Behind the scenes

Behind the Scenes: Our Fall Cover

To celebrate our back to school themed Fall catalog we enlisted the help of talented Portland, OR designer and illustrator Lauren Lidstrom to create a custom graphic chalk masterpiece for our cover. Check out the time lapse video of Lidstrom in action!

 
 

Below are a few pics of her artistic process plus some questions about her work and what she loves best about living in the Rose City!

Tell us a little bit about your background as an artist...
I’ve been drawing and creating for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until after high school that I realized I wanted to make a living by art and design. I began to mix my skills of traditional illustration with digital design, and eventually found a passion for print and web design. After achieving my Bachelors of Art in Graphic Design, I worked in Los Angeles as a Junior Graphic Designer for a year until I moved back to the Pacific Northwest. I now work and live in Portland, Oregon as a Freelance Designer and Illustrator with an emphasis on hand-lettering.

How long does it take you create a chalkboard drawing like this?
It’s only been a couple of years since I started lettering with chalk, so there is still a lot to learn about the process. Because of this, every chalk piece I’ve completed has taken a different amount of time. This specific typographic design I created for Hanna Andersson took me about 5 hours from start to finish (concept sketching, chalk lettering). However, this is an exception due to the fact that 50% of the time I used light projection to trace some of my original lettering and the Hanna Andersson logos. On a chalkboard this size (about 2’x 4’) without a light projector, it could take up to 8-9 hours depending on the complexity of the design.

What do you like best about using chalkboard as a medium?
What I love about utilizing real chalk lettering in design is the organic imperfection of a real human hand. It has a unique texture and creates such nostalgia! I also enjoy the freedom of being able to easily erase any errors that occur during the process, giving it even more layered texture than before.

Who are your favorite artists/graphic designers – where do you find your best inspiration?
As someone who is striving to become a better chalk letterist, I have to mention Dana Tanamachi! Her work is so classic and beautiful. I also really enjoy the illustration and design of Mikey Burton and Studio MUTI.

Future goals/projects on the horizon?
I would love to be able to travel internationally through my design work. It’s harder in the present day since everything is so easily delivered digitally. I am also hoping to create a large-scale chalk lettering installment in an office, store, or restaurant in the near future. I haven’t lettered anything larger than 5 feet, so I’d love to break out of my comfort zone and create something that is literally bigger than me.

Finally, favorite people/places/things about our hometown of Portland?
This is a hard question, because I love so many things about this city. Great public transportation, amazing food and drink, creative, open minded people, and the natural beauty that surrounds us. I am lucky enough to live near one of the entrances to Forest Park, so I spend a lot of time climbing the trails with my dog. I can’t really see myself living anywhere else!


When Hanna Met Peanuts

hanna-andersson-peanuts-visit

Like many people the world over, the wonderful creations of Charles M. Schulz have touched our lives and taught us innumerable lessons about love and friendship. We were so honored and excited to bring Charlie Brown and the whole Peanuts gang into the Hanna family with our exclusive Camp Beagle collection, featuring tees, tanks, sleepwear and backpacks (our first ever!).

As part of our partnership with Peanuts, we were invited to go visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum and campus in Santa Rosa, California. There we met with Jean Schulz, Charles’ widow and curator of the museum, for a lovely lunch and a personalized tour of his private studio, kept exactly as he left it. Schulz himself drew every single frame of each Peanuts comic strip by hand. Stepping in to his hallowed workspace felt like going in to a time warp and it was an extremely inspiring journey to see the place where pure comedic genius occurred for so many years.

After breaking ground in 2000 and finally opening to the public in 2002, The Charles M. Schulz Museum has seen over 500,000 visitors from around the world and hosted 122 Cartoonists-in-Residence. It houses the largest collection of original Peanuts art work in the world and is a true celebration of the life and talent behind one of the world’s most beloved cartoonists.

After our studio visit, we asked our designer Katie a few questions about meeting with the Schulz team, what makes Hanna and Peanuts such a good fit, plus her faves from the collaboration. See below!

What was the most interesting part of your visit to the Schulz Museum and studio?

"It was a treat to see the studio he where he drew the Peanuts comics, it was like looking at a special piece of history. We got to see his desk, his chair, his drawing supplies, his library. The space is how he left it and felt a bit like walking into a time capsule.  Peanuts is a part of American culture and so well known, it was really special to see the “behind the scenes” and to know that the creator is just as loved and cherished as the characters we all know so well."


What do you think makes Peanuts & Hanna such a great match?

IMG_20140411_122833.png

"I think Hanna apparel and Peanuts characters are such a natural pairing because both have a classic appeal and are well loved by their followers. Aesthetically, Hanna is known for our stripes, quality long johns and clothing, and clean Swedish design. Peanuts has Schulz’ unique line work and easily identifiable characters, so it's fun to put them together because they balance so well off of each other and don’t compete. That’s why I love the Spring '15 collection we launched with. It combined our bold stripes with really clean graphics and prints of Lucy, Charlie, Linus, and Snoopy. The characters were really able to shine on their own, but were clearly hannas.

Also, Peanuts is appealing to people of all ages and the characters all have their own unique qualities and flaws, which makes them really relatable. I think this message matches so well with Hanna! We know that every child is different, has a story, and their own way of doing things, or wearing things, and that’s ok!"

What are your favorite prints or pieces from the latest collection?

"From the whole Fall collection, I love the blue grounded print with the Peanuts Gang - it's a pretty simple print because the characters are cute as they are. A boy or girl could wear it and I love that I got the chance to use it on our first Peanuts backpacks and lunch boxes too! From the Camp Beagle Group, I love the blue and grey boys tee with Woodstock roasting a marshmallow behind his back - it's a silly and fun graphic on a classic hanna tee, without any fuss."

We can't thank the Peanuts team enough for their warm welcome and letting us into their world. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we can't wait to go back! See the whole Peanuts x Hanna Andersson collection here and stay tuned for exciting new arrivals for Holiday! For more information about the Charles M. Schulz Museum visit here.

Behind the Scenes: Our Summer Shoot!

Our summer shoot consisted of two and a half fun-filled, jam packed weeks on the island of Maui. When it comes to shooting in paradise, it’s all about capturing those perfect sunrise and sunset moments (also know as “the magic hour”) when that first glimpse of morning light starts to flare up over the water.  This means, somewhat unfortunately, that our entire team has to be up far before the crack of dawn to set up. Unloading equipment in the pitch dark is not the most fun part of the job but it has to be done because when we’re in Hawaii - no matter what the weather may bring us - we’re shooting sun up to down.

BTS_Summer15_Blog.jpg

Over the course of our shoot, we used gallons upon gallons of sunscreen, weathered a few downpours, and had the time of our lives. One of our longtime photographers and friends, Amanda Pratt (above in the teeny pink glasses) was at the helm capturing every beautiful moment.

The shot above shows our dedicated crew clearing the Hawaiian sands of all dark rocks and shell pieces for a more pristine look while our prop stylist works on building the perfect expert caliber sand castle (tough life!). On the right is candid shot of our model Marley practicing her sweet gymnastics moves!

See a few more of our favorite pics from our summer shoot adventures below...

...see you next time Maui! 

Tea With Our Founder

Gun_Interview_Image_PhotoCred.png

A few weeks ago, we spent a misty winter's afternoon catching up over tea with Gun Denhart and her granddaughter Kate, and Gun shared thoughts about the company's beginnings and what she's passionate about right now. Maybe it was the view of Portland from her feels-like-Sweden home, but after talking with this inspiring businesswoman and philanthropist, we all left feeling more than a few feet off the ground.

In 1983 you and your husband Tom left careers in Connecticut and moved to Oregon to start Hanna Andersson. What prompted that leap of faith?

"Tom and I had talked a long time about starting a business, and looked at a number of ideas. One that we considered seriously was a bottled water company (she laughs). On a trip back to Sweden where I grew up, we discovered a factory that was creating beautiful cotton children's clothes, and having a baby boy ourselves, I knew there was nothing like them in America. We brought a big box of Swedish clothes back to the US and shared it with friends. The response was overwhelmingly positive, so we thought we might be onto something good."

Just curious, why the name Hanna Andersson?

"We wanted a name with a Swedish connection, and decided to name it after my grandmother."

Tell us about making the very first Hanna catalog.

"While we were still in Connecticut, Tom quit his job as an art director for Ogilvy and Mather, and then went to Sweden to take pictures for the first catalog. He and producer Britt Berg worked all hours for two weeks—at one point Tom was up in the middle of the night wallpapering my childhood room to use for photos. When he got back to the US, we moved to Portland, settled into a house, and prepared for the catalogs and clothes to arrive from Sweden. We placed an ad with the headline, "Why are Swedish babies so happy?" and it's kind of funny, it generated catalog requests for nearly 10 years. Soon after that, the catalogs were mailed, the shipment of clothes from Sweden was organized in our garage, and the first Hanna orders came trickling into our mailbox. We were thrilled. It felt unreal."

Why Portland?

"Because Tom was from here. It was so hard for us the first few years, not only because it rained months on end but because we worked all the time, literally."

Did you have any idea the company would grow at breakneck speed for the next five years?

"We had no idea! After two years of running the business out of our house, boxes of baby clothes were everywhere. We bought a small building in an industrial area of Portland for our company of 20 people, and within nine months we'd outgrown it. We realized then that we had something special."

What drove Hanna's success?

"Well, mainly, at that time most kids clothes weren't designed for comfort, they didn't wear well, and there wasn't much 100% cotton, let alone the quality of cotton we were bringing from Sweden. So our timing was right. We offered a new way of dressing kids in soft, comfortable, crayon-bright clothes—we called it letting kids be kids, and since hannas lasted for more than one child, parents were willing to pay for quality, which is how I was brought up in Sweden. We started the catalog at a time when specialty catalogs were becoming popular. So that played a part, as well. And we were lucky. You should never discount luck."

Hanna fans are pretty passionate about the clothes...for some it's more than a place to get clothes, more like a relationship. Customers tell us their children are "second generation Hanna kids," so they consider us a form of family.

"You know, we poured our souls into this. Tom loved Sweden, the importance of my family there. I think he brought that alive in the catalogs. He wrote the copy and art directed, so it was through his lens that people saw us. There was a time when we were told, okay, you're too expensive, but we chose to stay with quality, rather than bringing it down in order to lower prices. It is wonderful to see that Hanna hasn't lost its soul. That says a lot, that you have stayed true to what is special about Hanna, making wonderful clothes so parents can truly hug their kids in softness."

Gun, you have always had an uncanny gift for being ahead of the curve of what's coming. At Hanna, you pioneered family-friendly workplace policies like subsidized child care for employees, as well as pushing the business towards organic cotton and Oeko-Tex certification (which tests for over 100 harmful chemicals), and the list goes on. What are you excited about right now? 

"I'm working closely with a conservation organization called Ecotrust, and we're involved in a number of projects with the goal of building a new economy that restores nature and invests in people. We focus on agriculture and forestry, as well as fisheries. For example, we're part of the local food movement with farm to school projects that focus on low-income schools and preschools to ensure that kids have access to healthy, local food. It’s good for the kids, and creates new jobs as well, which is great for the local economy."

And Kate (Gun's 13 year old granddaughter), you've been doing volunteer work in the community. Tell us about it.

"This last fall I helped set up a Fun Run fundraiser for an elementary after school program, and then a few weeks ago, I spent a day baking cupcakes and cookies for nurses and doctors in the oncology ward of Doernbecher Children’s Hospital."

Great job, Kate, that's awesome! And Gun, thank you for having us all over for tea today. It's been wonderful talking with you, and hearing about your current work. Are there any thoughts you’d like to leave us with?

"Well, there are so many challenges in the world today and it’s easy to get discouraged. However, I truly believe that there are things each of us can do to make the world a better place. Listening more, helping someone, reading to a child. Small is a good start...it all makes a difference!"