My name is Hana. I am a Czech Illustrator, Graphic Designer, big dreamer and maker of all Innervy products. If I have to give me some sort of label that describes me the best, I would say “I’m an artist”.
I have been practicing the traditional fine art all my life. At the time when Innervy was born, I was doing custom tattoo design as a freelancer and I didn’t plan any of this. It wasn’t my intention to create this sort of brand. In that respect, Innervy is a special kind of beast; it happened naturally and it’s a brand made by people.
The Story Behind
Once upon a time in Italy, I was cleaning the garage and I found 2 broken inner tubes and because we were recycling I needed to find the right place to throw them out. To my surprise, this was considered a dangerous material in Italy and you had to bring it to the main recycling point. The way Italians sort their waste is the stuff of nightmares. Like a lot of their other systems! Ha!
The bike shops have to pay to throw the broken inner tubes from their repairs and there is no recycling program for such a material. The only way is to repurpose it. So, I did my research online and wow…
I decided to make some cell phone covers for all of us, handstitched obviously. It´s very difficult to keep the stitch straight. And trying to run the rubber through a regular sewing machine was like trying to drive through Rome at rush hour. Forget it.
Once this creation was exposed to the public though, people started to come to me. They even brought me their own broken tubes. Suddenly I had a bag of broken inner tubes at home and a sewing machine that was about as useful as decaffeinated coffee on a wet Monday morning in November.
The real breakthrough, however, came 6 months after the day I had made my first iPhone cover. I finished in Custom Tattoo Design. Suddenly all my hard work and creative thoughts had been taken out of my hands. What followed was a lot of WTF-ing, but…in that recovering period, I made my first puzzled wallet and Union bag for myself. I used the regular sewing machine Necchi 274, which I had for altering my clothes, and a vintage Necchi BU from 1954 which I got for 20 bucks in a local second-hand shop. Score! I think I inherited the love for all kinds of industrial machines and the technical part of it from my father. Maybe I was a welder in a previous life.
My new bags got a lot of attention locally. People wanted them. And there it all started. In 2013 in Italy Innervy was born. I started to pick up broken inner tubes in local bike repairs and I started to make all sort of bags for the people around me. I included jewelry and each product carries a name of a person who is an integral part of this story as a huge THANK YOU for participating in the growth of Innervy. I opened up an online store and I bought Pfaff 145 which is my workhorse in the studio. A legend, I tell you!
I am not a tailor, I have no education in this field and certainly most of the time I don’t know what I’m doing. All of my designs are fully experimental and I learned to work with the material the hard way: trial and error. There is very little information out there about how to work with such a material. It is way harder and it is very very different than a leather craft. But it´s fascinating!
And here I come, turning 40, feeling 20, upcycling inner tubes, going through all the dirt, ups and downs of running such a creative business and asking myself how I got here and where I go? What a difficult journey I took, how long I will be able to carry on? And mostly what do I want Innervy to become?
I listen carefully to my customers and take care of them dearly. I treat them the way I want to be treated. I’m personal and I take time to get to know each one of them, their lives and their minds. I highly value customer service.
Upcycling inner tubes makes me feel like a better citizen on this beautiful planet. And the warm feedback from my faithful customers makes me feel like I have been doing something truly remarkable, something that matters. And that keeps me going.
Innervy is a love story, created by you, starring you, and for you.