Tell us the story of your business– was there a particular moment, person, or need that inspired it?

I worked as a naturopath in clinics and health food shops for almost 15 years before I started Hanami. I noticed that there was a gap in the market when it came to ‘clean’ beauty products that were also bright, bold, and fun to look at, that also ticked all of the ethical boxes… so, I set out to do it myself.

How did you come up with your business name? 

That part was surprisingly easy. I love visiting Japan, and April is my favourite time to travel there for the cherry blossom festival, called the Hanami festival. The Hanami celebrations usually involve eating, drinking, playing and listening to music with friends and family underneath stunning flowering trees – everyone is happy, having fun (and most a little tipsy), witnessing the ‘transient’ beauty of the flowers – it all seemed very fitting with what I wanted to represent as a brand.

Describe how you felt when you started to get your first customers. How has your relationship with your customers grown and changed since then? 

I started with a tiny range of just 6 nail polish colours, and I was pretty shocked to have these all sell out within the first couple of weeks after launching. I knew that my friends and family would support me from the get-go (i.e. buy my things!), but it was crazy how many customers found me with my very small online presence back then. I’ve always welcomed and encouraged feedback and suggestions on how to improve Hanami products, and have taken everything on board from shade suggestions, formula changes, packaging tweaks etc – I adore my customers (both retail and wholesale), and I have developed some close friendships with many of them over the last 3 years, which I am truly grateful for!

How do you keep your business fresh and exciting? Do you have any new, upcoming products in the works that you can tell us about? 

I plan new shades and products for every season, so I am always working 2 seasons ahead at any time, so there’s never really time to let the dust settle. Right now, I am making some final decisions on our Spring/Summer 2020 collection of polishes, and I have a few other face and hand products in the pipeline that are not quite ready to reveal yet… but soon, I promise.

Who is your biggest inspiration, and why?

I’m inspired by so many people in my life, but on the daily I’d have to say my 3-year-old son, Atlas – he encourages me to explore new things, to play more, and obsess less! He is honest (a lot of the time brutally so), extremely energized (without coffee), truly optimistic, and believes that he can be anything he wants when he grows up – that’s very inspiring to me!

Where do you think your area of design is headed in 2020/2021? Are there any design or business trends that you’ve identified? Have they affected the direction of your business?

Packaging design in the beauty industry is really exciting right now – I’m seeing more brands step away from the ‘eco-luxe’ look, and instead playing with colour, graphics and materials in exciting new ways. 

As far as actual products go, more and more beauty brands are introducing vegan lines to their range and gaining cruelty free certification from the demand of their customers – which is so great to see!

What advice would you give to someone who has a creative business idea?

Talk to other small & creative business owners about ideas to collaborate, ask questions about marketing or social media, introduce yourself to them at markets or start chatting online, a friendly “Hi, I love your stuff” in your DM’s goes a long way – I know ‘networking’ seems scary, but honestly the ideas and feedback that you’ll get from other creatives is the best!