Spotlight | April Hardy, Zanzera Creative
a creative thinker makes toowoomba her home
april hardy is already a serial entrepreneur.
After starting and selling a successful online skincare brand, April moved back to Toowoomba with a shiny new graphic design qualification. Now, as a certified Shopify Expert, her portfolio includes TFG regulars like Luminosa and Green Dandelion. Her agency Zanzera Creative is her twist on zenzero, Italian for ‘ginger’ – any guesses why?
Name: April Hardy
KNOWN FOR: big, creative thinking + a deep love of horses
Occupation: graphic designer
Born: young, nsw
Local since: on and off since 1999
First things first: why Toowoomba?
Mum, Dad and I relocated to Toowoomba from country NSW in 1998 for their work. I lived here until I relocated to the Gold Coast in 2010 where I spent the next seven years studying and building three businesses before returning back to Toowoomba in 2017. Growing up here I always wanted to move away, but returning now has made me appreciate how much I enjoy Toowoomba.
what businesses are you currently working on?
Zanzera Creative is a boutique graphic design agency I started in 2015 after I graduated as from CATC Design School on the Gold Coast. My passion is creating unique and modern design solutions (specialising in branding and websites) for small to medium sized businesses. My point of different is my experience in both the design space as well as owning and operating small businesses outside of design. There is value that comes from having experienced both sides of design and entrepreneurship.
I also am the owner of Break-Ups Suck, which is an online business that offers gift boxes specifically designed for girls who are going through a break up. After going through a few of my own relationship ups and downs, I saw a gap in the market and decided to venture into another online business, and hopefully help (in some small way) girls who might be struggling with the minefield that is a break up.
What have you learned about running a business in Toowoomba? What are the unique opportunities, benefits and challenges?
The great thing about Toowoomba is the ability to grow business relationships easily. I don’t know if it’s ‘country spirit’ here in Toowoomba but so many of my clients and contacts see the value in referring business as a gesture of their satisfaction with my work The only challenge I have found is sometimes clients can be inclined to stick to ‘safe’ options or choices when it comes to design, whereas I’ve found bigger city folk are more geared towards the most on-trend and modern. Given I’m a forward-thinking creative, sometimes this has its draw-backs.
What does an average day look like for you?
I’m usually up and about by 7am with a greeting from my four-legged friend, Basil. Then it’s coffee time and I’ll begin in the studio by 8.30am. Some mornings I’m known to frequent my absolute favourite coffee haunt, Sweet Talk. From mid-morning to mid-afternoon its design projects, phone calls, emails and generally ticking away at my desk. I’ll usually either have a chilled Spotify playlist as my soundtrack or I’m a big fan of any type of serial killer podcast playing as I work (odd I know!).
I usually wrap up projects and my to-do list for the next day at about 4.30-5pm before swapping my daggy jeans and band tee for jodhpurs and boots for a ride on my seven year old thoroughbred mare, Cosmo. Either a ride or gym session will wrap up my day.
What does your ideal Toowoomba weekend look like?
Anything horse and mates related!
After designing all week, my absolute favourite thing to do is ride Cosmo, whether it be at local ag shows, clinics or just out and about on a trail. Even though it can be an expensive exercise at times, having Cosmo is better than therapy! Riding resets my brain, allows me time away from a computer screen and gets me outside. If I’m not riding, I’m spending time with amazing girlfriends or family, walking Basil at Queens Park, maybe a drink or two at George Banks or just curled up in front of the TV with a good Netflix movie.
Only a Toowoomba local would know…
Just how bloody cold Toowoomba can get in winter!
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
PERK UP: Profile Hair Design once in a while (they are the bomb!)
RELAX: Queens Park for a doggo walk.
EAT: Pony Espresso – their whole bowls are so delish.
INDULGE: Raw Energy for a acai bowl, banana smoothie or yummy carrot cake.
SHOP: My go-tos for clothing would be Seed, Sportsgirl, RM Williams (country girl at heart) or Rockwear (I wear a lot of activewear). And I’m often found spending way too much at Saddleworld or Horseland.
CATCH UP: Sweet Talk.
BE INSPIRED: I’m always inspired by a drive in the country with a good Spotify playlist to sing along to.