I don't know when I first started following Hanna on IG, but I *do* know that I did because I found her aesthetic to be right up my alley. We cultivated a relationship over the past year - first when she took my free mini e-course on organically growing her IG audience, to now scheduling Skype dates to gush over business and marketing (and planning our first meet up in Japan. One day!).
Maker of hand-made project bags, to Creative Boss Consultant helping other creatives achieve their dream of running an online business in the fiber industry, Hanna is a woman of many talents and hats! Here's her interview. Enjoy!
1. First off, what type of Fibre Muse are you?
I’m a Dreamer!! And I couldn’t believe how accurate the description was when I took the quiz - I absolutely use knitting to express myself, and one of my favourite aspects about it is that every project tells a story. My favourite handmade knitwear pieces are the ones that tell a story from choosing the yarn to where I knit it to my first time wearing it. I love to be reminded of every single aspect of its story every time I wear that piece!
2. How did you first start get into designing/dyeing/making?
If I look back now it seems that I started knitting as a way to escape reality sometime in late 2014, early 2015. I had knit before, but never as much as I did then. I seriously doubted if I should stay in the job I had loved so much in a company that I had helped create - and knitting was an out, a way to just do something with my hands that would yield a beautiful result. That really was my entry into this fabulous makers community! When I left that job at the end of 2015 and went freelance, I knew that I wanted to start a little handmade label in addition to my freelancing work. I wanted to work with my hands and create actual, physical products. I started small, just by making a few basic zipper bags and putting them up in an online shop. Over the course of a few months I slowly developed more project bag designs, learned a lot about how to run an online shop (payment methods are important!) and realised that I really love sewing! I also learned that I can be endlessly inspired by the myriads of fabric and color and zipper combinations out there - working on a new collection is one of my all-time favourite things!
3. What’s your brand’s mission? How do you want to effect the Fibre Community?
The mission of my project bag brand (#hannalisahaferkampbags) is to provide knitters with project bags that are not only beautiful to look at, but also super functional. Now, beautiful to look at means a lot of geometric, clear designs - no frou frou, but instead combining the minimalist, Scandinavian aesthetic with the natural and punchy colors I love! With regards to functionality, one of my pet peeves is yarn that gets tangled in a project bag. My newest designs feature carabiners for un-tangled yarn and the freedom to try on your knitting at any time - something that’s not possible with the usual grommet constructions.
On a broader scale, the mission of my personal brand that includes not only the project bags, but also my Creative Boss Consulting business, is to change the world by helping women build and run their own creative businesses. I am extremely passionate about feminism and gender equality and see the biggest lever I currently have to help us progress towards a more equal society in supporting female-owned businesses. Women who run their own business are not only more independent and empowered, but also give back a lot more to their communities than men - win win for all!
4. What is it about your work that lights you up?
Ohhh - everything? :) In all honesty, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. I love everything from juggling the making businesses and the consulting and coaching offers to developing new collections, sewing up orders and packaging them up. Most mornings I get up and I can’t believe that I’m lucky enough to be able to live this life!
5. Where do you see yourself/your brand in 5 years?
I would love to have a broad portfolio of handmade products that have been developed and produced in collaboration with female-owned businesses. I see collections that are using patterns designed exclusively for us by female designers, a workspace filled with laughter, light and joy and a team of women of all ages who are sewing up orders, packaging them, chatting to our customers and feeling like they can be themselves without fear of being judged.
I also see a group of women who own their own businesses getting together once or twice a year, sharing their latest success stories and failures and marvelling at how much they’ve grown and pushed this Fiber community forward in the last five years. I love both aspects of my work - the project bag business and the consulting business - and I couldn’t imagine one working without the other.
6. What words of wisdom would you like to share with aspiring makers and creators?
Do the work. Seriously, there is no silver bullet, no magic word, no formula to make success happen over night. You need to sit your butt in the chair and do the work. Every. Single. Day. Then results will come. Trust yourself, trust your instincts, and don’t give up doing the work and you will see how much it is going to pay off in the long run!
7. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
ICE CREAM!!!! I love ice cream! My favourite flavour is French Chocolate from Hokey Pokey - the best ice cream spot in Berlin, and luckily (or unfortunately, depends) only a 10 min walk away from our place…
Thank you Hanna for taking the time to be interviewed! You can find her at...
She's sponsoring this month's Patreon giveaway. One lucky Patreon will be awarded one of her carabiner knitting project bags. The bags have interior pockets with carabiners to keep yarn from tangling, ideal for colorwork! (How fun!)
Also, take a moment to support her newest undertaking, launching her first issue of Making Stories: WOODS! (Note: I'm going to be writing an article for it!). I am all about supporting small businesses that emphasize story-telling, and taking the reader/knitter on a journey of discovery and exploration around the world.
I have already pledged my support to WOODS! Have you? You can visit their IndieGoGo page here!