Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - THOMAS DEA­CON Re­porter thomas.dea­con@me­di­awales.co.uk

A TEENAGER who de­cided against univer­sity is now a suc­cess­ful de­signer work­ing with In­sta­gram, after his sur­real il­lus­tra­tions proved an in­ter­net hit.

When 18-year-old Harry Ham­b­ley fin­ished col­lege he de­cided to cre­ate his own business sell­ing il­lus­tra­tions and cloth­ing fea­tur­ing a small char­ac­ter called The Bean.

Harry, from Llandaff, Cardiff, has now racked up more than 100,000 fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram, spent time work­ing in LA, and is off to Mex­ico next month with the Welsh Honorary Con­sulate through his com­pany Ket­nipz, which he started from his bed­room at his mum’s house.

Harry said: “I didn’t re­ally know what I wanted to do at uni so I thought I didn’t want to spend the money.

“I knew that I wanted to travel and start a business so I did and I was just lucky.

“I just wanted to make some­thing that could be any­thing re­ally and that could be quite am­bigu­ous.

“I had the ini­tial idea of The Bean quite quickly. It started off a bit more creepy but then I re­alised that cute sells bet­ter so I changed it a lit­tle bit.”

He added: “I re­ally liked the name Cat­nip but that was al­ready taken so I thought I’d change it a bit and went with Ket­nipz.”

In the space of a year Harry has built-up a strong so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing and was re­cently ap­proached by In­sta­gram to cre­ate a sticker for their story fea­ture.

The story fea­ture al­lows users to post pic­tures that dis­ap­pear after a cer­tain amount of time and can be dec­o­rated with stick­ers, in­clud­ing Harry’s Bean char­ac­ter in­side a love heart.

Harry said: “About a month ago In­sta­gram reached out to me for their Kind Com­ments idea.

“It’s all about prac­tis­ing pos­i­tiv­ity on so­cial me­dia.

“It’s re­ally cool to see it used and a lit­tle bit sur­real but it’s just fun and I’m glad that I’ve helped spread a bit of pos­i­tiv­ity.”

Celebri­ties in­clud­ing singer Paloma Faith and DJ Di­plo have been us­ing Harry’s sticker. De­spite his suc­cess Harry’s mum Ruth was ini­tially wor­ried when he said he wasn’t going to univer­sity. Harry said: “I think she was def­i­nitely a bit wor­ried at the start but I think she’s happy for me now.” Work­ing from his bed­room and hand-draw­ing his de­signs dig­i­tally, Harry cred­its his suc­cess to so­cial me­dia. Harry said: “It’s all been 100% through so­cial me­dia re­ally.

“I spent time in LA with a YouTu­ber called Danny Dun­can and he has quite a big au­di­ence. After he men­tioned me my fol­low­ers went up by thousands overnight.”

In Oc­to­ber Harry is vis­it­ing Mex­ico after con­tact­ing the Welsh Honorary Con­sulate and hopes to ex­pand his au­di­ence in the country. Harry said: “Mex­ico is such a big au­di­ence and I’m pretty in­flu­enced by the Mex­i­can cul­ture in my work.

“We’re plan­ning to do some pop-ups and try to get to some fes­ti­vals with my work, too.”

Harry said that he now plans to carry on and de­velop the mer­chan­dise side of his business and fo­cus more on cloth­ing.


Harry Ham­b­ley, from Llandaff, Cardiff, has cre­ated his own business sell­ing il­lus­tra­tions

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