Hey there #GirlBosses and soon-to-be #GirlBosses, I am thrilled to introduce you all to the youngest of the #GirlBosses I've had the privilege to interview. Hannah is 19 years old and just this year opened her own bakery in my hometown of Stillwater, MN. I'm gobsmacked at the drive and dedication she has shown at such a young age.
While Hannah's Homemade Heavens may be a baby in business years, Hannah herself has shown herself to be a #GirlBoss we can all learn from!
Hannah's Homemade Heavens happens to be about 1/2 a block from my little office, a convenient location, here in Stillwater, MN. Hannah opened her doors in September 2015 and has been baking up goodies ever since. She loves baking goodies and it shows in her work! Her scones are my utter favorite but her turnovers are a close second! She chops the apples and makes her own filling for the apple turnovers. And you know how I feel about anyone that uses real food and real love in their recipes...LOVE!
If you are local to Stillwater, stop into Hannah's bakery to meet the wonderful girl behind the counter and to taste one of her treats. Tell her well done, gain a bit of inspiration, and then head out to be a #GirlBoss in your own right. You'll find Hannah's Homemade Heavens behind Meister's on the corner of 4th and Churchill. I'm sure I'll see you there!
Now, I want you to hear some of Hannah's thoughts on her journey to opening her own bakery, her role-model (Mom's everywhere... #MomGoals!), and what her BIGGER dreams are. This girl has moxie!
- If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you what achievement would you be most proud of?
Opening the bakery was definitely one of my biggest achievements this year. The bakery was something I have always dreamed of, so to finally have it was a huge deal. So far I'm also pretty proud of how far the bakery has come in such a short time its funny to see the difference between today and when I first opened and how little I was selling.
- Who is your role model, and why?
My role model is my mom. She helps A LOT at the bakery. She's there every morning to help me fill the case with goodies and even makes me breakfast sometimes so I can keep working. She not only helps out at the bakery in the morning but she has 2 other jobs on top of that. She works the counter at Johnny’s TV and manages the accounting at Johnny’s and her parents electrical company, Marshall Electric. She works really hard and does a lot for others, I hope that I can work as hard as she does and help others.
- Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career
So far my most significant accomplishment would be getting a mobile food license. This license allows me to go to farmers markets, food shows, or any other vendor show. This will help a lot with advertising and getting my name out. I also think it will be really fun.
- What’s your superpower if you could choose any?
I would pick super speed to get things done faster and have more time.
- What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made getting your business up and running?
I think that I may have started a little early. Another week or two would have been nice to have to get everything set before the doors opened. I could have used some more ideas of what I was going to bake and offer to my customers. I was a little too excited to open right away. I also should have learned more about the business end of the bakery, but luckily my mom was there to help.
- If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15min with your former self to communicate any lessons you've acquired, what would you tell yourself?
The first day I opened I had probably gotten about 2 hours of sleep so I would defiantly tell myself it gets better. You will still be tired but that first day will probably be the worst. I'd also tell myself to keep trying new things and change things every once in awhile. And don't forget how long you wanted this and how fun it can be. I love baking and a lot of time it doesn't feel like work. I'd remind myself to bake the things I have fun baking. Also, remember to make time for your customers because they are really fun and interesting to talk to. One more thing I'd tell myself is, you will get frustrated and upset but remember to learn from your mistakes and frustrations.
- How many hours do you work a day on average?
On an average day I work about 15 hours a day
- Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
My family and I used to go on bakery road trips around MN when I had breaks from school. One time we decided to go south and ended up in Rochester MN. We went to a couple bakeries there but the one that really stood out was "Gingerbread House Bakery." I remember thinking that I wanted my bakery to feel just like the Gingerbread House did. We walked in and the smell alone told me I wanted to model my bakery off of the Gingerbread House. Another thing that I liked was that the food wasn't some fancy food that I have never heard of. It was just this really awesome home cooked food! That's what I really hope people feel at my bakery.
- Which Three Adjectives Describe Your Strengths?
Determined, imaginative, and optimistic
- Coffee or Tea?
- When you have 15 minutes of downtime...how do you spend it?
I try to spend my free time hanging out with my friends or taking a break and reading.
- So, what’s your story?
Growing up I had seen and heard about a lot of businesses starting up. My dad, grandpa, and great-grandpa started and ran their own auction and TV business, My mom, her brothers, and my grandparents starter and ran their own electrical company. I loved hearing the stories about there businesses so I was introduced to the idea of Entrepreneurship at a young age. Probably around the age of 15 I started baking a lot around the house and starting my own bakery was just a thought at that time. My family and friends would order food and I'd supply the treats for family parties. That’s pretty much as far as it went for a couple years after that. I was still in school and working a couple jobs so my baking was pretty limited to home baking on the weekends. I would think about someday owning a bakery and coming up with different scenarios about how it could work out and how I would run it.
However, towards the end of my junior year of high school the bakery started to become more of a reality. When my friends were thinking of colleges all I really saw myself doing was owning a bakery in Stillwater. So I started to really look into a bakery in the front half of my families store, Johnny's TV. We contacted a couple people to get estimates on remodeling and on getting the correct permits and licenses. We started to realize starting from scratch may be a little over our heads. So the bakery was kind of put on hold again. I still talked about the bakery pretty much everyday and was definitely still planning on opening eventually. My family was pretty supportive of the bakery but there was definitely some people that weren't. A lot of people would tell me not to open a bakery because of all the work and long hours. It was kind of hard to hear that people thought it was a bad idea, but I couldn't get the idea out of my head. I would always think about how the bakery would look and everything I could do. I knew it would be so much fun and it was something I had to do. So finally out of nowhere in late July early August I heard about a cupcake shop closing and selling their kitchen in Stillwater. I didn't really think much of it because it wasn't downtown but we went to check it out anyway.
We did a walk through, which didn't take long because it was so small, but everything looked pretty good and the kitchen was ready for commercial use. After leaving, I had all new ideas for the bakery in that kitchen and things pretty much just happened after that. We had an inspector check the place to make sure it was up to code and everything was okay. When everything passed we put in an offer and they took it! That was mid-August and after we did some remodeling I opened Hannah's Homemade Heavens on October 1st, 2015. I love owning the bakery so much that I still haven't worked a day since I opened my doors. However, I'm still not done now that I own the bakery because the new dream is to expand and start a business in the family shop.
I'm inspired to put forth even a portion of Hannah's determination and passion in my day's. Imagine! I'm so thankful to know this lady and be able to watch her grow and learn. I'm sure I'll soon be bringing you back an update about that larger bakery opening up in downtown Stillwater! This girl get's what she sets out to get!
Head over to her Facebook page and drop her a comment of encouragement, will you? She appreciates all the positivity she can get!