I’m very pleased to be introducing you to Hannah from Hannah Shines the next in my series of wonderful 2 minute interviews with #incredibleindependents. Hello! I’m Hannah and my business is Hannah Shines. I make bespoke, personalised art and have a range of creative services that I can provide for businesses or individuals.

1. Why did you start your business?

Hannah Shines is a total career change for me! I had my second child, left my salaried job in science policy and – although I felt very adrift at first – I held onto the belief that it was an opportunity to try something new.

This was my “now or never” moment: I decided I owed it to myself to explore using my first love, art. I started saying yes to any creative offer in my path and began making or painting as much as possible. Before I knew it I had a small portfolio which led me to build a website and formalise my output. In 2017 I was chosen to illustrate a wonderful children’s book “The Three Little Christmas Pigs”, which sold well on Amazon. Getting that job gave me so much confidence and became a definitive marker of what I could do with my business and skill set.

2. What do you love about running your own independent business?

I’m embracing the freelancing lifestyle – working for myself has unveiled a beautiful freedom, albeit married with an element of fear! But that fear has given me the incentive to push myself forward more than I’ve ever had to do before. What has absolutely amazed me is the more I try, and the more projects I do, the more doors seem to open up for me. A huge bonus has been meeting and working with lots of interesting people and organisations – from transport companies and schools to the zoo! I’m a busy mum too and need to be flexible. Independent work means that I’m able to fit jobs in around managing family life. Most weeks I factor in time to co-work with a group of other freelancing parents. A few of us set this up so we weren’t always going-it-alone and had the benefit of an office environment which has been so supportive – I love the camaraderie!

3. What is your favourite product or service you provide and why?

I’m predominantly an illustrator and so my favourite product is anything to do with story-telling through images. I can produce book illustrations, wedding art and stationery, graphics for social media to bespoke art for your home. One service I’m thrilled about offering is my “live sketching” because I absolutely love the challenge of drawing on the spot. This is when I go out to an event / workshop / place / wherever and capture the essence of what’s going on in cartoon format. It’s a great way of communicating the key points from e.g. a meeting, and taps back into my other skill set of policy work. A visual record works really well when you can’t always take photos, say of young people, and an infographic can be so much more engaging than a list of bullet points.

An example of Hannah’s Live Sketching

An example of Hannah’s live sketching

4. Let’s spread the indie love, name some other independent businesses you support.

There are lots of hugely talented artists in this area that offer workshops and courses. I have learnt the basics of calligraphy from the lovely JudyBroadCalligraphy.co.uk who can be found at the Medicine Garden in Cobham. RobinRutherford.co.uk holds a series of friendly, affordable life drawing classes on a drop-in basis at Cass Art in Kingston. At weekends I’m often found in the Pistachio Café in the Kings Field, Hampton Wick. Such a friendly family business with the best coffee and ice cream in the area, free wifi for working and is next to the skate park and tennis courts so the kids are fully entertained!

5. Which is your favourite social media platform and why?

It has to be Instagram @hannahshines01 I’ve found it to be such a supportive community and full of inspiration – and sometimes I even get jobs through it!

You can get in touch with Hannah here – hannahshines.co.uk | @hannahshines01 |

A big thanks to Hannah for participating and sharing more about her business with us. You can see how passionate she is about her work. Please continue to share the independent love and use the hashtag #incredibleindependents and tell me more about your favourite independent businesses!