An Excellent Woman: Hannah K. of Hannah’s Homestead

Hello, readers! Susan Karsten here. Following is my interview of Hannah Kooiman, one of the most talented ladies it is my privilege to know these days. She farms, gardens, cooks, cans, mothers, teaches, crochets, and so on. Read on to find her bio at the end. Thanks!

hannah Kooiman pic

So Hannah, what’s a typical day like for you?  Busy! I am usually up early and after checking emails/messages I go out to care for my chickens.  Depending on the time of year, and how many birds I have, this can take up to an hour with hauling feed, water, bedding, etc.  After I get back in the house, I package up any orders I completed the night before and run them out to the mailbox.  We eat breakfast and afterward we spend some time on schoolwork.  I work with the youngest 3 kids and the older ones do most of their work on their own.  While the youngest 3 work on their schoolwork, I usually have some crochet or knitting project to work on.  After lunch, I spend some time sewing or other handwork, and depending on the time of year, I head out to the garden for most of the rest of the day.  I spend some time in the evening taking care of my chickens and gathering eggs. 

Ranking your various hobbies/skills, what’s your favorite and why?  Well, that is really hard!!  I love to do a lot of things!  It sort of depends on the time of year. Winter is a good time to work in the house.   Crochet is one of my favorite things to do.  I love to design things, though I spend so much time making things that all the ideas in my head are not getting done.  I love to garden and be outside- that does not mesh too well with needlework. I love animals.  Watching things grow is so rewarding- maybe that is why designing is something I love, too. Photography is another hobby that has helped me tremendously.  Good pictures are key to online sales.

How long has it taken you to get the Hannahs Homestead business going, and when did you start?  I started selling my handmade items in the fall of 2013 after a friend asked me to make a pair of baby booties for her grand-daughter.  I wondered if I could sell more of them and posted an ad on a local Buy/Sell site on Facebook.  They were a huge success, and soon I started selling other items.  Then another friend encouraged me to start a Facebook business page–I did and soon after that I opened my Etsy shop.

What are the various “departments” of Hannahs Homestead?  I sell eggs and homegrown chicken, as well as some produce from my large garden.  About 9 years ago, I started dividing perennial flowers from plants in my yard/gardens and selling those.  That has been a big success, with some people coming back almost every year since I started. The craft part of the business has really grown this past year and that will be my main focus, since it is something I can do year-around.  My kids are able to help me in many ways and they also earn money for the work they do. They are also learning about gardening and other handcrafts.

Can you share your dreams for the business?  I would like to get more into pattern designing and selling.  Designing is something I really enjoy and it is in some ways a it’s a little less time-consuming. I have designed and published a few patterns and it has been very fulfilling to have an idea and see it all come together and make it in print.  It is a process, starting with the idea, the design in my head, getting it all on paper, and then making it turn out the way I imagine it.  After I “perfect” it, the pattern gets sent to testers, who tell me all the mistakes (typos, grammar errors, mistakes in counts, parts that are unclear) that are in my “perfect” pattern.  Above all, my goal is to bring glory to God in all I do.  I want everything I make and do to reflect that I belong to Him.  I strive to do everything to the very best of my ability, so my customers are getting the best quality that they can get.

What’s the most unusual thing that’s happened since you’ve been selling on Etsy?  Growing up in a Dutch family and community, practicality and frugality were key values. I never knew that people would be willing to pay for handmade items.  We grew up with everything made by hand–my mom, and grandmas on both sides knitted, crocheted and sewed for all of us.  I really could not imagine myself paying what a handmade item was worth with time and materials,etc.  When I started selling on Etsy, it totally amazed me that there were people who were willing to pay for handmade items.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/HannahsHomestead2

http://www.ravelry.com/people/dancingcows

What is the best thing that’s happened? Seeing my items used by people who love them. I love to hear from people who are enjoying something I made for them. Early this year I designed a “Shabby Chic” infant carseat cover that has been a huge success. I get lots of positive feedback about it and it makes me so happy to know there are dozens of happy customers using those covers every day. Also, I love being able to teach my kids some of these arts and seeing the satisfaction my kids get from being able to create something that is good enough to ship across the country or around the world to a customer.

Hannah grew up in Washington state and now lives on a small family dairy farm in Wisconsin, with her husband and 8 children, chickens, cows and lots of cats. She enjoys gardening, photography, animals and anything that involves yarn, thread, fabric, needles and crochet hooks. {It has happened that when she was shopping, yarn actually jumped in her cart when she was not looking 😉 }

My friends, please comment with a question for Hannah. Or, comment about your own talented friend(s).

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3 thoughts on “An Excellent Woman: Hannah K. of Hannah’s Homestead

  1. Pingback: An Excellent Woman: Hannah K. of Hannah’s Homestead | khkooiman

  2. They don’t make “her” anymore……………..what a wonderful find, and lucky Husband, and Children! Wonderful values….wish there were still more like her!

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