all over Sydney over the past 14 years, it was time to focus our efforts on what we do, not our infrastructure. I didn’t want to have our team managing the space in which we worked in. I also wanted to absorb the energy from other businesses and have a beautiful place in which to work without having to manage it.

How has moving to Gravity helped your business?
It’s lowered our operating costs significantly and provided us with an exact cost for tenancy each month. Previously things like white goods, air conditioning or lighting could have failed and an unpredictable $300-$1000 would pop up here and there. Having an exact amount/month is very valuable. The space is beautiful. Our clients love it.

Can you tell us a bit about Harteffect?
Harteffect is an integrated branding agency that creates and builds brands that engage customers and candidates. We cover all aspects of branding from research, design and strategy.

What field were you working in before?
Tough to answer in a short description. I’m originally from Canada (Edmonton, Alberta) and arrived in Australia in 1998. After traveling around for a couple of years working in pubs, guiding whale watching boats and singing in bars I arrived in Sydney. I started my first business at 23yrs old and I’m now on my 7th. Some worked well, some sold well, some didn’t work at all, it’s been quite a journey.

What is one of your greatest work achievements?
Winning the Telstra Young Businesswoman of the Year in 2009 was pretty awesome as it was also the same year we won the Telstra Small Business of the year.

Tell us what you love most about what you do.
I am OBSESSED about helping companies and people tell their stories authentically. Whether that be a company’s brand or an executive, helping someone visually articulate what is in their head dying to get out is just an amazing feeling. It’s like bringing their vision to life. Everyone has a unique purpose, they just need to find it!

Favourite food?
Mexican or Ukrainian – can’t choose!

Piece of advice for our other members and for startups and entrepreneurs out there?
There are plenty of others who have made mistakes before you, forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.