Womaneer: Meet the Creative Who Continues to Innovate and Grow

Updated 02/15/18

Introducing: Womaneer, our new series that highlights and celebrates the oft–overlooked women of our day who are making waves in the fields of politics, crypto-currency, not-for-profit, and design. Each of these women have something in common: vision, grit, and a heavy dose of persistence that keeps them going despite the odds.

These women are proof that the gender gap is closing… that is, if you fight for it. With some guts, you can become the next pioneering voice in your field—a womaneer. Last week, we heard from Rebecca Yazbeck of NOMAD. Now, meet the next Womaneer in our series, serial entrepreneur Hayley Bonham, the founder of La Porte SpaceBonél PR and Maison D'Amore. It's also worth noting that Bonham has also just been nominated as a finalist for the prestigious 2018 Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award. Read on, to learn about how Bonham is making a difference in the creative industry, and some of the obstacles she has faced along the way.

 My career started 11 years ago working in international sales for for a fashion house, then moving into various roles in PR and styling, before launching my PR agency, Bonél PR in 2012.

Starting the agency allowed me the opportunities to work with some of Australia’s leading fashion and lifestyle brands as well as a number of well recognised international brands. Through frequent travels to Paris and London for work, I realised there was a gap in the Australian market for inspiring and beautiful working spaces that ticked the boxes from a functional and luxury perspective. My partner Rory Elsom and I decided to take a massive gamble and launched our first La Porte Space in 2015 and La Porte Deux 2017.

I didn’t study fashion, but I did take up a fashion business course at FBI Fashion College before taking my first fashion job. Most of my experience and knowledge has come from work experience and learning from amazing mentors and brands that I have worked for over the years.

I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to style, creatively direct and provide strategy for all of the businesses I own. My roles have definitely evolved over the years, as I started solo with no assistance or team in place for support.

As my reputation grew and more clients joined my agency or employed me creatively, I was able to employ a great team to support the growth. I now have an incredible team of like-minded women and men that allow me to focus on the growth and evolution of my businesses.

I’ve definitely faced challenges over the years. As a start-up and young entrepreneur you need to work extremely hard to create a great reputation and garner belief and respect from your peers. 

Launching La Porte was a great challenge as my partner and I did not employ designers, architects or take on any external help, as resources didn’t allow. We worked tirelessly to create a vision that we had dreamed of for years and it paid off, but it didn’t come without the ups and downs. 

I’m very instinctual, and I don’t hesitate when it comes to making business decisions. If you start doubting yourself and your ideas, it will have a negative effect on how you move forward. I try to remain very positive and surround myself with positive and like-minded people in business and life. 

I think the biggest obstacle is authenticity and creating a real and unique voice and an honest platform to showcase your business or ideas to the world. I think a lot of young women look at Instagram and social media and feel like they need to be at a certain place before establishing themselves and gaining the right experience. Take your time, learn and listen and this will create a long and great career for you. 

Multi-tasking and innovation, as well as managing multiple teams. 

My business partner is male and we treat each other and our teams with equal respect and create equal opportunities. I have been lucky to avoid gender bias during my career so far. 

My partner and I work together, so a lot of our conversations are work related. I try to meditate daily, exercise and ensure that I have time for family and friends. If I don’t allow myself time to step away, it can affect my motivation and performance on the job.

I’m a very visual person, I like to create mood boards for my goals. As much as I’m creative and visual, I like to be organised and set daily, weekly monthly and big-picture goals that I can tick off. 

I will be launching the first phase of my boutique luxury wellness hotel, Maison La Porte, along with the hotel will be some exciting projects that will extend into wellness and other extraordinary experiences. 

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