Women We Love: Sinead Bailey Kelly and Deidre Young – H&G Creations

On this week’s Women We Love, we focus in on two women making brands sparkle one event at a time. 

Sinead and Deirdre have thrown parties in haunted mansions, in run down warehouses, they’ve revamped Georgian buildings, created bespoke weddings and female focused DJ courses. H&G Creations Ltd. don’t just run events, they create 360-degree immersive experiences. In their own words, they make the ordinary extraordinary. 

Every element of a H&G Creations Ltd. event is considered; from lighting and design to art installations, music, live performance, floristry and catering. H&G Creations Ltd. add their unique flair making their events impactful and authentic. It’s easy to see why they’ve worked with global brands Accenture, Electric Picnic, Facebook, Guinness, Hendrick’s Gin, Indeed, and St. Patrick’s Festival.

This week I got chatting to the pair to find out how they’re changing up the event industry in Ireland.

Firstly, how did you guys meet?

S: We kind of met by chance online, on gumtree actually. It sounds like the beginning of a rom-com movie! I quit my job when I was 21 after working several years in hospitality to help some close friends of mine run a pop-up DIY gallery space called The Little Green Gallery. After working on my own curating and running shows for 9 months I needed help and that’s when I put a call out on Gumtree for someone to assist me with the running of the space. 

D: When I was in my early 20’s I was studying ceramics in NCAD, when I finished my degree it was the height of the financial crisis and there were no jobs at the time in the country. So I decided to go traveling, spending 3 years traveling across Southeast Asia, and Australia. I’m quite close to my family and could really feel the pinch after 3 years being away so decided to come back to Ireland to be closer to them. A friend of mine at the time seen the ad online and I went in for an interview. Sinead and I really clicked and the rest is history kind of. 🙂

Secondly, how did H&G Creations come about?

S: I love events, I always have. When I was in college studying photography I used all my spare time to host pop up art exhibition parties in clubs like button factory and twisted pepper. The Little Green Gallery was an extension of that, having a free space to host all kinds of weird and wonderfully creative and arts-related events. When the gallery space came to an end, we were lucky enough to secure a studio space at the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art through a friend of ours we were to look after the bookings at the space as well as the social channels in exchange for a studio space to help incubate H&G Creations.

D: After coming from a long history of hospitality and bar work, the last thing I wanted to do was run a bar space forever. When The Little Green Gallery merged with a bar space on Thomas street making it a multidisciplinary space with food and drink. I enjoyed the pop-up events aspect of the space, gallery openings, and any chance to decorate the space. I think when we were ultimately given the chance to take the space on ourselves, I was reluctant because it was really the pop-up events I had a passion for and not the day to day running of the venue. When we were given the opportunity to program the gallery space for the Irish Museum of Contemporary Arts we were able to use this space to platform H&G Creations by hosting large scale art parties that we decorated and themed, attracting the attention of several PR and marketing companies who then  hired us to help bring their brands to life.

What challenges did you face getting your career off the ground? And what challenges do you still face if any?

S: I had no previous business experience one of the downfalls of studying art or anything creative is there aren’t any supports to teach you business or that you will effectively be a sole trader when you graduate. So learning everything from scratch, applying it hands-on directly to your business and then learning from what works and what doesn’t. Challenges we still find today is finding reliable people to work with and expand our ever-growing family with.

D: Getting taken seriously because we were such a small company and getting people to believe in us even though we knew we had the passion drive to be a success. We are constantly growing and evolving as a business and we are working very hard to make sure our resources match our growth and that we are never compromising on the quality or high standard we have come to expect from ourselves.

What do you offer that other event companies don’t? What sets you apart?

S: We are next level creatives, applying creativity to all problem-solving. There are no problems that we can’t solve for clients and we do it with over the top enthusiasm and sparkle. What sets us apart is that we are so unique, and we help apply this to our clients…setting them apart from their competitors and that is invaluable.

D: Attention to detail, we are so immersed in our client’s needs we treat each event and each client with the utmost attention. Making sure that each client feels like they are fully supported and the objectives clearly communicated to their audience. We love making people feel special…because they are.

Your events are so immersive, your guests are super engaged and switched on, is this something you try to do with every activation?

S: We build all of our events around the customer journey, we think about every step of the way from getting to and from the venue from how they experience the event once they are in the door. It is so important for us to think over every detail to ensure our guests have the best experience possible. We are trying to create a playground for big kids because adults need to play. Play is so important to help us reconnect with our inner child and also with each other, and take a moment to disconnect from technology, so they can be fully present in the moment.

D: Technology plays such a big role in our lives, it’s hard to get away from it sometimes, we build events that will engage audiences, encouraging guests to participate rather than spectate, for them to become part of the art, keeping audiences so engaged that they forget to even look at their phones because they are having so much fun. We try to apply this participate rather than spectate mentally to all of our events, as brands and companies these days also want to capture and hold the attention of their audiences. We just want to make sure everyone is having fun!

What’s been a career highlight?

S: It was only three years ago that I mentioned in passing to Dee “wouldn’t it be sweet if we could create a float for Dublin Pride” and this year we were given the chance to create a float for the parade in conjunction with Indeed. It made it even sweeter that it was the 50th anniversary of the Pride since the Stonewall Riots. It gave me goosebumps walking past the GPO with a life-sized piece of art we conceptualized.

D: Creating a platform for people of Dublin to be creative, being able to be in a position to support arts, culture, and business within the city. Encouraging people to be the best versions of themselves, I think we are very talented facilitators and it’s very rewarding to be able to create or facilitate opportunities for other people within the community.

Who inspires you when it comes to your business acumen?

S: Collective Dublin, if you haven’t heard of these guys check them out. I am obsessed they are a group of really hard-working videographers who make striking emotionally compelling and super important work. They are changing the world through art, and are a huge inspiration not just for the work they create but more so the community they have built around them, that nothing is impossible, that they can manifest something from nothing, and that they really value mental health and wellness in the workplace.

D: Ronan & Des from Catapult, they have built a really authentic and great company that we love to work with! And were not the only ones. Not only do clients love working with their team, but their suppliers have the utmost respect for them as well, they really have a lot of great qualities that any company could and would want to aspire to. 

Have you anything coming up that you’d like to share with IndulgeMe readers?

S: We have been working on a series of projects over the last year and half that focuses on us making art because at our very core we are artists. These projects have a strong WHY and talk about topics that we feel affect us and our community. We have highlighted mental health and mindfulness amongst them. And on August 22nd we will be talking about how we can all do our bit to affect change because many hands make for light work. We will be building a pop-up garden on a barge on Percy’s place in an effort to raise awareness on how we can protect the local honey bee. Come out and play it’s going to be a free event at lunchtime on the 22nd.

D: Our annual Christmas dinners that we run every year, and is really such a highlight of the year for us. We will be hosting them again this Dec and we have a new spectacular venue that we cannot wait to share with our guests. It’s a sit-down dinner and performance curated and catered to by the best of the best in local performance collectives and food collectives. Keep your eyes peeled for tickets!

What insight would you give to young entrepreneurs starting out?

S: Don’t just wait for opportunities to come to a knocking, get out there and make opportunities for yourself. Use your creativity and initiative to get yourself out there any way you can. Find the potential in every interaction.

D: Get out there and do it, don’t just sit at home perfecting your idea, art, business plan, brand, etc until it’s perfect the best thing you can do for you to start today. Roll it out and fix it as you go, take constructive feedback, don’t be too rigid and evolve with every curve ball thrown your way.

What advice would you give to 20 year old you?

S: Don’t care so much about what other people think of you, dance your own dance and the ones you really want to attract will follow you too.

D: Don’t get so stressed about getting it perfect the first time, learning along the way is half the battle. Mistakes are where your most important lessons will lie.

Anything else you like to add?

S: Community is so important, take the time to nurture and support your community they will always do the same for you. And we would literally be nowhere without the support and love of our community.

D: Supporting initiatives like taking the night because without culture in Dublin we lose the essence of what we are known or and as a result, we will all suffer from such a loss.

You can follow H&G Creations on Instagram HERE