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Genue Inc.
September 19, 2017

Get To Know Genue: Hannah Grace Smith

Hannah Grace Smith is a freelance artist and writer. She is a recent graduate of Mount Ida College, where she received her BA in fashion design. She describes her designs for women and children as whimsical with a surreal-but-cute style. Hannah works as Genue’s in-house designer and as you’ll see from her work below, she’s quite talented! Read on to learn about Hannah’s favorite part of her job, her unexpected family pet and see how her “playful but rebellious” spirit works its way into her designs…

 

Can you tell me a little bit about your role at Genue?
I’m technically a designer at Genue, but I still play many different roles. I help run our social media pages—namely our Pinterest page, and occasionally Instagram (I’m the one behind our ‘Genue Perspectives’ feature), and tend to help out a lot with the more artistically-involved projects, like our ‘Inspiration to Destination’ blog feature and our monthly pattern collections. I also do more nitty-gritty jobs like cataloguing information.

 

 

What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
My favorite thing about what I do is that I get to do a little bit of everything! Because I have so many interests—in drawing, writing, photography, social media, etc.—Genue lets me dabble in a little bit of everything. It’s exciting having a new project to tackle every week!  But if I had to pick a favorite, I would say my favorite projects are always ones that allow me to draw! It might be a little cliché of me to say, but I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a crayon. It’s something that comes naturally to me–I go into a kind of “zen” mode when I doodle, and it improves my concentration, too! There’s always something to learn and improve on when it comes to a hobby like drawing, which is both frustrating and exciting. If I can affect someone with my drawings and get some kind of reaction, a laugh or a gasp, then I feel content.

 

 

When do you feel more inspired – or what do you do when inspiration is lacking?
Whenever I’m in a rut, or looking for inspiration, I turn to things that bring out a strong emotion in me—whether it’s a runway show, a book, a song, or even a videogame…Seeing examples of successful work made by artists and designers that I admire fuels me to create my own things. Some of my favorite artists are Mark Ryden, Kira Imai, Jhonen Vasquez, Lisa Frank, and Henry Darger…and some of my favorite fashion designers are Edward Meadham of ‘Meadham Kirchhoff’, Betsey Johnson, and Alexander Mcqueen. I really like artists who aren’t afraid to be themselves, especially with fashion–those that have to go to create lengths to create their unique looks.

 

 

Do you have any daily rituals or rhythms? How do they fit into a typical day for you?
Every day is a little different, but ideally my day starts around 8. I usually spend my morning trying to get some form of exercise in (hiking when the weather is nice, weights, or hula-hooping!) and taking care of my chickens. After that, my schedule differs from day to day, depending on what tasks I have to complete that week.

 

 

Wow—chickens?! What’s that like? Do you have any other animals?
Well I’m not sure if my house is actually full of animals (it’s pretty humble compared to actual farms!), but I do have four chickens and two cats. Theres one Rhode Island Red hen (named “Big Red”), a white Araucana (“Blondie”), and two Speckled Sussex hens (“Penny” and “Nugget”). I do most of the caring for them—my chickens get let outside to free-range usually around mid-day, and herd them back into the coop at dinnertime. I make sure they have food and water before going to bed, and collect the eggs from the nesting box. They’re very much pets to my family and I—chickens can be very friendly animals, if given the chance! They’re entertaining and make me laugh a lot.

 

 

How do you define success?
I think success is finding yourself in a place where you can feel truly comfortable and happy with who you are and what you’re doing. Obviously, that means that success on a personal level is a little different for everyone—so, for me, I feel successful when I’m able to create things that others are able to enjoy while still expressing myself.

 

 

Do you have an overall design or maker philosophy?
I like to try to encompass a playful but rebellious spirit in everything I make. Growing up, I loved fairytale and fantasy stories (like Alice in Wonderland, The Never-Ending Story, etc.), and often found myself lost in books and movies…I feel like my work is an extension of that, in a way—I want to bring those who experience the things I make to another world.

 

 

What does it mean to be genuinely you?
Being ‘genuinely you’ means to embrace and accept yourself, and to not stand down when other question you or try to change you. It can be a very difficult thing to do, to be 100% genuine with yourself…but it can be achieved in small ways, I think. Even if you don’t have the courage to wear the wildest outfit in the room, or to be the loudest in a conversation, if you can take pride in something about yourself—even if it’s as simple as “I like my nail polish today” or “I’m very educated on this certain topic” is still something to be proud of!

 

Thanks, Hannah! We love working with you at Genue, and can’t wait to see what else you create!

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Rachel Efstathion

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Rachel is a freelance writer and editor, specializing in feature articles, copy editing + brand consulting. Rachel holds a B.A. from Temple University in English and an M.Ed. from the University of South Florida in Higher Education.

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