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Senior's business draws rave reviews

0313hanna
2009-03-13

She has a name destined for the business world, and the mind to match. She's a self proclaimed doodler in class, yet she is still on the Dean’s List. She is Hanna Nation, a senior business economics major from Georgetown, S.C., and she is taking strides with her first business.

Nation has come up with a paper line offering hand designed cards and stationery. Called Gadabout and Gallivant, these designs are the byproduct of an artistic eye developed at boarding school, and a business acumen honed in economics classes at Wofford.

(see gadaboutpaper.blogspot.com and gallivantpaper.blogspot.com)

Her story begins near Georgetown.

"I'm from an area between Pawley's Island and Georgetown," says Nation. "I grew up somewhere between the beach and the marsh."

It's called the Lowcountry, and it is here that she acquired her taste for Southern tradition.

"You learn the importance of a hand-written note very quickly in South Carolina,” she says. “It's a gesture that is always appreciated, and better late than never."

While she learned her manners at home, she developed her love for drawing at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va.

"I was very blessed because by the time I got to the boarding school they had just finished building a fabulous fine arts center," Nation says. "I had always been interested in iconic and graphic images. Now I had teachers to show me how to make them. I am still using the skills I acquired there -- paper printing and Photoshop programs. I really got the best of it."

Not only did Nation discover how much she loved pen and paper, she learned to love a little city life. Her time at school allowed her to appreciate her home and celebrate what is beyond it. Her work reflects both sides.

When she got to Wofford, she started making things for her friends. They would ask her for birthday card designs or something for holidays, and she would oblige. Some would even frame the designs she gave them. After a while it finally hit her...why not turn her talents into an avocation?

"I always knew that I wanted to do something with them and my best friend finally made me do it. I cannot thank her enough," she says. "I've always had a love of stationery. I love the tradition involved in it. I decided one day that I would put the images to card stock, found a printer in Spartanburg and just kind of did it."

This is where her business training at Wofford took over.

"Business and economics are very, very interesting to me," says Nation. "There is a psychology to it...understanding people and giving them the products that they want."

"Dr. (Timothy) Terrell has been a fabulous influence on me. Dr. (John) McArthur and Dr. (Katerina) Andrews have also been very supportive. They instilled a caution in me, to remove recklessness from the equation and recognize my limitations. I would love to just jump right in with this and have embossed print, better paper, better everything, but my professors have taught me to find stepping stones. Figure out how much you can do at one time and keep working from there."

It's working. She started offering to people in her age group on Facebook.

"My designs were very well received and I was happy about that, but I didn't really know how well they would go over outside that," she says. "I've been cautious about how I released certain things until recently. This woman did an article on me, though, and yesterday I got an order from France. It's just one order, but hey...it's from France!"

The name Gadabout pays homage to the traveler and aimless pleasure seeker "who knows that a hand-written note should always follow." Gallivant, meanwhile, appeals to the more masculine set.

"I wanted Gadabout to capture what women find classic amongst different cultures,” says Nation. “Gallivant is really just where guys would rather be."

It has been tough for Nation getting her business going AND finishing out her college career at the same time.

"Especially this year," she says. "I don't want to tell my teachers I can't do the school work because of something I'm doing outside of class. I have high standards and I love learning. There just needs to be more time in the day."

As she looks for more time, she is just beginning another journey, seeking aimless pleasure and success, too.