Ben and Hannah share with together magazine some of the story of the creative business that is Ben and Hannah Dunnett.
Music and art have always been an important part of our lives, but the creativity that kick-started what we are doing now has its roots back in the church we were part of in Worcester. Ben was the worship director and there was a big interest and love of the arts in the church. We produced our first worship albums there and it was for a church arts week that Hannah fi rst painted her ‘scripture pictures’. We were hugely encouraged and spurred on by the community there and three years on we displayed some of Hannah’s artwork at the New Wine festival.
We were delighted by how well the artwork was received and felt that maybe there was a niche in the market for Hannah’s style. As a result, Hannah started to approach a few outlets to see if they might try out our cards. We were working as a part time GP and a teacher at that time and over the last four years we have transitioned into running a business together. It has been truly ‘home grown’ and mixed in with family life. The kitchen has been the offi ce and the lounge our packing zone, not to mention our three little helpers aged 6, 4 and 1!
Working together is one of the great joys of our business. Ben creates the music and Hannah the artwork. We have been a team from the start. Ben designs our website and we have both worked hard to build up contacts with shops and good relationships with suppliers. The amount of administration, IT and logistics involved, as well as the packing up of orders means this is where we spend the majority of our time. Opportunities for painting and music have to be squeezed in amongst the day to day realities of running a
business (usually on the corner of the dining room table surrounded by enthusiastic children!).
Hannah’s paintings have been inspired by many things. Some start with a theme such as ‘trust’ or a passage, such as a Psalm. Others start with an image, for which she then looks for appropriate scriptures. Some are inspired by suggestions from other people. Many use verses from scripture, whilst others illustrate words from hymns, carols and our own songs, which also have special meaning to people.
Our biggest challenge when we were starting out was finding enough hours in the day. We began our business whilst both working other jobs and looking after small children. Finding enough time to create and deal with the logistics of business has been very challenging.
Christian retailers have responded very positively to our products and it has been a real privilege to get to know so many retailers in different places. We have been hugely helped by the advice and guidance of many retailers and are humbled by their dedication and commitment to maintaining a Christian presence in town centres across the country. We are very aware of the challenges they face and try to be as flexible as possible on orders and accommodate for differing circumstances.
Within our range greetings cards are our biggest seller as they don’t require a large display area. We also sell a lot of posters, journals and notecards. Our 2015 calendar was also very popular. Ben’s most recent piano album of wellknown hymns (Small Voice of Calm) and our children’s album (Topsy Turvy) have also been selling very well.
We believe that the word of God is powerful to touch and change people’s lives. We have been really encouraged by many messages from people who have been impacted by Hannah’s artwork, which has brought God’s word to them in a fresh way. Ben’s piano music provides something refl ective and calming in a busy world, being played in church services, prayer rooms, school classrooms, hospitals and hospices. We have been encouraged by people’s response to it. We feel very thankful to be able to do what we are doing and pray that God will continue to use it.
August 1st, 2015 - Posted & Written by Together Magazine