Introducing The Prop House Collective, Australia’s leading event styling, prop hire, visual merchandising and corporate Christmas company, now all under one spectacularroof – and a story of a woman in business who never gave up
After 35 years in business, Brisbane’s Jano Kotzas knows a thing or two about success, and how to keep it happening. This week she has officially merged two of her creative companies in The Prop House and Visual Merchandising Plus (VM+), to create a super-creative hub called The Prop House Collective.
This collaboration marks the beginning of an extraordinary journey, combining award-winning event theming, prop hire, visual merchandising services and commercial Christmas solutions under one roof.
Jano said the merger was a pivotal moment.
“It’s time to take our creative endeavours to the next level. With the Olympics here in 2032, the eyes of the world are increasingly on Brisbane, Queensland and Australia, watching every event, how organisations and suppliers create and curate celebrations, and how business is done. We are excited to be a part of this, working in one of the most exciting regions in the world.”
Without Jano and her businesses, the Australian events and conferencing industry would not be the powerhouse it currently is, and it would certainly not be as dynamic, as colourful or as well presented.
Over the past 35 years (30 with The Prop House and then Visual Merchandising Plus) she has been involved with the most influential events Brisbane has ever seen. She has created, curated and crafted theming, design, event statements and conferencing experiences for some of the world’s most prestigious brands, individual operators and for businesses across the spectrum of industry and has been pivotal in establishing Brisbane on the map as a stunning event venue.
Just some of the names on her client list reflect the level and strength of business she generates: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Westfield, Toyota, Treasury Casino, MIRVAC Group, Brisbane Airport Corporation, Business South Bank, Gold Coast Airport, Harbour Town Shopping Centre, Jupiters Casino, The Coffee Club, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Metro Property Development, Lend Lease, The Myer Centre, Stockwell Development Group, QIC, Gasworks, and Somerville House.
Business success over 35 years does not come easily, and Jano has met many a challenge – as a woman and as a business leader.
In 2011 she faced the January floods when her Montague Road warehouse was inundated, as were so many. While the floods devastated, they also inspired – the Mud Army united to save many businesses including The Prop House. Jano carries this inspiration with her every day.
This was followed by the GFC. Extreme belt-tightening washed over the economy and many clients pulled back budgets. It was a time of learning, business survival and skills adaption for Jano. However, through it all, she has stuck by her childhood dream of building a successful business out of creativity.
Then, when COVID effectively slammed shut the worldwide event industry, and saw the demise of so many event and related companies across the country, Jano kept all 15 full time staff on, with no money coming through the doors, just a belief in tomorrow.
Over this time, she has also welcomed three children into the world and enjoys the support of a wonderful partner; as well as a loyal network of friends. This is the true mark of a successful business woman – the ability to live life with both hats on.
Reflecting on the road to The Prop House Collective, Jano said it took a team, of the right people, and an ability to deliver.
“I believe in building and nurturing real relationships in business, so don’t cross people, be honest, pay what you owe, remember names, and be real,” she said. “Secondly, delivery in business is vital - do what you say you are going to do every time, take responsibility for your work and employ the right people!”
“And thirdly, creativity is our currency - more heads around a design are better than one and ultimately make a better result, always believe in WOW and go that little bit further!”
The Prop House Collective – A Short History
Within the same year, The Prop House styled the Athlete’s Village for the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast.
• 2022: Moving leaps and bounds, The Prop House and it’s sisters VM+ and Christmas Decorations Brisbane out grew its Vulture St home and settled into its biggest premises yet (1500m2) in the heart of Coorparoo.
• 2023: The Prop House and VM+ combined, becoming Brisbane’s ultimate powerhouse for Events, Activations and Christmas – THE PROP HOUSE COLLECTIVE was born.