When Jano Dawes got her start as a window dresser with Sportsgirl straight out of high school in 1986, she did not just find a job, she found a passion. It was not long before the born-and-raised Queenslander, who is now behind The Prop House, Christmas Decorations Brisbane, and VM+ started her own business. “After two-and-a-half years with the company I started as a freelance window dresser (called Visual Merchandising now). I was 19 years old. That business grew into decorating shopping centres and then event theming until, in 1995, I started The Prop House,” said Dawes.

Dawes was inspired to create The Prop House after noticing the lack of outlets for props. More than just assets for live performances, props are regularly needed to furnish visual merchandising displays in retail stores and shopping centres. Jano wanted to create a one-stop shop for visual merchandisers and retail outlets, a business which evolved to also include prop hire. From an idea to a reality, The Prop House has gone from strength to strength. Recently, the Prop House designed and installed all of the styling at the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village. Jano said this was a huge effort, which is gaining enormous recognition from athletes and games management.

Though the events industry is a large one, The Prop House differentiates itself with a large breadth of services and products. Now, its offerings also include imported Christmas decorations. “I have owned the brand name, Christmas Decorations Brisbane, for some time but decided I wanted to launch an online shop for avid Christmas decorators to allow them the luxury of shopping, while at home, wine in the hand,” she said. “CDB was launched on 1 October 2017. It is an easy, stress free way to buy Christmas decorations. And our showroom in Woolloongabba is to die for – seriously worth a visit.”

VM+ works with a host of shopping centres for seasonal visual merchandising work, and indoor play spaces including Minipilly at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre. The brand also regularly installs Christmas decorations in corporate environments such as Queen Street Mall, Harbourtown and Orion Springfield. Jano does all this while running a household with three children and supporting her husband with his work. Despite her busy schedule, she has no intention of slowing down.

“What is the point of having a job or owning a business if you aren’t having a good time? I love my work, I am very proud of what my businesses achieve every day, I love my team and I am extremely proud of The Prop House and its sisters,” said Dawes. “I wanted to start something fresh and new,  to have a business that makes people feel good. When I meet someone and they say with a sparkle in their eye “Yes, I know The Prop House – I love that place” – that makes me feel like a success.”

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