5 MINUTES WITH HANNAH STRAIGHT
Towards the end of last year I decided to back myself and turn my passion for ocean photography into more than just a hobby. In saying that it's still a side hustle, but, the dream is to make a living exclusively through print sales... Continuing the dream I can foresee a bright and spacious seaside office where I can shoot every single morning before heading into the studio where every piece will be checked, printed and signed by yours truly.
In my quest to gain exposure and sell my work, I took to Instagram in search of homeware store's I could reach out to in order to get the ball rolling. Cue Hannah from Duett Design who responded with an emphatic yes to the notion of a collaboration. At this point in my journey Hannah's enthusiasm was a win for me, and it was just the assurance I needed to move forward with my long term goals. Fast forward 6 months and I thought it was time to get to know Hannah a bit more so I reached out yet again to see if she'd be keen on an interview. She said yes and I'm grateful once again 🙏
Who is Hannah Straight?
I'm a wife to well known artist & illustrator, Greg Straight. I'm a mother to dance obsessed Chloe (10) and Leo (6). I'm a lover of Scandinavian & minimal interior design. A photography enthusiast. A Co-Director of GS Studio Ltd (Greg's illustration business). And, I'm the Creative Director of Duett Design.
What's the backstory of Duett Design?
Duett Design came about when I was after a couple of large art pieces for our living room. So, I decided to push Greg out of his comfort zone and directed him to create some bespoke designs for me that were more geometric and minimal in comparison to the bright, bold vector that he is best known for. We stayed up late for a few evenings while Greg interpreted onto paper what was in my head and before long we had a small range together. I tested the water with a couple of tastemakers such as NZ Design Blog and The Design Chaser and the response was really positive, so I decided to sell them online and it's really gone from there. My own graphic design skills are very limited, but, I do have a sharp eye for design and interior trends, so in order to expand my range I started to work with photographers. This has been such a turning point - I’m so passionate about certain styles of photography so enjoy promoting them. I’ll always keep my product range very edited and aligned to the interior style that I stand for.
What's your favourite thing about the business?
I love to support the local talent that I discover and help expose it to a wider audience. It can sometimes be such hard work to get your name out there but I love to give a helping hand in that respect. I particularly enjoy reading comments when I post on social media, it almost feels as good as if I took the photos myself and I get great satisfaction from feeling that other people have a similar appreciation for it.
What, and or who inspires you?
I’m inspired by the creatives that I work with (Greg, Nick, and yourself Reuben) and another few that I’m currently forging relationships with and hope to represent online soon. There are so many inspiring creatives on Instagram including photographers, artists, interior designers and stylists. I’m also inspired by the hard-workers in our family. Greg, who has become a highly in-demand illustrator over the past couple of years, all down to a combination of talent and damn hard work. Also, my daughter Chloe, who is working so hard achieving her dancing goals.
Do you have any other passions in life?
I share my daughters passion for dance - ballet, contemporary and jazz. Another art form in itself. Wish I still had the skills, strength and flexibility to do what my daughter can.
Any tips regarding prints?
I’m a believer in going big - if you have a big wall, put a big artwork on it but make sure its one that can stand the test of time, i.e. you won’t get bored of it. Choose something that reflects your style and personality and make sure the colours blend in with your interior as this really helps to bring a room together. If you're someone who likes to change out your artwork then a gallery wall is a good solution as its easy to switch artworks in and out. When done properly, gallery walls look amazing! Michelle Halford (The Design Chaser) is the queen of gallery walls in my opinion. Framing is also important and can make such a big difference to how a prints looks. There is a whole science to it and this is something Duett Design will be looking at much more closely in the future.
I have to acknowledge Hannah again for not only agreeing to be interviewed, but, more importantly for believing in me. I got a lot of non replies in the beginning and I'd be lying if I said it didn't concern me. When Hannah replied so eagerly it was a massive moment, and I think it will be a notable punctuation mark in my journey to owning my own space - so thank you.
As always, thanks for reading and make sure you sign up below for more interviews and yarns, MONTHLY PRINT GIVEAWAYS (one next week) and the odd bit of film.
Mā te wā (see you later) ✌️