If you're looking for simple sustainable products that don't comprise on style...look no further! Hannah is the one woman band behind environmentally conscious brand 'The Chemist's Daughter'. From reusable face wipes, to tea towels and relief prints, we have loved watching Hannah's designs develop and her brand grow, so we got in touch to find out more about her story.
Have you always lived and worked in Norwich? What do you enjoy most about the city?
I’ve lived in Norwich for 8 years, and over the years have lived in London, Nottingham, Brisbane and Wisconsin. Norwich instantly felt like home, and I’m feeling pretty settled here. I love that it’s a city where local businesses and independent makers can thrive, for want of a better word!
You previously worked in digital design, tell us a little bit about your creative journey and when you decided to launch The Chemist’s Daughter?
I studied Industrial Design at university in Brisbane, and then went into web and digital work, learning to code and doing a lot of branding work too. Eventually I built a small company with my husband, creating custom software and mobile apps. As my part in the business became too much about analysis and management, I got further away from being hands on with design work and, along with some other triggers, had a mental breakdown in 2016. It took a while to get back to a point where I could work again, but I knew immediately that I’d never go back to what I used to do. Physically using my hands to make tactile products became my focus, and it coincided with a time in my life where I also really wanted to make less of a negative impact on the planet. I’d make things for myself and have friends and family request them for themselves, and it all just naturally evolved into a business - I can’t really remember the precise moment where I committed to it. It’s been a great focus as I’ve worked on my mental health, and while the work/life balance will always be difficult for me, and being an indie maker coming with it’s own pressures, I couldn’t imagine not being this hands on again. It sometimes astounds me that it took ten years and a mental breakdown to bring me closer to the skills I learnt during my degree.
Sustainability and the environment are integral to your brand; do you have some tips to help people make sustainable lifestyle changes?
I think an attempt to be “perfect” ultimately just paralyses you to the point where it all seems like a struggle, so try not to put too much pressure on yourself to do the “right” thing every time. Start small, and use what you have. There’s no need to throw out all of your plastic containers and replace them with glass ones if the plastic containers still serve a purpose. Replacing things that are disposable is the easiest, which is why I started making reusable face wipes. I haven’t bought single use cotton pads for a couple of years now. Each small change adds up, and gradually you find yourself naturally gravitating towards better choices without having to think too much, and generally just consuming less on the whole.
Do you have a best seller or a favourite product to make?
The face wipes and soap bags are a crowd pleaser, but the relief prints are also really popular at the moment and they’re a lot of fun to make because I can turn an idea into a product much quicker than most fabric or ink based products.
What are you most looking forward since lockdown is lifting?
Honestly, I’ve dealt with the isolation pretty well as I’m a natural introvert and a bit of a hermit. Even I get to a point where I need to get out for an afternoon, so a lunch in a pub garden is on the list. I also love doing a screen printing session at Print To The People’s studio - that’s definitely one of my happy places.
Do you have any future plans, new products or ideas for The Chemist’s Daughter?
My sketchbook is full of doodles for future products, and there never seems to be enough time to make all of them! The latest is the food bowl covers, which have had a great response from customers. I’ve also recently collaborated with Sara of Pixels & Purls to release an embroidery kit of one of my swear word prints, it looks amazing and is a really relaxing craft to have a go at. Currently, I’m working on some products that use harder materials, which is great as I get to use a different set of skills to the textile based products.
What small businesses or brands are you loving at the moment?
I’ve managed to resist buying new clothes since February, but I’m going to save up for something lovely from Nadinoo so that my next purchase isn’t from a fast-fashion giant. Throughout lockdown, I’ve been putting my money back into other independent businesses, like ceramics from Hannah Bould, Joey Ruthers, By Noo, Rebecca Wilson and Beci Callow - I’ve been buying a lot of pots for plants! There are far too many Norwich makers that I love to be able to mention them all, but a few favourites are Stone & Rope, Morwenna Farrell, Fawn & Rose and Studio Adorn.
I can’t work in silence, so there’s also something on. If there’s not some terribly generic police drama on in the background, then I’ll be listening to the Off Menu podcast, James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds, You’ll Do, The Guilty Feminist, or All Killa No Filla. Lately I’ve also been switching between Motown, 90’s classics and some Australian Hip Hop playlists - I really like listening to lots of different things!
Find The Chemist's Daughter at our Summer pop up shop at Helmingham Hall. You can also follow Hannah Instagram @thechemistsdaughter or via her website www.thechemistsdaughter.co.uk
//Images courtesy of Hannah Tometzki www.thechemistsdaughter.co.uk and product photography by Megan Clark//