By Colt Paulsen
Hannah Olson awaits her interview in a crowded Starbucks, drinking a tall iced coffee with coconut milk, wearing a stylish sweater with a studded neckline and a Vera Bradley satchel. Her signature red hair reflects perfectly off the sunlight coming in from the windows.
As she waits, Olson is on her cell phone possibly checking social media, texting her mother and even talking with a client about a making custom dress.
The 19-year-old junior at The University of Nebraska at Omaha has her own clothing brand: Hannah Caroline Couture, which focuses on custom garments for any body type.
Olson’s first experience with a sewing machine wouldn’t be what you would expect for a future fashion designer.
Olson says in middle school she took a mandatory sewing class and sewed through her finger while making a pillowcase. She told herself then she would never sew again.
Fast-forward to her sophomore year of high school Olson found her self in another class with a sewing machine.
“I didn’t think it would ever apply to anything. I just didn’t really care a whole lot about the class.” Olson said.
During that class, Olson finished her project early and made herself a hair accessory, which a friend bought from her the next day. That was the start of an accessory business that would lead to so much more.
Olson is studying entrepreneurship and marketing and is a member of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization at UNO. This fits perfectly since she has been an entrepreneur since high school.
Olson started making clothes for herself since she couldn’t find stylish plus size clothes that fit properly.
“Once my friends and family started ordering things it was kinda like ‘oh maybe I have another little business here.’ Of course I ran with that.” Olson said.
During her senior year of high school, Olson put on her very first fashion show and had an amazing turn out. It gave her the realization that she could really make her small business into something big.
That same year in March of 2013, Hannah Caroline Couture was the first plus size line to ever grace the runway at Omaha Fashion Week.
“I realized people really wanted this.” Olson said about plus size clothing in Omaha.
Hannah Caroline Couture has been shown all around the United States in cities such as Kansas City, Portland and even Full-Figured Fashion Week in New York City. Her collections have no size limit, and that is what makes her so special as a designer.
Olson’s business has quadrupled since Full-Figured Fashion Week.
“What I would do in a good month I now do each week,” Olson said.
Olson says her time in New York City was spent with other designers, bloggers and models all trying to build up the plus size industry. It was a community of supportive people.
“It was a really eye opening experience.” Olson said “It definitely strengthened the plus size mission of my business.”
Hannah Caroline Couture is not only for plus size women. She says size isn’t a consideration, and if it were, she would be a part of the problem.
Olson wants to build the custom side of her business in the next few years. She has fun doing custom work for proms and weddings.