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Meet the entrepreneur providing space for creatives to flourish

Dean Taylor spotted a gap in the market for affordable production studios and created Urban Jungle Studios five years ago. Despite the business taking a hit during the pandemic, it’s now in growth mode and helping others turn their passions into profits.

At a glance

A line of credit from Prospa helped Dean Taylor to:

  • Cover the legal and bond fees to renew the five-year lease on his Brisbane studio
  • Refurbish the Brisbane studio
  • Prepare to open a Sydney studio

Brazilian drummers, hobbyist photographers and a women’s devotional group are among the many creatives grateful to Dean Taylor.

Most production and rehearsal spaces are cost prohibitive to anyone who’s not a high-end, full-time professional in their field.

Dean, who’s worked as a photographer as well as in event management for more than 20 years, was determined to fill this gap in the market.

Having run a similar business in Sydney, five years ago he launched Urban Jungle Studios. The first location he opened was in Brisbane, where Dean leased a purpose-built facility formerly owned by Queensland University of Technology. It came with several studios, some soundproofed, and a large area at the back.

“I enjoyed working with weekend warriors,” says Dean. “These are people with a nine-to-five job but their real passion is to be a music producer, DJ, photographer or other creative. I wanted to create affordable spaces that people could share or hire.”

Finding and creating a market

Typically a business operates in an existing category. But sometimes you have to find and create your own market, as Dean found out.

“The Brisbane market was different to Sydney where space is a premium and the creative hub is centered in the city,” he explains. “Brisbane is more spread out and the market isn’t as big. So whereas I had almost a waiting list in Sydney for people to get into the production studios, in Brisbane I needed to be creative about finding the market and allowing it time to build.”

After noticing there were a lot of of hobbyist photographers in Brisbane, Dean launched a photography club. This has become a thriving community and helped the business grow.

“It was a great way not only to bring the hobbyist photographers into the studio but it also meant that those who became confident with their shooting would hire the studio space.”

Urban Jungle Studios Blog 2From surviving to thriving

In late 2020 Dean took on a short-term lease on a property in Sydney to try to break into the market there before searching for a larger premises. But when the borders between Queensland and New South Wales closed, he was forced to shut the studio down.

Undeterred, Dean set his sights on the Gold Coast. Eighteen months ago he leased a large warehouse ideal for photographers, videographers and the hub of influencers in the area.

“We had quite a few photographers who drove up from the Gold Coast to Brisbane to attend our photo club, so I knew there was a strong market down there,” says Dean.

During the pandemic, Urban Jungle Studios took a hit, as casual studio bookings went down. It survived mostly thanks to long-term, permanent tenants and a scaling back of costs to the bare minimum.

Fortunately the business is taking off again. “I’m seeing a return of a lot of the business that I had before, plus more,” says Dean, who is the sole director, working with a handful of contractors. “I’ve been experiencing quite a sharp cashflow increase.”

Urban Jungle Studios 1Future proofing the business with Prospa

For the company to continue to succeed, Dean needed funds recently to renew the five-year lease on the Brisbane studio as well as refurbish it.

To help with this, he approached Prospa and took out a line of credit. “I wanted a pool of capital to allow the business to lock in that new five-year term and not draw funds out of the cashflow,” says Dean.

Dean chose Prospa because the application process was simple and the customer experience was much more friendly than other lenders. “Having a personal account manager that took me through all the steps was terrific,” he says.

The line of credit has also given him the freedom to explore leasing another Sydney studio when he finds a suitable property.

“I chose the line of credit over a small business loan because it allows me to expand the business in the future,” he says. “The flexibility of the facility was an important factor.”

“Prospa has given me the confidence that the business has got the capital behind it to make medium and long-term decisions.”

And these decisions are also helping other micro-businesses to flourish, something Dean loves about being an entrepreneur.

“I’m so proud of seeing photographers and other creatives building their confidence, enjoying their passions and turning them into side hustles,” he says.

Need funds to take advantage of a growth opportunity? Ask Prospa about a funding solution that keeps your small business moving.

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