HotHouse: A hothouse of business


By Sadie Beckman

Photo Ishna Jacobs


HotHouse is a community of creative professionals passionately curious about technology, innovation and contemporary culture.

Smart, innovative thinking lies behind this progressive company, a literal hothouse of clever ideas and expertise in memorable, meaningful brand design and marketing solutions across web and print.

Based in Nelson, with a strong presence in Wellington too, the company has become one of the region’s major players in the marketing arena.

Now, a new venture means a fresh look and direction for HotHouse, collaborating  with other forward-thinkers to repurpose and revitalise a piece of Nelson’s history, gaining a new home along the way.

The Provincial Tavern building on Bridge Street, a heritage property, has now been completely refitted and restored, and is the stylish new premises for HotHouse’s Nelson operations, as well as accounting firm First Class, and pop-up-style eatery Jaks Island Espresso and Catering. The building now includes three beautifully fitted out accommodation units (the Provincial Apartments), available for short and long-term stays from next month.

HotHouse Creative Director and building co-owner Allan Innes-Walker is the source of much of the passion behind the new project, and says he is excited about preserving the rich history of the former tavern, as well as bringing it into the 21st century.

He is confident the combination of talent housed there along with the growth and renewed interest in the surrounding neighbourhood, means people will want to visit and explore.

HotHouse itself is already a pretty effective drawcard, and Innes-Walker’s philosophy for the business is steadfast.

“We want to build real partnerships where we’re completely invested as a brand and communications partner,” he says.

“Running a business is relentlessly hard – it’s our job to believe in them.”

Innes-Walker also believes strongly in the dedicated and passionate business people he is sharing his new space with, all of whom complement each other in different ways.

“First Class is a nationwide accounting franchise that offers top-notch support for businesses,” he says.

“Their ethos and expertise will work in well with HotHouse. Having them run their country-wide operations from here is fantastic.”

He also rates Jaks Island highly, and that’s not just because they’re his co-tenants. In fact, he says, he’s been working his way through trying their gourmet sandwiches, which feature such delights as pork with coriander and pineapple salsa, or roast beef with a chimichurri sauce.

“It’s gorgeous food and gorgeous coffee. The café is an urban style place, it’s not actually a pop-up, but it has that feel,” he explains.

“It just so happens that this particular café features award-winning chefs.”

Jaks Island is run by a collaboration of three women – Ali Slotemaker of Rabbit Island Coffee, a Mapua roasting company, and Jessie Verhoef and Kate Manley, both of whom are acclaimed local chefs. They have designed Jaks Island as a ‘collaborative co-op style business, where community, environment, employee well-being and profit all have equal importance’ and offer outside catering as well as their in-house coffee and lunches.

Enthusiastic, ardent and highly skilled at what he does, Innes-Walker is rapt to have already built  positive relationships with many clients within his own business, and established brand identities for them that deliver real results.

Now, in partnership with his new neighbours, and with new life breathed back into the old tavern, he has been part of creating a real destination for them too.


Phone: 03 545 7995


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