It’s funny that I’ve yet to officially feature Hackwith Design House on TAE. Today, Lisa is a close friend, collaborator, and studio mate. However, we only actually met in the fall of 2013, when I profiled her collaboration with Parc Boutique. Since then, our attempts at a feature have gotten side-tracked by opening a studio, collaborating on the HDH for Wilson & Willy’s collection, and Hackwith Design House’s incredible growth, but as the team began to launch their third collection, HDH SWIM, I knew it was time to share a little bit more about Lisa and the incredible business she has built.
What impresses me most about Lisa is her ability to take action. The more I learn as an entrepreneur, the more I realize that while ideas have value, the ability to take action is priceless and what leads to success. Lisa and her incredible team exemplify this every day – they legitimately get shit done so quickly it makes my head spin. And this isn’t shoddy work they are putting out there – there is attention to detail and care evident in every HDH piece, and I’ve watched the team re-work and learn techniques and processes over the last year to ensure that the products you buy are incredibly well made and long-lasting. The focus on quality is even more obvious in the HDH SWIM collection, which Lisa designed to work on most body types. Like most women, I’m never a fan of trying on bathing suits, but seeing this collection on two different, beautiful models helped me to understand what would work for me – and helped me to feel better about the overall process.
Read on for more from Lisa…
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
My background is in studio art. I took a year off after college, and I planned to go back to get my MFA, but during that year, I began sewing and realized I’d found my medium – designing and making clothes.
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND HACKWITH DESIGN HOUSE?
I built the business model for HDH centered around my priorities: staying in the Twin Cities, manufacturing all the clothing in the U.S., and making sure I love everything with my name on it. The limited-edition model of my weekly releases allows me to do all three of those things. HDH has grown a lot since then: I have a business partner and 3 full-time seamstresses. HDH also has two lines in addition to our limited-edition releases: HDH Basics and HDH Swim. All of this growth, however, still centers around what makes HDH work: beautiful, quality clothing made in the U.S.
WHO DO YOU DESIGN FOR?
I design for women who want to feel confident in what they wear so they can focus on the more important aspects of their day: performing well at work, a night out with friends, time spent with family.
WHAT LED YOU TO LAUNCH HDH SWIM?
I always had a hard time finding a swimsuit that was both stylish and flattering. I eventually made myself the swimsuit I couldn’t find. I realized that other women might be having the same problem, and I loved the idea of making their new, favorite swimsuit.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE AMERICAN MADE BRANDS TO PAIR WITH HDH?
HOW HAS BUILDING HDH CHANGED HOW YOU CONSUME?
I have a much easier time spending more on quality products made by small businesses. While the investment can be more up front, I have learned that it pays off in the long run. And purchasing items from like-minded makers and small business owners both helps the local economy while ensuring I receive a product I can use and enjoy for a long time.
HOW DO YOU LEARN ABOUT NEW AND LIKE-MINDED BRANDS?
I have been lucky to meet some really incredible people through Instagram. For all its faults, social media can be a really positive force and help one meet other people who are working hard to accomplish really cool things. Kate from Na Nin, for instance, has become a really good friend of mine, and we only met because we liked each other’s IG feeds.
WHAT DRIVES YOU?
I really love what I do, so that makes it pretty easy to get up every morning and come in to work. It’s so fun for me to create clothing that I hope women feel confident and beautiful while wearing. I am also driven to maintain a company that is both forward thinking while staying true to our values.
WHAT MAKES YOUR DAY?
I feel so incredibly blessed that I get to spend each day doing what I love. On top of that, I am fortunate to work with our incredibly talented seamstresses and one of my closest friends came on as my business partner.
YOU’VE BUILT AN INCREDIBLE BUSINESS OVER THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF – WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER MAKERS?
First off, you have to put in the work, research, and training prior to starting a small business. While HDH’s current iteration started in September 2013, I actually spent five years prior to that sewing and designing on a daily basis in addition to thinking about my business plan. Because I had that background, I was able to trust my instincts when it came to starting the new business model. I also was fortunate to get great advice from and surround myself with people smarter than I. I have found that trusting your instincts, taking risks, listening to others smarter than you, and working hard are all key ingredients to building a small business.