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
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!
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).
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.
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!)
Q. Tell me about the name of your business
Not much creativity (wink) it’s my first name (Hanna) and middle name (Lee).
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.
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:)