I recently became a fan of the wonderfully chic, stationery company, GADABOUT. The aptly named company (a gadabout is someone who seeks aimless pleasure and travels in search of enjoyment) is the brain-child of the talented, Hanna Brooks Nation who at only 22 years of age, has created one of the most stylish stationery lines I have set my eyes on. Officially founded in 2008, GADABOUT features over sixty designs created by Hanna. The 5×7 note cards are sold in sets of 25, are made with high-quality materials, and are banded and boxed in the company’s signature orange color. In addition, Hanna also offers custom design services including stationery and invitation design, custom illustration, rebranding, and logo design.
Like her designs, Hanna is an absolute delight! We have exchanged quite a few e-mails and she is as sweet and charming as you would imagine. About a month ago, I downloaded POST, Hanna’s iPhone app. At that time, I didn’t know of Hanna or GADABOUT. I was just thrilled to have found my favorite iPhone app yet! POST allows you to customize e-mails and text messages sent from your iPhone with Hanna’s gorgeous designs. It is the coolest thing ever and probably the best $0.99 I have ever spent! You can imagine how excited I was when Hanna contacted me and I realized that she was the creator of POST. Hanna was kind enough to agree to be interviewed for La Dolce Vita.
LDV: When did you first become interested in graphic design?
HBN: Probably the moment I realized how much was possible with it.
LDV: Why did you decide to start your own company?
HBN: I wanted to give myself the chance to wake up every morning and be excited about work. Being able to channel my interests and experiences into a company that challenges me to acquire new ones makes working so enjoyable.
LDV: How would you describe the GADABOUT aesthetic?
HBN: The GADABOUT aesthetic is guided by its own definition: an aimless pleasure seeker, a traveler in search of enjoyment or amusement, one who roams or roves for social activity. The designs celebrate home and what lies beyond it, often drawing from cultural artistry, textiles, interior design, vintage books, fashion, hobby and turn of phrase. I just love the idea of truly appreciating the world around us. I can see her, "the" gadabout, and she makes no exceptions in the scale of what brings her joy. Small or large, lengthy or brief, she wants to be defined by her experiences. They are what make her, they are what make her social, and they are what gives her things to write thank you notes for.
LDV: Who are your personal style icons?
HBN: Olivia Palermo, Tory Burch, Amy Smilovic of TIBI, and Reese Witherspoon.
LDV: What inspires you?
HBN: What inspires me is really anything that inspires a tangent thought. I love being interrupted. I am just as easily caught up in the eclectic as the everyday, and most of my designs start off as a "hey, those colors look great together.. what if I put that with that picture I found 3 days ago? It kinda reminds me of that fabric pattern…" It can be as simple a thing as flipping through a new magazine, or learning a new word but if it is visually or mentally interesting, whatever I was doing before that moment is out the window and GADABOUT begins. I bring it on myself also, looking things up is one of my favorite past times and I get so lost in the effort that you could call it inspiration. I just love realizing there is so much that I have yet to stumble upon!
LDV: How is GADABOUT different from other stationery companies?
HBN: It is the attention to detail and definition that makes GADABOUT a bit different. I try to make sure that the story behind the design is just as thoughtful as the image, including clever captions and historic legends below each card. I also try to make personalization a bit more original by making the monograms a integral part of the motif or picking fonts that truly favor the design.
LDV: What has been the most challenging aspect of starting and running your own business?
HBN: Finding the balance between work and play, critique and appreciation, confidence and doubt.
HBN: I have a huge appreciation for newness and technology and had been contemplating a way to bring GADABOUT to a gadget for a couple weeks. The idea came to me after a couple hours of sitting on my sofa. I had been working on my new invitation line, and it came to me as a tangent thought. I immediately pulled out a piece of paper and began to write it all down. After finding an incredible developer, we went to work. The final product allows users to design and send invitations or personalized notes through a text message or email! I have created over 60+ designs, and most have influences from my current collection.
LDV: What are your goals for GADABOUT?
HBN: My hopes for GADABOUT are to grow in such a way that nothing is truly lost. Projects that expand the brand always have at least a few original elements tucked inside them. For the immediate future, I would love the opportunity to get other stationery vendors involved with POST and have a proper invitation line made available by summer 2010.
Drink: Sparkling Water with lemon
Thing to Wear: TIBI, Phillip Lim 3.1, Tory Burch
Musician: Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit, Van Morrison
Artist: Degas, Philip Mullen
Film: The Royal Tenenbaums
Television Show: Gossip Girl
Book: dictionary, encyclopedia
Magazines: InStyle, Elle and Nylon
Blogs: La Dolce Vita, Garance Doré, New York Times Fashion and Style, The Neo-Traditionalist, Who What Wear, and Refinery29
Personality Trait: curious
Fabric or Pattern: eclectic
Meal: long dinner with close friends
Quote: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
Be sure to visit GADABOUT to see all of Hanna’s fabulous designs!