In Business: Couple find Christmas cheer in decoration

Holiday Bling artists Ryan Caldwell and Bridie-Rose O'Leary in Queenstown yesterday. Photo Olivia...
Holiday Bling artists Ryan Caldwell and Bridie-Rose O'Leary in Queenstown yesterday. Photo Olivia Caldwell.
Holiday fever - have you caught it?

One Dunedin couple are helping to spread the Christmas spirit through Otago with their joint business venture, Holiday Bling.

School is out for summer for advertising postgraduate Bridie-Rose O'Leary and relief teacher Ryan Caldwell, so rather than getting ''real jobs'' the pair have started an on-the-road business to decorate Otago townships with Christmas cheer.

The couple use water-based paint and hand-crafted stencils to create Christmas artwork for shop windows, catering for individual businesses.

They both say the pick-up from customers has been great.

''The result has been really good. It only takes a couple of jobs to make the day worthwhile,'' Mr Caldwell said.

''We're not exactly getting rich, but all in all it's been worth it. The best part about it hasn't been the money. It has been doing something for ourselves.''

''It's so much fun working for yourself.''

The initial idea came from Miss O'Leary, who has a bachelor's degree in visual arts from Dunedin School of Art.

Midway through November she pitched the idea to her business partner and the pair decided they would give it a go.

''Originally, we were thinking this was going to be big Christmassy stuff, but we quickly realised we are doing businesses that don't want big red Santas ... We are doing something that looks like it belongs to the store and ties in with its surroundings.''

So far, the couple have contacted Dunedin, Arrowtown and Queenstown businesses and hope to extend as far south as Balclutha and cover the Central Otago region before the middle of the month.

Mr Caldwell said they were particular about whom they approached as they were targeting boutique and unique shops, rather than chain outlets.

Their designs already cover Dunedin shops and are starting to make an impact in the Wakatipu. Initially, the couple thought Holiday Bling would be a one-off way to make some preChristmas cash but their success has set them both thinking.

''We would like to get into all sorts, any opportunity the market needs. We've had a bunch of businesses ask us to come back in the new year and do some signage.''

After Christmas, Holiday Bling will dive into the market of seasonal decorations and Miss O'Leary said they would like to look at what they could offer private homeowners, as well.



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