A Start-up Story: House of Zinthos
9th March 2016
Continuing with our Start-up Series, this week Abi spoke to Hannah from House of Zinthos.
What did you want to do when you were younger?
I wanted to be an artist, actually, so that’s mainly why I’m doing it now. Its still quiet hard but its what I’ve always wanted to do.
What inspired you to start your business?
It was the right time and place. Huw (Cosmic Anvil) was already working here and had started a comic book and was like “you can draw” you can work for free, right? Do you want to start a comic book together? He was trying to get funding but it fell through. At that point I was between jobs and the choice was between a normal boring job or I could come to Welsh ICE permanently and set my self up as an artist.
What were you doing before starting House of Zinthos?
I was a HR assistant in London for a charity. It was nice because the charity itself was doing some really good work but I was stuck doing mind-numbing admin.
What’s been most rewarding about setting up House of Zinthos?
I’m not a morning person so it’s nice to be able to work my own hours. I’m a bit of a night owl and I work much better at night so being able to work my own hours and be flexible is probably the most rewarding part (other than just being able to get paid for what I’ve always wanted to spend my day doing; drawing). The best days I have are when I’m plugged into my music and literally just drawing all day, knowing that I’m being paid to do so.
What have you found most challenging about setting up House of Zinthos?
Most of it is pretty challenging apart from the art side because I already know what to do there. Every other part of it was a bit of a challenge though. Most of the things I’ve struggled with I’ve now overcome, like doing my own accounts. Getting clients is a constant challenge. I’ve been very lucky being at Welsh ICE as you have network of people who need things done, such as start-ups who need logos. I hate networking and should probably being doing more of it. Getting clients is probably my biggest challenge.
Do you have any tips and did anyone give you any?
Be prepared to work long hours when you have to! Obviously, I don’t work twelve hour days everyday but when there are deadlines you have to drink like 20 cups of coffee and do it. I search for work and apply for jobs online. This is really helpful as there is a lot of work out there but also a lot of competition. You need a really strong portfolio and an online collection of your work. But definitely do it! Most of the stuff I learnt from myself, apart from the portfolio which I picked up from others in the industry.
Does your business reflect you as a person?
Yes, from the start I was quite adamant that I wanted my own sort of taste and personality to come through. If you’re working in a creative industry you’ve got to be good at what you do, so you’ve got to make yourself stand out and have something that no one else has -and that’s your unique taste. Even the name of my business comes from a comic. Zinthos is a magic word that one of my favourite comic book characters says. I wanted something that was unique to me in the name of my business.
If you could would you do anything differently?
I don’t know if I would actually! There’s a part of me that thinks maybe if I’d stayed in London it might be slightly easier to find work just in terms of the sheer size. But then again I’ve got plenty of work here. The only thing I’d change is start earlier!