December Boss Babe: Hannah Upton of Olive Leaf Designs

I am so excited to feature another one of my amazingly talented friends on the blog! Not only is Hannah incredibly talented, but she is one of the sweetest, most genuine gals I have met and I have loved getting to know her this last year! I know ya’ll are going to love hearing more about her and seeing all her amazing designs! (To make it easier to read, I am the one in pink and Hannah’s comments are in the regular text. )

So Hannah, can you tell my readers a little more about yourself?

My name is Hannah! I am 22 & I am married to my wonderful husband of 2 years, and am a dog mom of 2 precious pups! I have a major sweet tooth ALL. THE. TIME. Cookies especially! I am a home body, but definitely don’t mind going out and adventuring. I love anything Disney, “friends” is my fav show, and yes, my hair is naturally red! Haha

Aww I love the show “Friends” too! What’s not to love?! All the cast is hilarious and the show was put together so well. And you must get the red hair comment all the time… hehe!

I get it all the time! It’s almost always good things they say, so I don’t mind the sweet compliments!

So you must be a boss babe if I’m featuring you… so tell me a little more about your business.

Well, I started Olive Leaf April 1, 2017. It started out as mainly home decor, however evolved to much more! I hand- paint bibles and journals online, but I also have a booth in a store called Little Bluebird Vintage Botique in Ozark! (Cutest store ever!!) There I have refinished furniture, handpainted signs, and my newly launched sweatshirts, as well as the Bible’s and journals. I am a one woman show, however my gracious husband helps me whenever he can! This business is all because of God’s hand on me. I would be nowhere without him leading me in this! 

I seriously love that you point to God’s leading! That is so important and it can really make or break your business. “If God is for you, who can be against you!” So, when did you know you wanted to start selling your designs?

It’s scary at first even thinking that anyone would want something that you are making. So I didn’t think anything about it till I had family members and friends tell me I should sell my designs. I was scared and stubborn for awhile, but after some pushing that’s when I just went for it! 

So you just got a lot of encouragement from family and friends… that’s so awesome! What was the first thing you designed and sold?

The first thing I sold was I believe one of my journals. It wasn’t even that good but I think a family member bought it for a friend of theirs. I look back on it now and can’t believe how far I have come! And I just have to chuckle! 

That is so amazing! Congratulations… you seriously are doing really amazing and I love hearing and seeing others enjoying your designs. So do you have a favorite item to make? And why is it your favorite?

By far these bibles. I think its incredible that God trusts me with his word to be able to paint on it for his glory. These bibles are a tool to dig deeper with him. It’s really not just a pretty cover but something that means a lot to you. A specific verse that hits you, or a scenery that reminds you of God’s wonder. I get to be apart of that and something that they can carry with them, not just the rest of their life, but for eternity! 

I can totally see why the bibles would be your favorite and they really are such works of art! I can’t wait to get a bible of my own from you, but I haven’t been able to figure out what kind of design I would want painted on it or what verse…. But I LOVE LOVE all of your designs, so I know whatever I do select would be incredible.

Thank you so much! It is honestly so much fun to do all these different designs! It’s definitely something that I will never get bored of!

You’re so welcome! Seriously so cool that you get to do this! What is your favorite part of designing your items or products?

I love that I still get to have fun no matter how many times I do that certain design. Even if you pick the same design as someone else, yours will still be a tiny bit different, just because it’s all hand-painted! The details wont be exactly the same as the Bible before! That’s what I love most, and I think customers appreciate it too! 

Do you have a favorite place or location to sell your designs and why?

I so love Etsy, but I also love to put them in Little Bluebird! Having it at a location like bluebird, allows the customers to walk in and actually feel the texture of the paint, look in the Bibles, and walk away with a new treasure! It’s different than just looking online, you actually get to see it and hold it! 

I bet that is one of the coolest parts of creating something… seeing the looks on your customers faces as they purchase your designs and walk away happy! And I love Etsy…. it’s so user friendly and convenient! And have you been able to make this a full time gig yet?

When I first started out, I was in banking part-time. When it got busy enough my husband just looked at me and said, “You just need to go for it, and God’s got the rest!” So I quit my job 3 months after starting it, and I haven’t looked back! Some weeks it’s more than full time, other weeks it’s less. Either way my husband was so right. I just jumped for it and God has carried me here! 

Where are you wanting this business to go this next year?

I am looking into some opportunities for this next year, and it makes me just so excited! I plan on releasing more apparel, possibly stickers, and definitely more pretty designs! I just believe growth is going to take place in this next year. I pray every day that God would just take this business and make it his, and that’s what I want for 2019!

I guess this may be a similar question to above, but as you look towards 2019, what are some things you are wanting to improve on or change in this new year?! 

I definitely need to improve on my organization skills! Which I have zero of haha. I of course want to improve how my business runs and maybe get some more insight. I want to learn new techniques & tools! I want to push myself and see how much I can learn in this new year! 

Having your own business is definitely really tough, Who has been your biggest support throughout your journey? 

My husband has been my #1 supporter before I even started this business. He invested in my hobby and in myself. When this opportunity arrived he didn’t even think twice before saying yes! Then convinced me because I always need a little convincing! My sister has always been right there too. If you are near her, don’t be surprised if she tells you to pull out your phone and follow me on Instagram! I always laugh and shake my head, but I am super grateful for her! 

Any words of encouragement for someone wanting to pursue their dreams? 

Do something you are passionate about. Life is way to short to not do what you love. I have always loved art but never thought it was in the cards for me to actually pursue it. If you love it, then go for it! Don’t even think about it! & don’t quit! It’s gonna be hard. It’s gonna be messy. But SO SO WORTH IT! I’ll be cheering you on all the way! 

YES!!! I absolutely love that advise! So good!

Who inspires you and your designs?

I am a visual person, so when I read my bible, I like to think about what it looked like. When Joseph wore his coat of many colors, I like to think of how vibrant they were or how pretty it would be to paint the Red Sea being split in Exodus. I would say God inspires me,  but he does it through his book! 

You are always using scripture on your designs, do you have a favorite verse and why is it your favorite? 

1 Samuel 12:16 “Stand still and see the great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes.” I found this verse in the beginning of this year, and I held onto it! This year has been bumpy and uncomfortable. Its been a year of growing pains and being uncomfortable at times. I have remembered this verse when I wanted to take action and handle it myself. I hear to breath of God say to me to just stand still. And he will take care of it before my eyes. He did just that. 

What an amazing verse..,. thank you so much for sharing! It tells so much about a person and your story! Well since I want my readers to get to know a little more about you as a person, tell me what your favorite thing to do on a relaxing day is!

I love to sleep in, then go out with Jonah to spend some time with him! Put away the phones and distractions, and have fun with each others company! Go get flowers from the Ozark Mountain flower truck, walk the park, or just have a cup of coffee and talk! Then maybe go back home to make cookies and watch a movie! Cause it wouldn’t be a perfect day without cookies! Haha

Yes, girl! I love to sleep in as well, although I haven’t been able to sleep in quite as long as I would have liked recently! And don’t you just love the Ozark Mountain flower truck… it’s such a wonderful edition to our city! Okay, so I know you LOVE sweets, but what is your favorite type of food? And do you have any favorite restaurants in town?

I looove Chinese! Jonah and I love to grab china wok, or Harmon is a good place for some sushi! I however, love a goo crepe! I could eat at the Aviary all. the. time!! I love their food and the atmosphere is just so cute! 

Love all of those things! I would have to say its a tie between Chinese and Mexican for me! We will need to go grab some lunch together sometime… any of those places would be incredible!

Yes, we will have too!

Favorite coffee place? Drink? 

I am not a huge fan of coffee, but when I do drink it I like to go to travelers house. Their coffee is great, but I usually get their tea’s because they are so yummy! The staff is super friendly too! 

Travelers is a great place… only been there a couple times since I live on the opposite side of town.

Favorite Christmas movie- since it is still December?! 

All time favorite is White Christmas. I love all the dances and shows they put on. It makes me want to dance with them! I laugh every time I watch that movie and just makes me want Christmas everyday!! And who doesn’t love Bing Crosby?

I adore classic movies and White Christmas is an amazing movie! I love Bing Crosby as well!
So I know you’re a classic movie fan too, but I have no idea what your favorite music or Band is…. do tell!

I love chill music! Which is funny cause my husband is into metal! Haha
I am a sucker for “Sleeping At Last”, I walked down the aisle to one of their songs and will always have a special place in my heart! The Civil wars, Ed Sheehan, and I love to throw in some Frank Sinatra every now and then! 

Omg! I love all of these bands and groups too! And I almost went on tour with “Sleeping at Last” but I wanted to complete my masters degree when they were setting off on tour, so my friend, Kera, went instead. It’s always kind of haunted me, but I know I did the right thing.

What?!?! You are officially the coolest person I have ever met!!!

haha… well I think you’re pretty cool as well! Okay, last question…What is one of your goals for this next year?! It can be personal or business related! 

A personal goal of mine is to me more intentional with people. It makes me sad when I look in a room full of people with their phones in front of their faces at all times, and I am usually one of them! I want to be more in the moment, and cherish it instead of behind a screen the whole time. My family and friends matter more than my phone! 

Hannah, thank you so much for the lovely interview! I have found out so much more about you and I think you are my long lost best friend…. So glad to know you and continue to get to know you better! For all my readers…. I hope you’ve gotten to know this incredible boss babe and that you’ll go check out her stuff here:

Or check her out on instagram: @olive_leaf_designs_

If you’re interested in being featured as one of Life, Love and Lessons’ monthly boss babes, please email me at… I’d love to hear from you and all about your business!
Hope you all are enjoying you NYE! Here we come 2019!!!!

Stay Kind and Fashionable, Erin Ruscel

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