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Hannah Browne has helped many clients celebrate loved ones and get over the heartbreak. Her personality-packed felt pins, portraying celebrities like The Fresh Prince, Ron Burgandy and even ‘custom’ boyfriends, encourage people to wear their hearts on their chests. (Brooch Boyfriends)
Hannah Browne has helped many clients celebrate loved ones and get over the heartbreak. Her personality-packed felt pins, portraying celebrities like The Fresh Prince, Ron Burgandy and even ‘custom’ boyfriends, encourage people to wear their hearts on their chests. (Brooch Boyfriends)

Designer Spotlight

A crafty way to show off your boyfriend (or celebrity crush) Add to ...

Hannah Browne has helped many clients celebrate loved ones and get over the heartbreak. Her personality-packed felt pins, portraying 'celebrities' like The Fresh Prince, Ron Burgundy and even ‘custom’ boyfriends, encourage people to wear their hearts on their chests.

Whether it’s a long-time lover, someone on Tinder, or a famous crush, she’ll handcraft a brooch to make ladies (and fellas!) feel like they’re on Cloud 9. Her pins retail from $15 to $40.

Photo by Hannah Browne

What is your title and role within the company?

I’m the owner, creator, and designer behind Brooch Boyfriends

Photo by Sarah Vardy

Where are you located and how many employees do you have?

I work out of my home in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood. I have no employees – it’s just me and my two hands!

Photo by Hannah Browne

Where do you sell your products?

I sell my brooches online through my Etsy shop and in real life at the Drake General Store in Toronto, White Elephant in Hamilton, and 3 Singing Birds in Whistler.

Photo by Sarah Vardy

What makes Brooch Boyfriends unique?

I take the face of your loved one and make a version that fits pleasantly on your person. It’ a way to show the world who you love or who loves you. It doesn’t matter if he’s a boyfriend, husband, brother, father, celebrity crush, whomever – he’s a small reminder of that someone special. I also make custom brooches and couples, so you can have a mini felt replica of your favourite person.

Photo by Hannah Browne

What’s your design philosophy and biggest challenge as a small business owner?

Brooch Boyfriends is all about making someone smile. I want my pieces to bring joy to the people who wear them and the people who see them. Whenever I’m selling at craft shows, customers’ first reaction to my creations is a laugh, so I think I’m doing my job right!

I find the biggest challenge is allocating time to work on Brooch Boyfriends. I’m also a freelance graphic designer, so splitting my time between these two projects evenly and effectively is something I am still working on. It’s also tough to wrap your head around the numbers side of things!

Photo by Sarah Vardy

What’s something most people don’t know about your company?

Most people don’t know how much work goes into these little guys. Every single piece of felt is cut out by hand and each piece is hand-stitched. I even mould the wire glasses and accessories. They’re a labour of love.

Photo by Sarah Vardy

Any advice for entrepreneurs in this business?

My advice to entrepreneurs looking to start a small craft business is simple: allocate the time, and just create, create, create! If you love what you do, someone else is sure to as well. Also, apply to every craft show you can. Even if your first few shows have less attendees than sellers, you’re one step closer to getting your work out there.

Shelby Walsh is president and head of research at Trend Hunter.

Follow us on Twitter: @GlobeSmallBiz

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