Hello! Today I get to share one of my favourite posts – talking to small creative businesses about what inspires them and how they keep creative. I’m talking today to Hannah Bass, owner of a contemporary tapestry business that designs and sells colourful, urban, contemporary designs of city maps from around the world.
I came across Hannah’s designs when I visited her stand at the Knitting and Stitching show in March this year and fell in love with her San Fransisco kit. It was one of those things where I saw it, loved it, walked away and kept thinking about it all day before my Mum and sister encouraged me to go back and treat myself. I’ve just got going with it, my very first tapestry kit, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it this summer.
I’m thrilled to have Hannah here on my blog today; so sit back, put your feet up and let’s have a chat…
Hey Hannah, it’s so great to have you here. Let’s kick things off with a little introduction to who you are…
I’m a creative soul. I’ve always loved making things, from playhouses for my Sylvanian families, to bespoke furniture for my clients. Bright colours, the outdoors, sport & travel make me happy. I became an Interior Designer after university. Ten years later I wanted to focus more on the ‘handmade movement’, to bring back the skills of our grandparents. In such a fast paced, high tech world, like meditation & yoga, needlepoint is incredibly therapeutic. It forces you to slow down and relax.
For readers who haven’t heard of your products, could you tell us a little bit about them?
I design graphic, colourful, contemporary needlepoint kits of city maps.
I have a busy mind, so needlepoint has always appealed to me – it calms me. I stumbled across my products by chance. I couldn’t find a modern needlepoint I wanted to stitch which fitted with my interior décor, so I designed a map of my home town, London. Friends liked it, so it grew from there. I’m quite an impulsive person, so I quit my job pretty quickly & started designing a few more round the kitchen table.
In such a fast paced, high tech world, like meditation & yoga, needlepoint is incredibly therapeutic.
I bought your San Francisco kit in March and I’m curious to know how you choose a city and how it goes from an idea to a kit that’s ready to sell.
Initially, I chose the cities that had an obvious theme: San Francisco – the rainbow, Barcelona – the Gaudi colours etc. These days it’s down to the most requested cities. Everybody has a different emotional attachment to a different place. My next 2 designs will be Berlin and Edinburgh.
So what does a typical day look like to you?
I usually answer my emails in bed, then make up the overnight online orders for posting. The admin, marketing & general ‘to-do’ list are sorted in the morning so I can empty my brain & focus on designing, the bit I love. I work from home so I like to get out the house at lunchtime to separate the morning and afternoon. I head to the gym for a swim, steam & sauna. There’s a great café there that’s lovely to work from too. I design in the afternoon and the evenings are spent stitching the next prototype.
Only do it if you love it. I love what I do and it’s perfect for me. But I’ve made a number of sacrifices in the process.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d offer to anyone thinking of starting their own business?
Only do it if you love it. I love what I do and it’s perfect for me. But I’ve made a number of sacrifices in the process. It’s hardwork, so your heart has to be in it.
What’s the key to a happy life for you?
Balance, I think. I’m a Gemini, so I’m an odd contrast of things. I’m overly social at times, yet very shy at others. I need people, but also peace and quiet. I love London, but I need to escape to the countryside every so often. Love, good friends, good hobbies & walking the dogs.
And finally, who would you invite to your famous person dinner party (dead or alive) and why?
Winston Churchill. He’s the ultimate ‘one liner’. Charming, intelligent, brave and funny. A bit of a dying breed.
Hannah has also very kindly offered a 10% discount to readers of This Little Space of Mine with the code thislittlespaceofmine (valid until the end of July 2016). Pop on over to her website and treat yourself to a new craft project.
If you fancy catching a previous ‘A chat with…’ here are a few links for you –
Finally, I thought I’d put out a call to see if there are any small business owners you’d like to see featured in this series? Or perhaps you’re a small business owner and would like to be interviewed? A chat with is taking a break now until September, but I’m on the lookout for suggestions so drop me an email.
Thanks for reading… I hope today’s post has inspired you to take up tapestry!