Welcome to Season 4, Episode 2 of the Indie Business Podcast! This season is all about celebrating finalists in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards. Last week, we brought you Riche Holmes Grant, our choice from the Style category. Today, I am thrilled to introduce you to Gilyn McKelligon of Hannah Bergen in Portland, Oregon, our choice from the Design category. Hannah Bergen makes easy-to-use to kits with components to help you record and save stories about cherished family heirlooms. In today's world of high tech everything, it is so refreshing to learn about a product created to celebrate writing things down with pens and high quality paper.
You'll enjoy hearing a bit about Gilyn's passion in this regard, and how she manages Hannah Bergen as a family business — with her mom (a former stock broker) and her sister. It's a real family affair, and it perfectly complements the Hannah Bergen brand, which is all about family and tradition. Enjoy my interview with Gilyn NOW!
Listen to the Audio
Episode Show Notes
- Gilyn details how she moved from doing interior design to starting a Hannah Bergen, and how her products help us live a better life. (starting at 3:14)
- Gilyn shares bit about what it's like to work with her mom and your sister, and how they divide their tasks and responsibilities. (starting at 6:27)
- Why it's important to slow down enough to organize, protect, and maintain family heirlooms, and what's in the Hannah Bergen kit. (starting at 7:56)
- Who helps Gilyn make the business successful, including joining her at “assembling parties.” (starting at 13:26)
- How Gilyn came to enter the American Made Awards. (starting at 14:20)
- Some of the reasons Gilyn loves owning her own business, especially the flexibility it affords her as a mom. (starting at 15:00)
- How Gilyn uses social media, Instagram in particular, to engage her customers and fans. (starting at 16:00)
- A bit about how Gilyn's business model works, and advice to encourage all of us to treasure our family heirlooms. (starting at 20:07)
- Gilyn shares why American made is important to her and the Hannah Bergen brand, and how she sourced components and design for her products. (starting at 26:05)
- Future plans for Gilyn and Hannah Bergen. (starting at 28:11)
- Gilyn's words of wisdom for anyone considering turning their passion into a business, and how to find Hannah Bergen online. (starting at 31:10)
Gilyn McKelligon, Hannah Bergen
Four Actions You Can Take Right Now
At the Indie Business Network, we are not just about listening and being inspired. We are also about thinking carefully about what we hear, and then taking measured steps toward specific goals. Here are 5 actions you can consider taking right now based on my interview with Gilyn.
- Create community around your brand: Gilyn told us that, from time to time, she hosts fun parties where people can come and help assemble the Hannah Bergen kits. I love how she combined having fun with getting a job done. I bet lots of you listening could think of ways to turn some of your more mundane tasks into a party where people can help you as they also have a good time.
- Get help: Gilyn shared that, at first, she and her mom and sister where trying to design and source everything themselves. What a job, with a product that has multiple components. reaching out to an expert to help with the design took some load off of Gilyn and has allowed them to focus more on leading the business than being in the weeds managing every little details themselves.
- Don't give up: Gilyn shared that her business is actually the long-time dream of her mother who was a stock broker during her professional career. The dream of having a business to celebrate family traditions never died, and now lives through Hannah and her sister. You may have to wait a while for all aspects of your dream to come true, ad either way, not giving up is key.
- Count every penny: Gilyn shared that her business is entirely self funded. No loans or grants, and they count every penny. Wise advice for sure.
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