Shop Stories: Hackwith Design House

Shop Name, Location, Type of Goods Sold: Hackwith Design House, online shop with a studio is in Minneapolis, MN, selling women’s clothing.

Tell us a little bit about how Hackwith came to be. 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. Since September 2013, I have hired 3 seamstresses and have partnered with Erin Husted to run operations. In April, we moved into our current studio space, The CoMN, which we love!

Q+A: Hackwith Design House Q+A: Hackwith Design House

Talk about your style. I am drawn to clean lines, neutral tones, and pieces that are made with care and in a sustainable way. I am pretty minimalist when it comes to design, but I also want the space to be easy to work in and comfortable for everyone that works here.

Do you have a favorite part of your studio + why? I love that we share the studio with other small business owners. We call our space The CoMN, and it is invaluable to be surrounded by so many other hard-working, creative people. Sharing space encourages sharing ideas, along with sharing each other’s successes and struggles. It is so important to find a community that supports you as you attempt to do something as ambitious and a little crazy as running your own business. We have found that in Minneapolis, and we could not be happier.

Where does your inspiration come from? I am inspired by ways to make a space both functional and beautiful. Kate Arends of Wit & Delight is great at doing that, and her blog is often a source of inspiration. I’m also inspired by Martha McQuade’s space and studio; it is so stunning.

Q+A: Hackwith Design House

Tell us about some of your biggest achievements and challenges. In early 2013, I realized I had to figure out a way other than wholesale orders and a small Etsy shop to be able to live off of designing and making clothes. Rather than quitting and going to grad school (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t thought about doing that?), I took time off to talk to people who were successful in the fashion industry, to read and research about fashion and retail, and to re-write my business plan. That patience and work led to my creating the limited-edition model of my business and helped me gain clarity in what I wanted Hackwith Design House to be. It was scary to basically start over, but I had great support in my husband, friends, and family, and it helped me create a business I am really proud to have my name on. Now that business is growing, and I have a business partner and three full-time seamstresses. It is exciting, and I’m thrilled to have come this far.

Name 3 pieces that define you + your space. Big windows providing natural sunlight, lots of sewing machines, and tasseltries!

Biggest splurge and biggest steal: We just invested in industrial sewing machines, and they are definitely the biggest splurge that we are the most excited about! For the space, I found a set of 4 chairs with great wooden backs that were quite a steal.

Q+A: Hackwith Design House Q+A: Hackwith Design House

What are some of your go-to places when it comes to shopping for your space? Ikea has been helpful in providing table tops that are clean and easy to work on. I also could not have such a great space without a handy husband and Home Depot. For cleaning supplies and great decorative pieces, I love The Foundry Home Goods based here in Minneapolis.

Any advice? When we got into the space, everyone we share it with had one thing that was really important to them that they were willing to invest in. Then we designed the rest of the space around those key pieces. It’s definitely worth investing in the things you care about and working around that.