Hannah Loumeau Leonard | She Ran: Stories From Women Who Found Their Own Way
Welcome to She Ran, a series of short interviews with inspirational business owners and artists. I believe in the power of example. If She can run with her dreams, so can you.
Meet the Hannah, the creative genius behind online home decor shop and Instagram account, Loom + Kiln.
I didn't know one could become obsessed with rugs, let alone home decor until I discovered Hannah's carefully curated online shop. It wasn't long before setting an alarm for her Wednesday "rug releases" became part of my weekly routine, and when we moved into our new house last year, a Moroccan Boujaad rug from her shop was a priority purchase. She has a keen eye for sure, but it's the rituals and consistency Hannah's built into her brand that I admire most of all.
What do you do? How did you come to do it?
I run a handmade home decor shop called Loom + Kiln. In college, I studied studio art and loved to paint! I tried lots of small, creative business ventures before this one. I had a line of watercolor greeting cards that I sold with my dad to small boutiques for a while. Then, I tried painting deer antlers for a while to sell as a home decor item. Then, for a short time after that I tried to make and sell jewelry... During this time I also worked at an independent fashion and home boutique in Portland called Branch Birdie. I was really struggling to figure out what exactly I wanted to do and what I was best at! I finally figured out that I loved interior design and went back to school in Portland to study it for a year. But then I was expecting my first baby, and my husband got a job opportunity that took us out of Oregon, so everything was put on hold. After we moved to Utah and I had my daughter, Maya, I was desperate to figure out a way to earn a small income and do something I loved in addition to being a stay-at-home mom. I finally decided that after all of my experiences and everything I had learned that I was ready to open an online home decor shop. I could do it from home which was a huge plus, and I had the confidence that I could create something truly unique to other shops in the market.
What's your mission? Why do you do what you do?
My mission is to offer a selection of truly special handmade items from around the world that appeal to a modern bohemian aesthetic. A good mixture of vintage, one-of-a-kind finds and new treasures dreamed up and created by artisans. Having been fortunate enough to travel to many different countries in my life, my eyes were exposed to the incredibly diverse and creative talents the world has to offer. Having pieces thoughtfully and slowly made by the human hand is absolutely critical for us! No cheap, low-quality products from China sold here. Our mission is to support creative female (and male) artists doing what they are passionate about and love.
Who inspires you?
I'm inspired by so many talented smart women. I was really inspired by my boss, Anna Margaret, at Branch Birdie when I was working for her. She started her business as a young mother who was passionate and driven. Everything she has accomplished and her great self-taught business-sense is something I admired. Branch Birdie has turned into Le Souk Le Souk, and if you go on to their website, you'll see just how unique and cool her sense of style is and I guarantee you'll be crushing on her like I am. ;)
As far as designers go, early on, I was really inspired by Jessica Helgerson and Amber Lewis. Their designs resonated with me immediately and were very influential in the continual development of my own personal taste and style.
What is the greatest part about building your own business that you want other women to know?
The greatest part for me is the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment I get from it. I can honestly say I feel really proud of what I've done — and as someone who has been really critical of myself, always feeling like I wasn't quite good enough — pride is a really good feeling to have. And of course, having a second income has been a huge blessing for my family and given us a lot of financial freedom, which is amazing.
What are some of the hidden challenges of working for yourself that no one talks about?
I'm essentially a slave to my business. I feel, to be totally honest, completely obsessed with my business and it has caused me to have a really unbalanced life. This imbalance has resulted in feeling like a failure as a mother at times, as though, I'm not putting my children first. It's something I'm working on. I have to tell myself repeatedly to be present with my family when I'm not on my designated work hours. It's a challenge, and owning a business has added a lot of stress to my life, but at the end of the day, it's still the right thing for me and my family. But I would caution people that running a business really isn't for everyone and that you need to be honest with yourself before diving in if you think it's right for you. You don't ever get to "clock out". At times, you will be thinking about it and be worrying for what feels like every minute of your life. So, you better be seriously passionate about whatever it is that you're going to do!
What's your favorite social media platform and why?
Instagram by a mile. Instagram has been so instrumental in the success of my business and has given me so much exposure! I will forever be so grateful to Instagram for the role it plays for us.