HANNAH Austin started her own business two years ago after being on maternity leave with her second child.

She wanted to go back to work but needed to be doing something she felt passionately about and that would make a difference.

HanMade for Kids was born – a business selling bespoke, personalised items for children and by children.

Here, in our latest Business of the Week feature, Hannah tells us what inspired her to start her own business and why so many of her customers have become friends.

If you would like to appear in one of our business features, email heidi.summerfield@newsquest.co.uk

Business owner Hannah Austin

Business owner Hannah Austin

What’s your full name?

Hannah Austin

What’s the name of the business?

HanMade for Kids. The name of the business is a play on words - I’m Hannah and I make items for children.

What’s the address?

I’m based in Howley just outside the town centre.

Personalised teddies and childrens clothes

Personalised teddies and children's clothes

Are you the owner/manager?

I’m the owner. I’m a sole trader so everything you see at HanMade is all me, although I couldn’t do what I do without the inspiration of my children and the support and encouragement of my husband.

When did you open the business?


Are you local to the area? Did you grow up here?

I grew up in Newton-le-Willows but have always worked in Warrington and moved here when I met my husband.

Tell me a bit about your business

HanMade for Kids creates personalised gifts and items for children or from children - ranging from pre-birth (pregnancy announcements) to gifts for grandma, adding children’s name to converting children’s drawings into the perfect present. I run HanMade from my own home where customers can collect their order or I can post items nationwide. You will often see me at stalls and events around Warrington.

HanMade for Kids has stalls at local markets and fairs

HanMade for Kids has stalls at local markets and fairs


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What do you do? What services do you provide?

I offer personalisation through permanent vinyl, heat transfer vinyl and sublimation. I offer clothing, teddy bears, money boxes, sweet pots, resin keepsakes, chalkboards and so much more. My son was born with a cleft lip and palate and required several surgeries at a young age so one of my favourite items to make are the ‘forever smile surgery vests’. These are bodysuits or sleepsuits that babies or toddlers wear for a photograph before their surgery with a message like ‘Today I get my forever smile’ with the date. Such a little piece of clothing can be a great comfort to parents and families in what is understandably an emotional time. As I’ve been through it myself, I can reassure families of what lies ahead.

Why did you decide to open your own business?

I regularly took my daughter to Mini Mania Play Café, which was in Padgate, and I met an amazing group of friends. We talked about going back to work after maternity leave and I knew I needed something flexible to work around my children and choose something I would enjoy. I spoke to the café owner, Grace, who encouraged me to buy a Cricut machine and have a go. She believed in me so much that she asked me to create some t-shirts for the café and that was my first ever order. She knows the struggles of owning small business and has been my sounding board every step of the way!

Hannah can put childrens paintings onto t-shirts and cushions

Hannah can put children's paintings onto t-shirts and cushions

What’s your business background?

I initially trained as a teacher but it wasn’t what I expected and I fell into an admin job for the next ten years. Outside of work, I’ve always been a crafty and creative person but I believe my employment history has developed all the skills I needed to run my own business.

Why this type of business?

It allows me to combine all my passions and I get to work around my family and voluntary commitments. It allows me to meet new people and get creative. There is no better feeling than a customer asking if I can come up with something and then saying “that’s perfect” when I show them what I’ve done. It means people love what I make as much as I do.

Were you open before/during/after the Covid-19 pandemic? How did this affect your business?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, I was made redundant from my office job but I was already pregnant with my daughter. At that point, HanMade for Kids hadn’t even been a thought and it’s only after my maternity leave that I started to think about how I could make my ideas a reality. If it hadn’t been for my redundancy I would never have had the time or confidence to make HanMade what it is today.


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What makes your business different to others in the same area/field? What sets your business apart from your competitors?

There are some amazing companies in our area offering personalisation services. I’m all for supporting other local businesses and I use my social media to promote the businesses I meet. It’s not about tearing other businesses down - it’s about supporting each other as there is room for everyone. I think what sets me apart is that I don’t follow the crowd. I know my market and I don’t want to water my business down by providing all printing services. My items are focused on children and my prices are kept as low as possible to reflect that.

Why do loyal customers return to your business?

Because I care! So many of my customers have become my friends. To me an order isn’t just an order. Whether it’s a pregnancy announcement or a surgery vest, a worry bear for someone who’s really been struggling or a teddy bear for a foster child to take to their forever home, I hear some amazing stories.

Personalised teddies and baby clothes

Personalised teddies and baby clothes

What’s next? What do the next few months hold for you and your business?

We’re coming up to the busiest time of the year for any retail business – Christmas - which means I’ll be hosting lots of stalls at Christmas markets and fairs. One of the things I love to do at fairs is get a photo with the mascot at my stall to post on my social media. I’ve recently bought two new machines that will allow me to expand the range of items I make so watch this space.