If you haven’t spotted her cute, quirky and unique pieces on Instagram yet… you’re missing out! I caught up with Hannah from Small Victories Handmade to see how things are in her world and if she has any other adorable designs up her sleeve!
1) Where did Small Victories Handmade come from? Does the name mean something and how did you get started?
As an avid lover of all things vintage inspired (rockabilly, pin up, retro, etc.) I wanted to be able to create something that I could really engage with and relate to. I had amassed quite a collection of vintage inspired accessories, including many novelty brooches, when I finally decided to give it a try myself. Throughout my life I have come to love so many different crafts and have developed numerous hobbies, including sewing, baking and jewelry making, but found working with acrylics and resin to be particularly challenging yet also exceedingly rewarding, and I loved how I could intertwine my creations with my everyday look.
The name I have chosen for my little business – Small Victories Handmade – is actually quite symbolic. There is, of course, a nod to the vintage inspired nature of my brooches and my love of all things retro. However, it goes much deeper. We all have our own personal battles that we have to learn to overcome and for me that is my journey towards learning to live with depression and anxiety. This business venture is my way of being able to tackle these ‘less desirable’ qualities I see in myself.
Mental health is an issue I feel very strongly about and is something that is only very recently beginning to get the publicity and focus it needs and deserves. For me, each brooch I create is a small, handmade victory that shows the progression I have made, the patience I have developed and the self confidence and belief in my own abilities to be able to pursue my creative dreams. Recently I gave birth to my adorable little boy, the first of many I am sure, and I want nothing more than to be a role model for him and show him that anything is possible, dreams are achievable and nothing can stand in your way when you try! I want to be a mummy he can be proud of!
2) What was the first brooch you designed and how did you go about making it?
The first brooch I designed was a cute little skull and crossbones with love heart eyes – true rockabilly style! I kept him simple as I was still learning how to work with layering acrylic – and the resin was really tricky to get to grips with as getting the mixture wrong would result in a completely ruined batch of brooches! I’ll always look back at this design fondly but find it amazing to see how much our design process has changed since then. Most of my early designs started out as sketches, but now we design everything digitally as it comes out much more crisp and clean – much more professional looking, and the possibilities are endless!
3) What’s your process for making your brooches now?
Each brooch starts life as a digitised image which is then broken down into layers. This gets sent off to be cut from acrylic – although I would love to own my own laser cutter one day (*dreams wishfully*). From here the many, many small pieces of acrylic need to be cleaned and prepared for painting – and they often need two, if not three coats of paint to achieve the desired effect! Once dry the brooches can then be assembled and coated in several layers of resin before a brooch back is attached and it is boxed up ready to be sold and sent off to its new forever home.
3) Where do you get inspiration for your brooches?
Inspiration comes from all around. I often look through my wardrobe and see what ideas I can come up with to match the ever-growing collection of reproduction vintage dresses I own – I’m a bit obsessed! I also look at films, books, fairy-tales, animals, nature, seasonal, novelty themes, vintage rockabilly tattoos, old postcards … the list is endless! I particularly enjoy coming up with new pinup designs, whether they are portraits or whole body, wearing something beautiful or doing something fun. I try to ensure a mixture though – try to keep in stock some more obvious designs like fruits and some more abstract, unusual designs that one wouldn’t expect to find.
4) What’s your favourite design so far?
This is an almost impossible question to ask – although the mermaid, ukulele and tropical flamingo brooch are definitely high up on my list of favourites – not forgetting my custom pinup girls too – plus I tend to wear these quite a lot! It changes pretty much every time I make a new brooch though.
5) So, what do you have planned for the future? Any special designs coming up?
I have a very special new design ready to be released that I am extremely excited about. She is a new Vintage inspired Pinup Girl that is fully customisable, can be worn with or without the classic cat eye glasses and has the all-important VICTORY ROLLS!
How cute are these gals!? ❤
6) Are there any hints or tips you would pass on to aspiring entrepreneurs?
I have wanted to set up my own business doing something creative for as long as I can remember. Sewing has always been a huge passion of mine but I could never find that niche in the market, that something a little bit different and unusual to make and sell that would stand out from the crowd of other handmade products. Every time I did get an idea I would run at it 1000 miles per hour and then be too disheartened to carry on if it didn’t take off and become a huge overnight success – you see at heart I am a perfectionist who sets expectations far higher than is realistic. Of course, having a good product and an audience who are interested is paramount to a successful small business.
However, it took me a long time to realise that I was my biggest obstacle and that unless I changed my attitude and approach then I would never experience the success I craved. Now I pace myself, taking things a step at a time, I set realistic goals and I celebrate the small achievements. I will always be a perfectionist and have high expectations – but I have learnt to tailor this into a positive attribute that enables me to create something I am immensely proud of rather than something negative that holds me back.
7) And for the vintage loving gals here… what’s your best vintage/pinup style top tip?
A hair donut cut in half makes the perfect base for creating an impressive, yet ridiculously quick and easy, victory roll. This is my go to hairstyle when I simply can’t be bothered or don’t have time – which let’s be honest, is 90% of the time! Add a few hair flowers to hide the bobby pins, slap on a bit of lipstick – and of course a matching brooch – and you are pinup ready in next to no time!
I am super excited to say that I have my very own Victory Rolls brooch – does she remind you of anyone? 😉 I love how everything about this brooch is customisable – even her skin tone! And She came beautifully packaged! I now think every pin up should have her own Victory Rolls brooch ❤
You can find the beautiful designs of Small Victories Handmade on Etsy (etsy.com/shop/Smallvictoriesmade) or check out her social feeds here…