Sabrina Benlemqawanssa
Art Director / Founder of HAND AND HAND / PHOTOGRAPHER


Sabrina Benlemqawanssa

Art Director / Founder of HAND AND HAND / Photographer

Paris, France
Instagram @sabribeny
Instagram @handandhandfr


What do you do?

I am a creative, a visual designer. I create. This is a part of me I can't stop doing. It starts in the morning with my breakfast and it ends only when I am sleeping. I specially create lifestyle photography. As a freelancer in art direction, I also create a handmade jewelry brand. I recycle materials to create jewel pieces. And last but not least I am also a photographer. It used to be my hobby but it started to turn into a job.

I am a creative, a visual designer. I create. This is a part of me I can’t stop doing.


What steps did you take to get where you are now?

I decided to not follow what I was "supposed" to do, and did what I wanted to do instead. I never wanted to be forced to do anything, I always follow my guts and intuition. I pretty sure it's my choices, my intuition and a little bit of courage and audacity that brings me to where I am now. I never limited myself and that's why today I can follow 3 different paths. Also, of course it's hard work and support that helped to take me to where I am now.


For other people in your field, what do they usually lack?

One word. COMMUNICATION. This is crazy, because I am doing a job that is based on that simple word. I was pretty surprised when I realized that people who are mastering the art of communication can have issues with this same word in work relationships. 


What are you working on right now?

When I finished my studies I never knew my life would change this much every single year. Last year, I built a brand. This year, I started to work as a photographer, brand content and art director. So I am not sure about what life will bring me next. Maybe I will stop my brand, and open a coffee shop or becoming a blogger. Who knows? I don't know what life will bring me, but for now I am developing my skills in brand content, doing more photographic projects and I really hope to do more artistic direction.


We are all Slashies with multiple skills, which one do you wish you could do more often?

Art direction. I really hope I can do more of that. I feel like I am born to do it. I love helping people get going the right way. Putting everything in the right place.

What is frustrating you right now?

I will say quiting something. Sometimes you create a brand or a business and you realize your aspirations are not there anymore. But you did all the hard work. So it's hard to let it go. It's like when you get a job you don't really like but you are ok with it, you would like to do something else but you are afraid to quit your job. Letting go is not a easy thing specially when you build a business, because you feel like you're giving up but sometimes it's for the best. Steve jobs left Apple then came back and built it up even bigger so...

What task keeps landing at the bottom of the To Do list?

My personal projects are always on the bottom because I focus on the projects of others before mine. But I am doing my best to focus on what is really important to me.

If you could hire someone for $20/hour, what would you have them do to make your day easier?

Checking and responding to my emails for sure. If you know someone, something, an app or whatever to make it easier to do it please feel free to send it to me. Thank you :)

Let's bring out the time machine. What do you wish you could have told yourself, when, and why?

A few months ago, I wish I told to myself to slow down. Because I worked too much and it affected my heath. Work is important in life, I get that, but this is not who we are, it's only a part of us. So many things are so important like having time for yourself, to be with our family/friends/husbands/wives or people who count on us, having new experiences, traveling the world, breathing, drawing, cooking, doing sports anything that make us happy. 

Just Living, and being happy. I wish I told myself that life is about to being happy and doing so in good health. So take care of yourself and do what you really want.

What kind of opportunities/projects are you looking for?

I am open to any opportunities or projects. But I would really love some art directing projects. It could be about photography, displays or brands.

I like making displays and I never had the opportunity to do them except with my own brand. So that could also be a nice experience. My dream job would be to work for And Others Stories, COS, or Anthropologie.

I would really love some art directing projects. It could be about photography, displays or brands.

What is your ideal client?

My ideal client or collaboration would be with someone with whom I can share. Sharing things is important to me. Also, I would love them to trust me, my intuitions and ideas. A relation with good vibes because we know good vibes means good work. I would love to learn from that collaboration, and grow. 

About my business, my customers are the best. Some of them became my friends. They are friendly and so supportive. When I mention the idea of stopping the brand, one of my customers had the right words to make me change my mind. I would change nothing about my current customers I am so happy with them.

Do you allow yourself to say No?

It used to be hard to me to say no but I understand now that sometimes you just can't say yes every time. Respect is so important to me in a relationship so it can break a deal if it doesn't occur for me. If a client was disrespectful, even if they were "famous", I would finish my work and quit. If I keep working for someone who is disrespectful to me, it would be like I betrayed myself. 

Also, I say no when the salary range is too low in comparison with the work. So many creatives do free work. I did too many times and this is not something we should do. Being a creative can't mean working for free. Just because we are not doing "regular work" doesn't mean we are not working. It depends on the project but I stopped doing free work or low salary projects. I work hard so I would like to be paid for what I am doing. This is just fair and should be normal.

And the last thing is about time. As I said before I used to not say no and when you do that you have too much work to do and this is not healthy. So now when I've got some projects on board I prioritize my time and I say no to some projects. This is not something that's easy for me to do but I force myself to do it.

What is your rate? 

It depends on the project but for the art direction I charge around 400 € /Day.

How should someone approach you about working together?

Straight. I like when things are clear and straight. The perfect approach would be where every part of the project would be explained, including the budget.
You can add funny or hilarious ideas they are always welcome. I also love sharing great ideas/concepts so a link with a cool video clip or image, text or quote would be awesome.

This member profile was originally published in October 2015.