Hannah Watson – A Young Mum and the Accessories Queen of Isolated Heroes
Hello Hannah! It’s great having you here over at Women’s Business Station. I saw your video over on the Isolated Heroes IG a few weeks ago and I want to share more about you and your story.
You’re a Production Assistant – what does this entail? What does a normal day look like for you?
As a production assistant my job role entails creating garments from beginner level and gradually progressing up to the most advanced pieces that we make here at Isolated Heroes. I help with creating the garments, quality controlling garments once they are made and stock count.
A typical day for me means coming in to the studio, having our morning meeting and deciding what we are going to make in the day. Sometimes we self-delegate and other times Christie or Sam delegates us tasks to do. I usually take charge in creating accessories and the reworked pieces but when I have made all of these I usually work on creating T-shirt dresses or any or the items on the priority/ production list.
What is Kindred Clothing and how are Isolated Heroes involved?
Kindred clothing is run by Front Lounge which is a charity within Dundee. It teaches young individuals how to sew and create garments without any sewing experience. Kindred clothing has been working very hard to create an SQA certificated award. I am the founding member of Kindred Clothing and have been part of it since it was a young mums group where we made clothes for fun but now we have a written qualification in this skill. I am so proud of how far Kindred Clothing has came and how I’ve played my very own part in this.
Isolated Heroes has been involved with Kindred Clothing from the very beginning through teaching workshops and giving young parents the opportunity to learn to sew and be creative in ways they wouldn’t usually behave the opportunity to. Isolated Heroes has worked closely with Kindred Clothing to create a Level 5 SQA qualification and has since then been running workshops to teach the young individuals gain this qualification. Isolated Heroes has been a part of bridging the gap in society to give young people the opportunity to be creative and work in the creative sector without having to follow the norms of everyday education.
I see that you’re a Mum too – this is incredible.
What’s it like juggling being a Mum and working at IH?
I’m sure in the future your daughter will look up to you as a huge inspiration.
Juggling being a mum and working at Isolated Heroes or at any other job is really difficult, I feel that I have to work very hard to prove to my daughter Grace and everyone else that being a young mum does not carve out who you are – you can do anything you set your heart to no matter what challenges come your way. If you push yourself you can do anything and I try every day to show Grace that you don’t have to follow the ‘normal ways’ of education and learning to get where you want to be. That’s really important to me.
I find it really difficult sometimes to juggle work and being a Mum but the team at Isolated Heroes and Sam has always been incredibly flexible and made me feel so comfortable. They’ve always been able to cater to me and help me whenever I need it. I feel like I’m never letting Grace down, I’m always able to be there for her when she needs me. I wouldn’t be able to do that without such a loving and understandable workplace or boss that allows me to be a Mum, work and do something I love every day.
I really hope Grace is inspired by me when she’s older as I don’t think I’ve had a role model myself. All of my family have done the same type of work and I feel like I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and done the total opposite. I’m doing something that I wake up everyday and LOVE doing and I hope Grace follows in my footsteps. I want her to do something she loves.
How has working at Isolated Heroes changed you as a person? What have you learned from your experience so far?
Isolated Heroes has helped me grow as a person through building my confidence and helping me believe I can do anything I set my heart to. They’ve given me the push that I needed. I’ve always struggled with believing in myself but now I work in a place where my job has such value to both the team and business. To me it’s insane that someone across the world, is wearing a dress or holding one of the bags I’ve made – I never thought I’d ever be able to do something like that.
Isolated Heroes have given me the opportunities not only to sew, but to be able to work with the community again. I’ve returned to Kindred Clothing to work with young parents and individuals, and taught them how to sew. I’ve been given the opportunity to give back to those that helped me which is amazing. I’ve not felt like the person who’s been able to impact and change somebody’s life. I’ve also been able to work in Princes Square, at the V&A selling IH products too. I’ve been given so many amazing opportunities that I never thought I would’ve been given.
At Isolated Heroes I’m known as the ‘Accessories Queen.’ Sam gives me a budget and a rough idea with what she’s wanting made. I have the responsibility to create the accessory, the piece that she wants and budget it to make sure the pricing is correct. I get total free reign with how I want it to look. This is so special to me as Sam has trusted me with a part of her business and I never thought I would be able to do something like that. Isolated Heroes is such a big brand and to be in charge of a small part of that is incredible. It makes me very proud of myself and reaffirms to me that I’m doing something right. Having someone like Sam believe in me has made such an impact.
What’s been a highlight of working for Sam at Isolated? The studios and work space look like such an uplifting and positive place to be!
A highlight from working at IH has been my first ever fair at the V&A where I was working and got so much good feedback from the customers, V&A staff and the rest of the Isolated team. It made me feel so proud of how far I had come from. Another highlight would be being classed the ‘accessories queen’ and being given the reigns to that part of the company – putting my own spin on Isolated Heroes.
I know things are so busy over at Isolated HQ, what’s it like to be super busy with tight deadlines? What would be your tip for managing deadlines?
It can definitely be very busy at IH and I sometimes do struggle with this. The tight deadlines also make an impact, the best ways to handle it is to take a step back to breath. The chaos is organised chaos. You can only work as hard as you can, figuring out the plan and what you’re going to make that day is so important. I find it’s also crucial to not be upset with yourself if you haven’t accomplished what you wanted at the start of the day. Take everything as it comes and to work as hard as you can – know that what you’re doing is good enough.
What career aspirations do you have? Do you want to own your own clothing business someday?
I would love to one day have my own business but I think I need to work more on my confidence. I really enjoy teaching other young people to sew and I currently have a second job working at Andy’s Sewing School where we teach young children to sew. I would love to continue what I’m doing from now working between IH and Andy’s but maybe one day I will start my own business. I love the atmosphere, the girls and everything about working for Isolated Heroes and I’m cherishing every moment.