Moving from a small town in Northern England to the, ‘Big Smoke’ could be a daunting experience for some. Sweaty red double decker (burning)buses, 24 hour all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets, ridiculously high rent for ludicrously small bedsits, Friday night rush hour on the North Circular and severe hunger strike to afford those latest Prada lace-ups. But not for Hannah Nuttal; creator and founder of kitsch jewellery label, Hannah Makes Things. It seems it was here in the Capital where she truly flourished.
After gaining a place at top University of the Arts, Central Saint Martins in London, Hannah realised her dream to design and create her own jewellery range. Based in Manchester but now sold all over, the primary aim for the label was to make it accessible to those looking for a quick eclectic trinket fix, on a beyond reasonable budget with a gem that you would not find anywhere else.
From magical unicorn necklaces, doll head earrings, multi-coloured peace sign bracelets and a king of hearts watch necklace, to ladybird cute, fruit ‘n’ veg madness and personalised tattoo stencils; the world of ‘Makes Things’ is one straight out of an enchanted storybook.
Initially holding a small market stall on Brick Lane in Shoreditch, her creations are now worn by celebrities including Eliza Doolittle (who is never seen without a necklace or two from Hannah’s personal style range) to Mollie King from girl group, The Saturdays and pop songstress, Pixie Lott. Beautifully childlike, fun and entirely individual, the only way is the rainbow sky for Queen of Quirk, Hannah Nuttal (which in no doubt she would picture perfectly onto a brooch or ring).
As her tagline states, “Amazing Jewellery, Made With Love”. Adorable. However, fly there quick; these treasures do not have a tendency to stick around…
How did you get into jewellery design?
I spent five years training in Product and Industrial Design, which I really liked but always found myself returning to jewellery making in my spare time for friends and family. I enjoyed the endless possibilities for using varied techniques and materials. The swift nature in which your ideas come to life and could be developed into tangible items, really appealed to me and helped feed my passion for designing and making.
You studied at Central Saint Martins, how did this learning help you succeed in designing your own range?
Attending Central Saint Martins was a dream come true. The very nature of the college; with its international mix of students and location in Central London, was a massive inspiration for me. I met people from all over the world and got to see their perspectives on design and this helped me approach my own work in new ways. I got to see how other designers and creative professionals had started their careers and I made sure
I learnt as much as I could, wherever possible, in order to build a similar creative business of my own one day.
How would you sum up Hannah Makes Things in five words?
Fun, different, shiny, young & quirky.
What is the sole idea behind your work?
To make items which people stop and say, “Wow”.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
Vivienne Westwood; I love the collaborations she has done with Melissa Shoes in recent years. The vibrancy and boldness in her designs and the whole brand ethos have always appealed to me.
What kind of person do you have in mind when you design?
We have quite a unisex following as lots of our designs are based on day-to-day items. I always try to make my designs look a little out of the ordinary, or I take a common item and give it a twist. I try to think what I would like and then get feedback from friends and develop the designs that way. I have such a wide customer base, all ages and styles, so I tend to design pieces that have a wide appeal when possible.
Where do you see yourself and your line in five years time?
I have had so many amazing offers, opportunities and experiences in the first few years of the business that I am really excited about what the future holds. I would love to stock my products in highstreet shops and perhaps develop some Hannah Makes Things concession stalls in department stores. I have so many new designs in the pipeline and I’m really excited about our new collections and where they will lead the brand.
What are your aspirations for the future?
To build the brand, but still stay known for our unique style. And to travel more regularly!
For anyone out there who aspires to launch their own jeweller range, what advice would you give?
Research your market in depth, see what similar companies are doing and see if there is a gap in the market suited to your product. Do what you love, not what you think other people will love, or you will find that you lose interest. Do not get disheartened by setbacks or disappointments; treat them as a lesson learnt and build on them. The level of work that you have to put into your own business is phenomenal. I have a friend whose favourite quote is, “Trust Your Struggle” and I think this is the best way to look at having your own business or label.
And finally, if you were not designing jewellery, where would you be instead?
I am a nightmare when it comes to projects and hobbies as I have a million things on the go at once! I would like to become a guitar maker, or luthier; the combination of design and music holds a big fascination for me. My boyfriend and I also have four rescue dogs so that takes up most of our spare time. We always talk about opening a dog rescue home in the future as we both love animals; we just need to find a nice big house without too many neighbours! I think I would always choose a career that involves practical skills though; I am not happy unless I am making things! (Hence the name.)
Stocked at Hannah Makes Things