Inspired Chicago | Hanna Lee Style

I met Hanna for the first time at Maison Parisienne (no, I don't know how to pronounce that) for coffee and immediately knew I liked her - she's one of those thoughtful people where you can see the cogs turning continuously in her head when she speaks to you, listening to your words and making connections that are wildly helpful and unique. She's seriously so smart and genuine in her advice for other entrepreneurs and I loved getting to connect with her while I did this Inspired Chicago feature of her and her business!

Thanks so much to you Hanna for sneaking around Restoration Hardware with me for portraits and for letting me share your story. :)

Q. What's your title?

Hanna Lee Style, Personal Stylist

Hanna Lee Style, Chicago stylist interviewed for Inspired Chicago Feature Series

Q. Was this always where you intended to be in your career, or were there alternative career paths you considered?

I’d always wanted to be a personal stylist and shopper! I also love supporting small businesses, so if I had another business I’d coach small businesses. I remember when I first started out, it was so difficult and often felt lonely so I think supporting one another is so important!

Custom styled stock photography for Hanna Lee Style by Katharine Hannah
Custom styled stock photography by Katharine Hannah for Hanna Lee Style

Q. Why did you choose to do be a personal shopper in Chicago?

Chicago is such an extraordinary city and I’m so lucky to have the clients I have. I tried the California scene and styling out there was so different. I prefer my midwest clients (wink).

Hanna Lee Style interviewed by branding photographer Katharine Hannah
Hanna Lee Style for Inspired Chicago Feature Series at Restoration Hardware

Q. Do you feel like you're connected to a creative community, and if so, how has it affected you and your work?

The creative community that really changed things for me was working with small boutiques. Not only is it great to support local but discovering local designers has been so much fun and is rewarding. And, there’s amazing talent here!

For example, Milk Handmade in Andersonville is one of my favorite boutiques. Hallie, the owner, tries to source a lot of her goods from Chicago designers and artists. The store is so beautifully curated. She’s introduced me to a lot of Chicago designers I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

Hanna Lee Style, Chicago stylist interviewed by photographer Katharine Hannah

Q. Favorite part of being an entrepreneur?

Time freedom and flexibility.

Q. What surprised you about being an entrepreneur?

I think how much backend work there is! (Versus living your passion and doing the work you love). I wouldn’t have it any other way but whoa! There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes that I think non-entrepreneurs aren’t dealing with. That work can be never-ending and exhausting but the flip side is when we get to do what we love (my being with clients!)

Custom phone app for Hanna Lee Style clients
Hanna Lee Style interviewed for the Inspired Chicago Feature Series by Katharine Hannah Photography

Q. Tell me about the name of your business

Not much creativity (wink) it’s my first name (Hanna) and middle name (Lee).

Chicago stylist interviewed by branding photographer Katharine Hannah
Custom styled stock photography for creative entreprneurs by Katharine Hannah

Q. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Everywhere! Home decor really inspires my wardrobe and vice versa. Magazines. My clients. My clients already have great style, mostly it’s a time issue, they don’t have the time to curate looks and shop throughout the city.

I also love RL Restaurant for inspiration (in particular women that are over 55 years old. Older women have such a sense of their own style and they wear it confidently. I love that and it’s not a surprise that my grandma was my muse and inspiration for my career! There’s something so beautiful and elegant about older women’s style. I can’t get enough of it.

Headshot photography for Hanna Lee Style by branding photographer Katharine Hannah

Q. Final thoughts?

I am so happy I met YOU. You should feature yourself. You are absolutely inspiring. You’re young, doing the work by digging in and beyond talented- watch out world! p.s -Your instagram rocks with thought-provoking content. Everyone should follow you:)

Katharine Hannah

Katharine’s work has graced the walls of institutions such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Harold Washington Library of Chicago, and local galleries such as Dreambox Gallery, Siragus Gallery and Blick Art Materials. She has also been featured on websites such as the Huffington Post, Phlearn, Fstoppers, Tigress Magazine for Girls, Bitchtopia, and Golden Boy Press.

In addition to photography, Katharine has been a mentor and educator in the arts since 2013. She has worked with students in various organizations and projects over the last two years, including Hive Chicago’s PROjectUS initiative and Digital Youth Network’s Digital Diva’s and Chicago City of Learning programs.