Voss Babe Female Entrepreneur Series – Hannah Kaplan, Owner of Hannah Kaplan Art

For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, social media can be an absolute game-changer! All it takes is one viral post and a business can suddenly take off.

At Like A Voss Social Media, we’re highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs who are killing the online game. This week’s spotlight is on Hannah Kaplan, owner of Hannah Kaplan Art!

Hannah Kaplan Art is an abstract painter and illustrator based in Toronto, Canada. She creates art through an intuitive process that emphasizes embracing her instincts and finding self acceptance through creativity.

Our girl Betina interviewed Hannah about her secret to success in business and in life. We also got some awesome insights into what they think makes social media such an effective tool in business.

A Little Bit About Being a Female Entrepreneur

1: How long have you been in business?

I started selling my work towards the end of my time at art school, about 4 years ago now. I launched my online shop in 2018.

2: What made you decide to break away from the 9-5 and work with your art?

I worked a 9-5 job for about 6 months after graduating from university, and I was just completely incompatible with that format. I felt absolutely drained at the end of every day, and I had no energy left for being creative, which had become a form of mental health care for me. I decided to quit my job, go travelling for 3 months, and by the time I got back, I knew that I wanted to make my art more of a priority.

3: What do you love most about being an artist?

I love the feeling of freedom that comes with creating art intuitively. I love when I am able to really let go of expectations and rules and barriers and find myself in the zone, and it’s so satisfying when that results in an artwork that I’m proud of.

4: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome as a female entrepreneur? Something you did not foresee when you decided to start Hannah Kaplan Art?

The biggest barrier to my success has been my limiting beliefs about what success in business actually looks like. Most people think that you have to work a typical job and should pursue your passions on the side, but the truth is that you don’t have to do that if that’s not what works for you! I think especially as a woman I had internalized a lot of other people’s opinions on what life should look like, and I had a lot of fear and anxiety around disappointing other people or not living up to expectations. It’s interesting how learning to run my own business has been just as much about mental health and adjusting my mindset and learning self love and confidence as it has been about the actual business stuff, like making work and marketing it.

5: What is one thing about working in the art industry that people would be surprised to learn? 

I think a lot of people would be surprised that you can actually make a living as an artist. The myth of the starving artist is so ingrained in our society, it’s easy to believe the hype and think that being an artist means being poor, unhappy, and unknown. With social media we can clearly see that that’s no longer the case! All kinds of people making all different kinds of art are making full time careers out of art. It’s totally possible.

6: As an artist, where do you find inspiration?

When I started painting abstract, my inspiration honestly came from my anxiety. I had this pent up anxious energy inside me that needed an outlet, and abstract painting became that for me. The experience of sitting down with no plan whatsoever and just choosing colours and brushes and playing and experimenting is so special to me. I’m inspired by all kinds of things like other artists and nature, but when I’m actually sitting down to paint, all I’m thinking about is painting and making colours and shapes fit together.

7: How did you find your style?

Sometimes it’s a lot easier to identify someone else’s artistic style than it is to see your own. For years I agonized over whether or not I had a recognizable style, whether I should try to make art that followed more of a formula to create a more cohesive portfolio. The way I ultimately found my style was to stop thinking about all that and be open to the fact that my style can change every day. I am by nature a multidisciplinary artist. I always have projects on the go in multiple mediums, and I refuse to limit myself to only making or sharing art in one style. It just isn’t me. I still don’t necessarily think of myself as having an established style, because every painting is different and my style is constantly evolving. Basically, I just make art and don’t worry about whether it goes with the other art I’ve made, and my natural instincts come out and I end up with work that does look uniquely mine. It’s been more about getting out of my own way than intentionally creating or finding my artistic style.

And Now Onto The Social Media Questions!

6: Do you have a favorite social media platform? Why?

Instagram is definitely my favourite social media platform, and it’s probably because of the immense artistic community there. When I first started creating artwork outside of art school, just for me, Instagram was where I found the inspiration to develop my own artistic language.

7: What made you decide to start using social media as a way to promote your company?  

When I initially started posting my art on social media, I wasn’t approaching it from a business mindset. I was simply putting my work out there and, if I’m honest, I was seeking validation. Eventually people started asking if they could buy the art I was posting, so continuing to use social media as my first point of contact just seemed like the natural progression to follow.

8: How has social media impacted your business? Would you say that it’s an effective marketing tool?

Many of my collectors have found me through social media, and one of the most amazing things about using social media for my art business has been the connections I’ve been able to make there. I’ve found that when I am more open and honest on social media about who I really am as an artist and a person, putting that energy out there attracts the kind of people who really see the value in what I do and what I have to offer. And I’ve made some amazing friendships that way as well!

9: What advice would you give to other businesses and entrepreneurs who want to use social media as a way to connect with customers?

Show who you are. Especially if you’re a creative or one person business, people want to see the face behind the brand and get to know you. I know I’m more likely to make a purchase from an actual person as opposed to a faceless corporation. Showing up authentically is how we make genuine connections with people, and that’s the kind of business that I want to run.

A Little More About Hannah

I live in downtown Toronto with my partner and our two cats, Petunia and Georgie. In addition to being an artist, I’m also a freelance writer and avid crafter. My current projects outside of art include upcycling worn out clothes and knitting a giant scarf.

Connect with Hannah







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