Every now and then even I catch myself thinking, “Gosh, I just wanna be Hannah Everly when I grow up.” Which should strike me as weird, since Hannah is actually my younger sister, but she’s just so cool that I forgive myself for it.
I’ve been wanting to feature Hannah on my blog for a while. When she was little, we used to call her “Hannah Fabulous” and as she’s gotten older, she’s only grown into that title more. At seventeen, she’s successfully run an eponymous fashion line for over three years, converted our dining room into a personal studio, and started taking online design classes from a school in Milan. Fabulous, yes, but also hardworking, creative, savvy, and very self-aware. Hannah Everly is still a budding brand with an online shop and popular instagram feed, but I want you all to have a chance to get to know the girl behind the clothes. My little sister, Hannah.
Tell me the story of how your business got started.
When I was around 13 I started going to this ballroom dance class with a bunch of my friends, and it had a strict dress code. It was so hard to find CUTE skirts that were long enough, so I started making and designing my own! My fabulous sister Rachel had the idea of starting a little business selling these skirts on etsy and it took off from there!
Where did you come up with the name “Hannah Everly”?
It’s my first and middle name! I wanted something that was simple but personal, and that I could easily turn into a brand. So I started with “Hannah Everly Designs” but dropped the “designs” after a year.
What are the pros and cons of working for yourself?
Pros: No one tells you what to do. Cons: No one tells you what to do. I’ve had to learn basically everything the hard way, and as the most extraverted person ever… it KILLS me to spend all week in the studio alone. But that said… I firmly believe that working for yourself is the best way to go, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Have you had any “pinch yourself’ moments so far?
Probably when Sarah Vickers wore my skirt (photos here and here), or when she was emailing me and giving me advice on being a young entrepreneur. She’s basically the closest thing we have to Kate Middleton so I was pretty star struck.
How has social media helped or hindered you?
Well it has hindered me by distracting me while I should be working! I’m “that girl” that is constantly deleting and re installing apps. That said… I honestly don’t know if I could have my business without it. I firmly believe that social media is the BEST way to advertise your products! Create a brand and image for your brand and then instagram it.
Who are your style inspirations?
Oh there’s lots. I take a lot of inspiration from old Hollywood actresses such as Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, but then I also love taking inspiration from my friends and incorporating their unique styles into my designs. I always ask their opinion before launching a line.
Nowadays, so many girls are afraid to be feminine and fear that others will view their girliness as weakness. What do you think about that idea?
Thank you so much for asking this question because it’s something people ask or comment on a lot. I definitely used to feel a bit more self-conscious that I was always the girl wearing a skirt and heels when the rest of society was wearing jeans and hoodies. Was I not as thick skinned and tough? Did people think I was ditzy and materialistic? But since when did girls dressing like guys empower girls? Shouldn’t we be confident in our feminity and the way we were made? We don’t have to dress or act like guys to be as smart or privileged as they are. We can dress like girls and be respected for who we truly are.
Tell us about the studio renovation. How did you decorate your place?
The studio was a group effort of all of my friends and family to be honest. My guy friends volunteered to spend a whole day doing all the painting and hanging the chandelier and huge mirror, and other friends drew pictures or painted watercolors to hang on the walls. I honestly didn’t clean up the studio and take everything out of boxes until about a month ago, even though I started the project in June. I went for black and white with lots of pops of color, because I feel like that captures the essence of the brand. I have lots of modern mixed with vintage and different patterns and textures.
What’s the next step for Hannah Everly Designs?
Wouldn’t I love to know, ha ha! As type A as I am I hardly ever plan things and certainly don’t have a life plan document going. I just plan on working hard and hopefully growing my business! I’d love to hire more people and get my own website and start offering more products! We’ll see!
What would you like to say to all the girls who look up to you for successfully running a clothing line?
*breathes heavily* I would totally encourage everyone to explore their gifts and interests and (as dad says) find something you love to do and find a way to make money at it… and you’ll never work a day in your life. I never EVER thought that I would fall so in love with my job and that my business would take off like this! Just take it step by step and have fun! Rome wasn’t built in a day
And here’s where you can find Hannah!