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Hans Hulsbosch Hulsbosch

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Half a century ago a quaint village in

established 1986; twenty employees; $10 million turnover

m the

dormant south of the Netherlands, a young Hans Hulsbosch was sketching his first picture.

Despite living a world away from Australia and having never set foot outside his low-lying country, the boy drew a little kangaroo.

Fast forward to the present, and Hans is still drawing kangaroos. But bigger—much, much bigger. On the tails of Qantas jets.

When Hulsbosch was asked to redesign the famous flying kangaroo logo for Qantas, he couldn't help but reminisce about his debut drawing. The revamped Qantas logo and the recently relaunched Woolworths logo are the latest in a long line of successful ideas from the creative minds at Hulsbosch, the design company Hans launched in 1986.

Redesigning Qantas's kangaroo, one of the world's best-known logos, was not the first time he had dealt with the airline. In fact, it was Qan- tas that helped launch Hans into the cut-throat Sydney ad industry.

Hell-bent on living in Australia since childhood, he'd initially migrated with his wife to New Zealand.

Despite being a designer of some note—he'd created the packaging for Willem II, then the world's largest cigar manufacturer—Hulsbosch was repeatedly turned away from the Australian embassy in the Netherlands.

'When I said I was a designer, I think they laughed.

When they needed carpenters and plumbers, I guess designers were last on the list,' he recalls. The newlyweds had to become New

Zealanders before they finally got approval to live in Australia, but Hulsbosch says it was 'worth the sacrifice'. By then they had two children. Arriving in Sydney, they wasted no time setting up their new life. Within two days, the Hulsboschs had an apartment in Mosman filled with new furniture from David Jones, and Hans had a prize job at the prestigious ad firm Clemenger.

'As soon as I arrived, I just started knocking on doors,' he says.

At Clemenger, 'I had the best time. Those four-and-a-half years there were just phenomenal. Probably one of my favourite ads was for Tia Maria. That campaign was one of the first in the world for a product apart from tourism that became a global one. I was travelling a fair bit, and you'd be going through Rome or New York and there would be your ad on a billboard. It was a great feeling.'

But despite the praise, the salary and the lifestyle, something was missing—design. Hulsbosch was mad about design, but the giant ad firm didn't see it as overwhelmingly important. So he did something he was already quite accustomed to: he took a risk.

'I went to the management and said, "We are doing something wrong. What we are missing is a design arm in the agency." They were already doing design in Europe on a small scale, but all I heard back was, "Mate, there's no money in it. Go and do some ads."

'So I thought, here is an opportunity, I'm going to do it. And I made the decision to move out and start my own business.'

A tiny office in North Sydney was to become Hulsbosch's first home. The four-metre-square box contained a desk and chair, a fax machine,

a photocopier and a I couldn't have had a phone. But within a

more fantastic start. Once year Hulsbosch had Qantas and P&O walked in c ^ cc

the door, I'd made my first million within about a year and a half.

five or six staff, a new office and, more importantly, two of the biggest clients he 1. could have hoped for: Qantas and giant cruise operator P&O.

'I couldn't have had a more fantastic start,' he says. 'Once Qantas and P&O walked in the door, I'd made my first million within about a year and

a half.'

Today, his latest Qantas and Woolworths logos hang proudly in Hulsbosch's plush Mosman office, alongside designs for clients such as Tar- onga Zoo, Nylex, Foxtel and Oatley Wines.

Hulsbosch says keeping designs and thinking fresh is the key to surviving when the economy

takes a dive.

Businesses, he adds, must stay relevant so they are poised to lead the way when the recovery starts. When that happens, 'It is going to be tough, because there will be fewer companies and they'll all be fighting for business. So you need to make sure you are sending out the right signals.' To keep work coming in, Hulsbosch has been cutting its rates. 'We have had to become a lot more flexible—some of our clients are not doing so well, so it is about helping them get out of the current situation.'

Rebranding, he notes, is not just about logos. It is about the company's whole image. Hulsbosch cites McDonald's as an example. 'They are keeping the store designs fresh, and now you can buy a meal for a dollar. They really get what is happening in the economy and are responding to it.'

Hulsbosch says Woolworths' 'fresh, inviting' green logo is already paying dividends, and store design has also helped. 'You always want to invite people in through the fresh produce section and make sure it is presented in an attractive way. It sets the tone for the experience and gives the whole shop a "fresh" feel,' he says.

These days at Hulsbosch, cash flow is king. Hans is keeping a closer eye than ever on incomings and outgoings, but he is still expanding and still hiring: 'The economic downturn is a great time to look for new staff, because when the economy is booming, you just can't find anybody.'

He says his clients are wonderfully loyal. Take, for example, his most recent encounter with Qantas.

'I was called over to [chief executive] Geoff Dixon's office. He stands there and says, "As of today, you've got the business. Have a look at the identity, see if it still applies. If you think it needs to change, go and sort it out. But don't come back with the wrong thing." '

Judging by his record, Hulsbosch couldn't do the wrong thing if he tried.

Andrew Carswell

golden rules

Nothing happens without a brilliant, committed team.

The goalposts change every day, and you must be able to change rapidly.

Never underestimate the value of loyalty.

Never let the competition know what you are doing.

Always be thinking about how you can make your brand better than the competition.

The Day That Changed A Life

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Источник: Nick Gardner. How. I made-.my first million. 26 self-made millionaires reveal the secrets to their success. 2010

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