Making a dream into a reality.

Who is Hannah Coleman:

Hannah Coleman is the Proprietor to Dreamwall established March 2003 and founder of UK Young Designers 2006. Hannah presents TV show  ‘A Bargain A Stitch and A Wardrobe’ for channel 7 virgin media 879 and for  youtube channel Eastcoastmedia2009.

Making a Dream into a reality

Olivia my beautiful daughter was born in 2002, prior to her birth I was struggling to make it into the music industry it was proving very difficult, all I kept getting was rejection after rejection. I finished my stint on ITV’s Pop Idol at the end of 2001 but the whole experience made me very ill, I came down with glandular fever and suffered a bad spout of depression.

Hannah Coleman (purple hair) on ITV popidol 2001

In my heart of hearts I knew music wasn’t really for me, sometimes that gut instinct that voice in your head tells you. But I couldn’t let go of my dreams to be a success, Simon Cowell was very supportive after the show and arranged a few meetings regarding a song I wrote called “No Regrets” which was in the pipe line to be published and used for Sarah Whatmore, another ex pop idol from 2001 who Simon had signed to his label.

To listen and watch the ‘No Regrets’ video

Not long after I fell pregnant with my daughter Olivia, I knew from that moment my life would change. Finding out I had fallen pregnant was the biggest surprise and also the turning point in my life. I really didn’t enjoy pregnancy, I had no energy and was forever in and out of hospital with pre clampsia as well as being at a high risk of miscarriage due to having PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). I spent 9 months sat like a beach whale feeling like a complete failure my hormones were raging and I gained 5 stone in weight! Like most new mothers to be I was frightened to what the future would hold for my unborn baby growing inside me. The birth of my beautiful baby girl was very traumatic I was in labor for 48 hrs. But the moment I held Olivia in my arm’s reality hit. I knew I had to get my life together for her. Olivia became the most important thing in my life and I knew I had been given a second chance to achieve my dreams.

Hannah Coleman Dreamwall proprietor and her daughter in the first Dreamwall showroom 2006

After the birth of Olivia I began to develop my creative side, I took an interest in the family home, I would visualize creating my ideal home. I lived in Manchester for best part of 7 yrs before I moving to Barry in 2001. Manchester is full of fantastic old mills and warehouse’s. I had a big desire to create that look in the family home. The family home was a 3 storey house on a new build development in Barry and was completely featureless. I had a vision to create an old rustic brick wall as the main feature, just like the Manchester loft conversions I so very much loved. But I didn’t know how to go about achieving this look,I really needed inspiration!

Dreamwall Rustic Brick wall

I wanted to create exposed brickwork in the living room,but this was going to be tricky creating an old exposed rustic brick wall in a new build property. I turned to the internet and spent hours looking for a brick cladding system, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for, it was either the wrong shape brick, the wrong colour, or hard to install. I even enquired about having a builder actually build one in the property but the extra weight added would cause complications on building regulation.It  was only on one fateful day in early 2003 while taking Olivia out in her pram, that I came across a skip in Barry docklands with some old rustic bricks in it, a light switch came on in my head, I know I’ll make a rustic brick wall myself and that is exactly what I did!

I took 5 bricks from the skip and put them in the bottom of the pram. When I got home I set about creating away on how to mould the bricks and make a cladding system that would interlock together. I built wooden frame for the mould in the garage, Olivia’s father helped me make impressions of the bricks, these impressions then were baked in the oven. Each section was all hand casted and built into the mould.

Hannah Coleman next to her Rustic Brick design

It took a few days to get it right as I wasn’t sure how the sections would join together. Eventually the design concept of interlocking was invented into the mould and I prayed it would work. Once the master mould had been made, it was time to start hand casting the section’s.The first sections I made were so heavy, that I had to go and re cast them to make them lightweight.

But I was determinded to get this Dream onto the wall. Once the sections were up on the wall, in my home  it looked impressive,I stood back very pleased with my efforts and determination to get this home project off the ground. I was over the moon that my creative vision had actually been made in to a reality. My vision was complete. I sat there looking at the wall, I knew from that moment my invention was a business in the making and Dreamwall was born.

Hannah’s Rustic Brick on the web

Hannah Coleman's original Rustic Brick hand casted prototype wall in Barry

I had never run my own business before, so I really needed some advice, I had created a product that could possibly sell in an interior market but I was totally clueless how to manufacture it in mass, sell it, market it, my background was not business so I needed help and advice. I contacted the local council who put me in touch with Business in Focus.

Business in Focus gave excellent advice on how to obtain a grant for a start up fund for a new business invention, as I had no capital to invest. They helped with business plans the excellent thing about business in focus it was all FREE advice. The advice I received was superb, I learn’t alot from the organization. In 2006 when I set up the first showroom I went back to seek advice from ‘business in focus’.

The dreamwall showroom Barry (Rustic brick) and young designers

There are plenty of organizations similar to business in focus who want to help people make a business, so my advice for anyone who has an idea or have created something is to go and research as much as you can as there is HELP and funds out there that a lot of people really are not aware about.

Olivia and Hannah in the Dreamwall office

This year is my 7th Year in business I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. But I’ve weathered the storm.In the early days of running Dreamwall I had Olivia at home with me, it certainly was a learning process, especially as I was a new mum with a new business. I coped by being organized, which is challenging with a baby as they can be very demanding. I structured my day around her feed and play times, while Olivia slept upstairs I would concentrate on admin and contacting potential clients. I made sure the business ran as a mail order company so I didn’t have to go out and meet clients initially, I relied solely on the website that my mother designed, lucky my mum had just qualified in web design, so she saved me a lot of money. I made lots of mistakes in advertising in all the glossy life style magazines, but live and let learn is my motto. As Olivia progressed so did my business, they both grew together and both are my life.

Dreamwall is more than a business it represents everything I wanted to achieve in life, after a lot of determination I have made my Dream into a reality, who says having a baby is the end of your career, having my baby was just only the beginning…

Hannah Coleman at The River Island Installation of Rustic Brick 2007

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow Hannah, you’re an inspiration to all of us who are just starting out on our own in business. You persevered with your brilliant idea and after a lot of time and effort, it has worked! Well done.


  2. Hannah you are a true inspiration, if I have just half the passion and drive you have my new business will succeed.
    “Everyone wants to be strong and self sufficient, but few are willing to put in the work necessary to achieve worthy goals” Gandhi
    I think this sums you up Hannah.


  3. Emma Warren says:

    What an inspiring story – loved reading it!! Thank you


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