Tuesday, 2 April 2013

When I Grow Up...

There's nothing better than uncovering a hidden gem, and you'll definitely be in for a treat if you take a trip to Yellowstone Boutique in Staffordshire. We caught up with Hannah to find out a little more about  what makes them so unique... and have a peek on her iPod!

For those of us that don't know, can you tell us a little about Yellowstone?
I opened Yellowstone in March 2011, to showcase work made by new designers and makers who’d invested in University education. It’s all about shouting about fresh, exciting work and getting it out of studios and in to people’s lives. The artists are all British but live all over the country, which opens up my net massively. Right now we are a little gallery (in a little chalet next to a beautiful lake and Italian Garden) and we run an online store too.

How did the idea come about?
At Uni, I was taught to shout about my work and promote myself as an artist, which I think a lot of new artists struggle with. I was seeing incredible work done by shy artists who didn’t have the confidence to get the work out there. I really wanted a space for this work, where the artists didn’t have to there. They’re busy doing the creative bit right?

You studied Fine Art in Cheltenham, have you always wanted to work in a creative job?
I have always been creative, but I think most people are. I’m not really a 9-5 kind of girl (although Dolly Parton is amazing) so an office job would really hold me back. 
However, I am very organised and business minded so I also wouldn’t suit being a full time artist. Yellowstone is the perfect balance for me because I can sit down and do the books, work on stock and ordering, and then the next day spend 4 hours building a display. It keeps all the parts of my brain happy.

Can you describe your average day? 
If my other half is up early, he makes me poached eggs - if bacon is involved then I know it’s going to be a real good day. I open  the boutique at 10am (very civilised) and start the day making sure the displays are all looking inspiring and restock sales from the preview day, then sort the post, do a bit of paperwork and check emails. 
I usually work on my own, so I do my jobs in between chatting and serving customers, which keeps my day busy. I make sure I take time to read my daily blogs and check our twitter, facebook and Pinterest and usually spend an hour emailing artists, planning future shows or researching artists who’ve submitted and maybe another hour checking stock levels.
Before you know it, it’s time to clean up and get the gallery closed down. I usually have to stay and do some framing to replace spaces on the wall so it’s ready to go at 10am the next day.
I head back to my boathouse and eat, sit and read or draw to try and use my time wisely. I also spend a good 20 minutes on instagram looking at designers’ feeds and wishing I’d taken those photos.

What has been your biggest inspiration?
Without doubt, my parents and art lecturers. I find myself being much more inspired by people rather than pieces of work. When someone has the gumption to believe in themselves and get out there and live their dreams, I can’t help but be inspired. My parents always taught me to do what makes me happy, not what I think I should do, or what will make me money. The best advice I’ve ever been given is to find what makes you happy and do it every day. I made what I love, my job. So I think I’ve cracked it.

You work with a lot of talented artists, do you have tips on who we should look out for?
That’s a tricky one because I wouldn’t work with any of them if I didn’t think they were going places… But I think Lucy Harding and Holly Exley are really doing some new and exciting things. They both have a real identity to their work, which is really important for young artists who are hoping to get recognised. 

Illustration by Holly Exley

Tell us something no one else knows about you...
I’m very open and honest so that’s tricky… Unless you went to primary school with me, you won’t know, that I can’t do forward rolls. I have a mind block and panic every time I try. I feel like I’m really missing out.

Have you got any advice for anyone deciding to take the plunge of working for themselves?
I try not to dwell on the negatives of running my own business, or things could get a bit dark. But ‘hold on tight’ might be the best advice. Prepare to give up 98% of your free time, because work doesn’t stop at 5.30pm when it’s your own business. Ask for help and ask questions about things you’re not sure of. Winging it really doesn’t work when setting up, it has to be by the book or you’ll be in a serious pickle. Never open your own business to make money, open it because it is what you love and it will make you happy. Then if you can make a living of it, you’ll be ecstatic. 

And seeing as we've just released our music issue... what's on your iPod at the moment?
So I made a new playlist last night, here’s what is on it. Angus&Julia Stone, The Shins, Lucy Rose, Blur, The tallest man on earth, Laura Marling, Jenny&Johnny, Daughter, Bastille & Johnny Flynn.

Photo Credits: Luke Richardson

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