A brief history of how Loved by Hannah And Eli, Inc. began…
How a company evolved out of Goodwill bags
(pssst, the story is truly in the pictures... or Eli's hair!)
I was a mom following the “sell what-cha-got on Instagram” trend...
In early 2013 there were Instagram pages set up as “shops” - where one could sell their desired goods. There were pages dedicated to reselling vintage Pyrex, children’s books, and fabric. There were pages that would even go to thrift stores (or even sometimes Target!) and post their findings hoping someone would comment with their PayPal email to be invoiced. Some crafted and used Instagram as an Etsy
type platform to list their handmade bows, banners, pacifier leashes, jewelry and more. I loved following the pages that were like “closets”. Pages where women would sell their used purses, jeans and shoes. They did the same with their outgrown kids clothes too!
It was a great way to buy Gap Kids or Tiny Toms at a bargain!
A photo of what a my kids clothes resell shop looked like.
I thought I can do this too! So I dug out the Goodwill bags of Hannah & Eli's outgrown items and pulled out a few pieces I thought I could sell.
My Instagram name reflected what I sold. My items were literally loved by Hannah and Eli. I had my very own little consignment shop. I really enjoyed the interaction with other moms and the little bit of extra money I was making. I was really crafty (well, tried to be) at this time too. I was in charge of all the crafts for my local MoPs Group (Mother's of Preschoolers) & I was really into Pinterest and DIY. My motto was "there isn't anything I can't spray paint!"
Soon, I found that the items I had made/embellished/altered for my kids sold pretty quickly and had a nice amount of interest. So I started offering more, incorporating pieces that were not pre-loved (worn/used by my kids) but that were new and I had altered. I would hand-print or stamp various pieces of kids clothing such as onesie, bibs, tee shirts, and leggings.
Leggings/pants I had fun stamping for the kids - look at Eli and his paci!
At this time, leggings for boys was a huge trend and most of my purchasers were moms of boys. The stamps I started with were ones I had owned from craft supply stores, were available for anyone to purchase and to do the same... and some were! It didn't bother me, we would refer customers to each other shops who were asking for specific stamps or who would get our shops mixed up.
So, with this in mind, I started looking for new stamps on Etsy. I had a brief background with art in high school and college, and thought, could I draw my own stamps? I contacted a few Etsy store owners and asked them to design stamps for me, with the designs I had drawn...with a Sharpie. So I reached the point of my own little production,
I would stay up until 3am many nights painting, stamping, drying, and shipping my items.
This is how I got the arrow logo as seen above, that has graced the back of all my shirts for the past 3 years!
Above is the double tepee logo that I've used, one tepee representing Hannah & the other, Eli.
Above is baby Eli modeling my custom stamp, the double tepee, bottle and all!
...from hand printing to professionally printing came when I had a handful of shirts to get get done and thought how can I not do these one by one? How can I make this bigger? I want this to take up the entire front of the shirt, and stamps can only be so big!!! On a whim I called a local screen printer that I found on Google. I asked them if I could bring in designs to explore tee shirts.
(above, one of my very first tees!)
Soon I phased out the hand printing, and outgrew being able to invoice everyone individually. I hopped on BigCartel.com and offered my new “professionally screen printed” tees. I used my Instagram to advertise, share customer photos, and continue the interaction that I had when I would post photos of products and invoice people. I found amazingly talented artists through Instagram and Etsy who would bring my poor sketches & ideas to life!
My early tee shirts were more illustrations and cartoons. Thankfully, I was never short of inspiration. Everything stemmed from my kids and our adventures together. Each design had a little drawing or phrase that represented us or memory:
"I've Got Sunshine On A Cloudy Day"
"ABC That's My Jam"
The switch from illustrations to what I design now (the Bear Collection and the Everyday Faves Collection) started with a single nick name of Eli’s, “Man Cub”.
Once I debuted my “Man Cub” tank in May 2013 my business snowballed and grew faster than I could keep up with.
The demand for coordinating “Mama Bear” tee shirts grew and I was very hesitant about selling adult sizes and the costs that it would entail. I set up a pre-order on my BigCartel.com site and was blown away when I had over 300 pre-orders come in!
I grew with our customers and starting adding in “Baby Bear”, “Brother Bear”, “Sister Bear”, and “Papa Bear”.
I've now offered over 50 different variations of the "Bear Collection
" and recently added a new collection named "Everyday Faves
" that isn't just
Our Joyful tee, part of the Everyday Faves Collection. Photo by Megan Gibbs Photography
If you happen to scroll to the very very bottom of my Instagram feed you will still see those first posts when I was selling Hannah and Eli's LOVED clothing back in 2013.
Thank YOU for reading about my journey, we can't wait to see what more is to come!