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The female founder behind Zany&Shy

An interview with Hanan

We talked with Hanan about all things womanhood, business, and chasing your dreams.

If you’re anything like us (and we think you might be if you’re a Zany&Shy lover), then we thought you also might be the kind of person who likes to get to know the people behind the brands you support. For that reason, we asked our founder and owner, Hanan to sit down with us and answer questions about what it’s like to balance business and personal life, and also share some advice for other women who want to go after wild goals.

When, why, and how Zany&Shy

Take us back to the initial idea. Where were you when you first thought of pursuing this business? How did all of this begin?

To be honest, I’ve always had a feeling that I would grow up one day and be an entrepreneur. I like to multitask, organize, and research. And be busy. I knew I had something to share with the world in the sense of a product, business, book, shop, or even being a blogger. I just didn’t know what it was going to be exactly. Until September 2020.

By accident, I came across lab grown diamonds. I found gemstones first, and my curiosity opened more doors. Excited by the possibility of creating a jewelry brand, I ended up here.

 

And why this business? Why lab diamonds? Why jewelry? Why work to empower women?

As I began to read more and more about lab grown diamonds, researching the industry and learn about the problems associated with traditional mining practices, the idea came to me like a bolt of lightning: I would create my own luxury jewelry brand with these diamonds. 

I love jewelry, but don’t buy a lot of rings because they don’t fit me well. I know I’m not alone in this, so I wanted to make sure that my jewelry fit all kinds of women. That’s why the name Zany&Shy is what it is: Two halves of a whole woman, and I believe that every woman has a bit of zany and a bit of shy inside of her. And I believe that women deserve to spoil themselves—indulge in luxury—even in the everyday moments. That’s the beauty of life! Women are powerful and special and deserve to feel good about themselves.

On the sustainability side, I care about the future of people and the planet. I believe that it’s our responsibility as adults to educate our children on the impact people have, and show them that we can follow our dreams while being good to the environment and people around us.

 

What was the process like from ideation to launching something? What did it feel like? What steps did you take to make this happen?

It was a massive amount of research for weeks. Right from the start, I set myself the goal of having a year for the entire development of a jewelry brand. After that, it had to be ready for launch.

Google became my best friend. It sounds silly, but I Googled everything. What does it take to start a jewelry brand? Branding, e-commerce, sustainability, marketing, competitor analysis… everything.

I have to say that I’m in a privileged position with a budget to do many things precisely from the start. If I didn't, my options would be much more limited, or I would have to look for an investor to achieve the quality I want for my brand, which would have resulted in a longer process to launch.

Through this process, I’ve leaned into some of my greatest strengths: Multitasking, researching, and organization. It’s all so fascinating and fills me with positive energy and motivation. But at the same time, founding a company brought up doubts. I get a lot of mental support from my husband who is an entrepreneur himself. I listen to podcasts, so I don’t lose heart and to see that I’m not the first one starting a business. Doubts and fears and the feeling of overwhelm arise quickly and can dominate, but I’m not alone in this.

When I doubt myself, I come to a point where I realize that this fear makes no sense. This business will work—the market proves that. But it’s not without regular self-affirmation and surrounding yourself with good people. 

Women in business

What’s it like being a mother, business woman, and wife all at once? What does your day to day look like?

It means a lot to me. I feel very privileged to have a family and my own business. I am very proud, to be honest. I’m also becoming more and more aware that I love to be busy—it feels like I'm leading a big project… because I am.

What I like less though is being the center of attention. I don’t want the brand to be too much about me, but I think that nowadays, it’s essential to build trust with people to show the person behind the business. I’m a real person practicing how to show up and connect with all of you reading this or on social media.

To be a businesswoman, just like my husband, is very cool. We’re both proud to show our children that it’s possible to go the unconventional way in your career. That it’s possible to start a business from scratch—you just need the stamina. The sky's the limit, and if you can dream it you can make it. 

Despite how proud we are and how supportive my family is, it’s still a little difficult for me to build this business. Fortunately, I have an understanding husband who helps keep my hands free wherever he can. Without his help, none of this would work—or it would be extremely slow progress. My everyday life is not yet perfectly structured. It’s a change for the whole family that we’re settling into.

Our mornings always look the same—we have breakfast together as a family. This is very important to me. I make sure that the children have everything ready for school and say goodbye to them with a kiss, which means my work usually starts around 9:30am. This will change as the business grows though. There’s more meetings, more decisions to make, more things to do all at the same time. Finding the time to do everything from scratch and alone isn’t easy.

At the time of writing this, I’m in a routine of 3 full days a week dedicated solely to my work. The other days are mixed: Appointments for the family, paperwork, getting the kids to sports and extracurricular activities, or sometimes social outings with friends. I still work every evening and sometimes late on weekends. My husband helps me a lot, cooking for the family or taking care of the kids. We take turns. Like everything, it’s a process to find a system that works best for the family, and it requires constant communication to coordinate. I’m not just a business owner, but a family manager.

 

What’s your go-to strategy to juggle all of the things at once? Do you have help? How do you do it all?

My most significant help is my husband and our housekeeper—it wouldn’t work the same without them both and I am so appreciative. It’s impossible to have a healthy, intact family, prepare healthy food for everyone, run all the errands, oversee the children's schoolwork, maintain household chores, and build a business. Delegation has become one of my most important tasks during the week, and our week is very structured. Without a family calendar, we would be lost, and my mind would overflow.

Trying to do it all, I had to research again: What’s the best way to keep track of everything? Sort through the chaos? I’ve turned into an organized businesswoman, but there’s still room for improvement.

Of course, you can build a business without help. In the end, there are more ways to Rome. This support has helped me grow much faster.

 

What advice would you give to someone who struggles to prioritize their goals?

My number one advice is to ask yourself questions. Questions like: What do I want? What do I need for that? How do I get what I need to achieve my goal?

Write down every little detail and divide everything into groups that belong together. Think about which steps have to be done first, which actions take longer, and create priorities. Personally, I love to jot mind maps—old school with a pen and paper. I also need a physical agenda. I can't just have everything digitally.

I always tell myself: Knowing is knowing where to look.You can ask Google or your community. I rely on social networks a lot. From there, I move forward.

When I compare myself to my mom, she would have had many dreams, but she always lacked the self-confidence and the courage to implement them. Even if she is such solid and tireless energy for others, she could never muster it for herself. When I was young, I knew that I would do things differently. I listen to my inner voice and follow it consciously and confidently. And by doing this, I set an example for my children. There’s a voice in everyone who wants to be heard. They should learn to listen to this voice, to express themselves, and to be able to act in a way that makes them feel strong and fulfilled.

 

We know that self care is extremely important to you. What does your personal self care practice look like?

Self care has been very important to me in recent years. I take after my mother and sacrifice everything for those around me, then think of myself in the end. But I’m practicing, and more and more, I give time to myself. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself.

My self care practice doesn't always look the same. Sometimes I sit alone in the sun and drink the world's best cappuccino. Or listen to a podcast without the stress of cooking. Or have lunch with a friend.

There’s three aspects to my everyday self care: I keep a journal to briefly reflect on the day, do a workout at home, and my beauty routine each morning and evening. I also regularly buy myself flowers. I love it.

I think the most important thing about self care is that you are conscious. When it’s intentional, something simple like coffee has a much different impact. 

Styling the collection

What’s your muse? And where did you find inspiration for the first collection?

My muse? Good question. Honestly, it sounds stupid and naive, but my muses were and are always powerful and successful women—women who have created something.

Being a solid and intelligent girl who stands up for rights. The millions of women who also started small and pursued their dream, no matter what hate, envy, and jealousy they had to break through. I want everyone to be successful. There’s no space for negativity like jealousy. On the contrary, seeing others succeed encourages me to create something on my own.

In short, you are my inspiration.

 

Why is everything named after women?

As I said, I was encouraged to do it by the power of women and what they’ve achieved or are doing. I named the collection after individuals that inspire me. It was also a deliberate decision to only use first names. This way, everyone who shops Zany&Shy can find their own meaning in the names, and the pieces can be representative of all women, not just notable figures. Also, many of the women who the pieces are named after are everyday people like you and me. You don’t need to be well known to make a positive impact on the world.

 

What’s your favourite piece from the line and how would you style it?

My favourite pieces are the Lynn, Maria, and Malala rings. They can be worn alone more discreetly or combined on one finger. I love layering jewelry and encourage others to do this too so they can create something that feels unique to them. I wear these rings on a typical day: Working in my home office, getting lunch with a friend, or a rendezvous with my husband.


 

Don’t wait to go after what you want.

If we’ve learned anything from Hanan, it’s that we as women shouldn’t wait to go after what we want. You deserve to achieve everything you  set out to do and be the person you want to be at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter what people think, and it’s okay if what you want is different from the norm. The best way to become the person you want to be is to get clear on your vision and take the necessary steps.

 

Have more questions? Ask and comment below. We’ll save them up for the next Q&A!

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