A Crafty Business: An interview with Hannah Smith

Hannah makes beautiful vegan and soy wax candles with lots of different scents and designs, often presented in beautiful, vintage teacups. She also designs makeup brush and stationary rolls from gorgeous cottons and polycottons.
She tells us all about her business, HandmadeByHannaRose, in the Boss Girls UK interview below. You can find her store on Instagram and Etsy!  
How did you come to start your business?

It’s fair to say that when I started my business, I was in a massive rut. I was working long split shifts in a restaurant and was really struggling health-wise, both mentally and physically. I decided that I needed to do something for myself! I’ve always loved crafting and have a seriously unhealthy obsession with candles so I started to make my own. My dad then bought me a sewing machine, which I used to make my sister a makeup brush roll and my ideas started to flow from there!

What inspires your collection?
My collection has so many different inspirations – the scents I use tend to be inspired by my favourite perfumes or just my favourite smells like sweet peas or fresh cotton. I believe a particular smell can take you instantly right back to a specific place, moment or person and I just love the nostalgic feeling I get when I make certain candles.
How do you market yourself and which is your most successful platform?

At the moment I market myself pretty much solely through Instagram as I’ve been a little pushed time wise. I’ve found it the easiest to reach a wide range of people on and to build relationships as well as to get involved in the most amazingly supportive community of other crafters.

What advice would you give to other women starting up in business?
The biggest piece of advice I would give to other women in business is to connect with others who are in a similar situation. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing the support and encouragement I’ve received has been. It really has helped me to carry on at times when I’ve been scarily close to giving up!
What do you like about working for yourself?
One of the best things about working for myself has to be the flexibility, I can attend things that I would often miss through working late nights and I can also be at home a lot with my two labradors. However, I’d probably say the best thing about it is the way it’s changing me as a person; I’m having to challenge myself every single day to do things that I’ve never done before, which is so important when you suffer from things like anxiety, I find it all too easy to stay well inside my comfort zone and shy away from new things!
Is there an aspect of your work that you find challenging?
Definitely, I found it in many ways challenging to stay disciplined and focused at first. Suddenly I was my own boss and only answered to myself, which at times meant I really struggled to to find the drive to keep working hard. I’d also say working for yourself can be a lonely place; there’s no one there to tell you when you’re going wrong or to encourage you when you’re doing well. You have to find that in yourself, which is another reason why building relationships and a community with other small business owners is so, so important and worthwhile.
Do you have any future plans for the business?
I have so many plans for the future, firstly I’m currently working on expanding my product range through a collaboration with the amazing talented, AmmieRee Jewellery, so watch out for that! Secondly, I’m going to be focusing on expanding further internationally as I already do ship quite a lot to the USA.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Free time is a funny one when you work for yourself, I often find it difficult to switch off, particularly from the social media side of things. However, I’m a big believer in self-care and over the last few months I’ve been exercising more, eating healthier and making sure that I take a little time out for myself, whether it’s to read a book, have a bit of a pamper or just to sit out in the garden with my dogs and a cup of tea (on the rare occasion the weather’s good enough!)

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