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When it comes to work I sometimes find self-employment a little tricky. I’ve been a freelance Marketing Consultant for four years now (errm, how did that happen?) and have been lucky enough to include my blog in my job remit for the last one and a half years but sometimes I still feel like I’m playing at my career. This probably has something to do with the fact that I don’t feel like a grown-up yet, and also because with my two little responsibilities I’m not able to work full-time – though with all the evenings I do manage to bash out about 32 hours a week. I absolutely adore working though, it forms a huge part of who I am and I feel extremely lucky that I’m able to forge out a self-employed career in an area I love.
I have big plans for my business in the future and it’s important for me to keep working hard at what I do. I know I’ll be a role model for my children and I want them to believe they can have it all: a family, a career, a busy and fulfilling life. Which is why I love to meet women who are similarly inclined, women with a fire for business in their belly and who have given up other parts of their lives to go it alone and follow their dreams. Last week I was lucky enough to meet one such woman: Hannah (above, having a little snuggle with Hux), who is a talented jeweller working under the name épanoui, a french word which means to blossom, grow and flourish.
I took Hux along to meet Hannah and he was as enamoured as me by her creativity and her lovely jewellery (you can see me modelling the beautiful spheres necklace above and up at the top). An ex-PR professional, after leaving University (she studied Fashion Marketing and PR at Nottingham Trent) she always dreamed of making jewellery for a living and one and a half years ago she took the plunge and left her fast-paced career after attending a course at Central St Martins.
All her creations are designed and made from her home studio in Bedfordshire and they’re exactly how I like them: beautifully dainty and easy-to wear.
Hannah’s pieces are inspired by nature and I love the texture this brings to her jewellery, with this Radiance coin necklace being a particular favourite. I’m also a huge fan of the Memento leather & gold bracelets which come in different colours, each representing a different positive feeling (I think ‘Inspire’ in violet would be the one I’d hanker after!). But my ultimate favourite is the Delicate Spheres necklace (£45); it’s simple enough for me to wear every day and too small for little grabby hands to be interested in it. It looks gorgeous layered up with other necklaces or simply on its own.
Hannah’s attitude to work really inspired me; like me she is easily distracted when she’s working with things like food or the washing (self employment < rock n’ roll) and it was lovely to talk about how we got over our home-working hurdles. We had a similar step into self-employment too, Hannah was commuting into London as I did once upon a time and we agreed how soul-sucking it can be when you’re dying to channel your creativity elsewhere. She says that her least favourite thing about working for herself is the tax return (I hear you, sister) but the best things far outweigh Inland Revenue: she loves to create pieces she knows people will love and treasure forever and says she absolutely loves going to work each and every day.
épanoui jewellery is great for those big birthdays – 18th, 21st or 30th – because many pieces are able to be engraved. Hannah can make lots of things to order, too: I love the idea of one of her Heritage bracelets with engraved discs, a bit like a charm bracelet. On my birthday list is one with Elfie and Hux’s initials and birthdates.
Hannah’s also just launched a range of 100% linen wraps that are again all handmade in her studio. The creative process to put these together involves design, pattern making, dying, sewing and a lot of love on her part! They also have gorgeous names; above is the Florence but you’ll also find the Annais Leonié, Olivie, Luna and Amelie on the website very soon. I can’t wait to grab one of these myself (£45 – I LOVE the soft grey of the Florence), perfect for summer evenings when there’s that chill in the air.
What I loved about my morning with Hannah was the absolute passion she has for her creations. She comes from a creative family, her mother is an artist and her grandma a dressmaker, so it’s most definitely in her blood. She has such an obvious zest for what she does, her enthusiasm and happiness is infectious. If you’re after some jewellery hand-made in England with love, skill and craft then you need look no further than épanoui.
Thank-you Hannah for your awesome attitude and a lovely coffee morning! And thanks for not letting on to the Internet that I hate half of Hux’s cake… ;)