Hackwith Design House believes that your favorite piece of clothing can and should be as unique as you are, and with limited-edition designs released every week (and less than 25 of each design produced) they are certainly staying true to their mission.
HDH's simple and clean aesthetic, quality fabrics and impeccable attention to detail have made it a favorite of style-conscious women around the world—and we here at Clementine are no exception. So, we thought it only appropriate to ask them to join us as Guest Style Editors for February. We are thrilled to have the women behind HDH sharing their favorite spring trends, the inspiration behind the revolutionary line and thoughts on style and fashion design this month.
Today we start by having Lisa Hackwith, designer and founder, and Erin Husted, director of operations, tell us more about the vision behind their clothing, challenges faced while building a business and what's next for their celebrated line.
You started Hackwith Design House in 2013 - what were you doing prior and what was the impetus for creating the line?
Lisa: I taught myself to sew after I graduated from college with an art degree. I took a year off to research MFA programs when I discovered my medium – designing and making clothes. Over the next five years, I sewed daily. I had some success with my Etsy shop and getting wholesale orders, but in order to make my business sustainable, something had to change. In February 2013, I took a few months off to re-work my business model; I re-launched Hackwith Design House in September 2013. The new model centered on my priorities: staying in Minneapolis, manufacturing all the clothing in the U.S., and making sure I love everything with my name on it. Thus the limited-edition model was born: 2-4 designs are released every Monday, no more than 25 pieces of each.
Erin: I came on board in March 2014. Lisa and I went to college together, and when I moved back to Minneapolis after working as an attorney in New York, it became apparent to us that we would make good business partners. Since that time, we have hired 5 full-time seamstresses and launched three additional lines to our Limited Edition collection: HDH Basics, HDH Swim, and HDH Plus.
HDH is designed and made in your St. Paul studio, which also houses your entire team and business headquarters. No small feat! Why was this important to you both? Was this always part of your original business plan?
Lisa: I created my business plan with the idea that I wanted to be really hands on with the designing and manufacturing of the clothes. That is difficult to do if you manufacture overseas, so it just made sense to me keep it all under one roof; and of course, when I started, that roof was my own home!
Erin: Yeah, when I came on board, I was running operations from Lisa's kitchen counter. As we have grown, however, we have intentionally kept our business entirely in one studio. That way we can ensure quality control as well as fair labor practices.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as independent designers? What have been a few of your greatest successes?
Lisa: As an independent designer, I'm also a small business owner which comes with a lot of challenges; one of which is carving out time to actually design!
Erin: Time management is a big part of figuring out how to make things work. If I'm doing my job as Director of Operations right, hopefully that means Lisa has the time to design, make samples, and do pattern making.
Lisa: One of the things I'm proud of is that very early on, Erin and I decided to have a dedicated weekly meeting that we call our "Concept Meeting" where we get together to discuss big picture ideas as well as overall business practices we want to implement. It was out of these meetings that the concepts for our additional lines were born.
HDH is a collection of stunning and unique pieces, with a focus on quality and modern simplicity. We'd love to know—which designs are on constant rotation in your own closets?
Lisa: Everything is, ha! I like to wear everything I make before deciding to put it into production to ensure I really love it. Sometimes this means I change three times in a day if I'm really in the middle of designing new pieces.
Erin: I do not travel without our Tee Dress from HDH Basics. And in the cooler months, you'll always find me in our coat from our Fall 2014 line.
We love that you celebrate and create for real women, with real bodies. Was this a conscious decision or did the line evolve to include these designs?
Lisa: It's a conscious decision. Because I wear everything prior to selling it, the pieces actually have to function for my life, which means I need to be able to work in them and I want to feel like I look good. So they're designed with those things in mind - functionality and confidence.
Erin: HDH Swim was literally a result of Lisa having a hard time finding a swimsuit that was flattering for her body. And when she talked to me about it, she learned I felt the same way. Then the more women we talked to, the more we realized that this is not an issue unique to us. So Lisa designed swimsuits that are flattering for women of all different shapes and sizes.
Clementine Daily’s mission is to live a simplified, intentional and authentic lifestyle. How do you relate to this mission?
Lisa: I started this company because I wanted to do something I loved, but it is hard work. I think most people would agree that just loving something isn't enough; you have to work hard at it too. And when you work hard at something you love, your life will be intentional and authentic (mostly because you won't have time for it to be any other way!).
Erin: I agree, and it's so encouraging when we get to meet (or read about on websites like yours) other small business owners who are doing exactly that.
Do you have any personal mottos or mantras?
Lisa: Both of us have a tendency toward workaholism and perfectionism, so we love the motto don't let perfect get in the way of good.
Erin: Exactly; we've learned that in order to run a small business, you have to get shit done, and if you're trying to make it perfect, that may not happen.
What's next for HDH?
Our newest line, HDH Bridal, is launching at the end of February. We could not be more excited about it!
p.s. Have you met The Soulful Photographer?