At the age of 19, Minnesota native Hannah Paine created Hanmade Co., a handcrafted jewelry and vintage clothing brand, from the comfort of her own bedroom during the summer of 2016.
It started off as a way to find peace. After her freshman year at Grand Canyon University in Arizona, she realized she didn’t feel as connected to the campus as she had hoped. So when she returned home for the summer, she decide to search for her true passion. Paine had always enjoyed DIY crafts and working with her hands, so she began beading chokers at her own leisure as a finishing touch to her personal style.
As she began to wear her new pieces, people began to ask her where she got her jewelry in person and on her various personal social media platforms. Gaining increased recognition, she thought that she should take her new profound hobby one step further and expand it to her followers.
The love she developed for her new-found hobby translated directly into the work she does for the company: “If you are not passionate about it [your company] don’t do it because it won’t be worth it,” Paine says. “You are pretty much your company.”
By making an Instagram account for her brand—it now has more than 3,700 followers alongside her personal account, which has more than 7,000—Paine was able to build a strong support base. Most of the business is done online through the website, but last summer she began doing pop-up shops at the Excelsior Flea Market every Saturday during the summer months, as well as other art festivals across the Twin Cities metro area.
Paine wants to empower women through personal style and ethically sourced items, and to further her mission, Hanmade Co. also donates 10 percent of its proceeds to New Life Family Services, a physical, emotional, and spiritual pregnancy support center in Minneapolis.
Sustainability is the forefront of Hanmade Co., and in addition to the new shopping events last year, Paine also added reworked denim and vintage finds such as shirts and fashion scarves to the company’s jewelry-based inventory.
Emphasizing the importance of knowing where your clothes come from, Paine began collecting these garments from local second-hand stores in order to up-cycle once forgotten pieces into one-of-a-kind gems.
Paine says she always has been thrifty—and inadvertently, sustainable. Growing up, she would often go to local thrift and consignment shops searching for unique pieces to make her own. As she distressed and styled dozens of pieces for herself, she realized that there were not many places that offered these simple, classic everyday styles that people regularly searched for.
Even as she reinvented clothing for Hanmade Co., Paine did not like to see perfectly good material from the pant legs of the denim cutoff shorts go to waste. She began using the scraps of extra fabric to create a new line called Denim Leftovers that features a variety of zip clutches, makeup bags, and wallets.
Paying attention to current trends is all a part of keeping up with what the customers want; however, she is sure to incorporate aspects that are true to her individual style.
“I would never create something that I don’t personally love myself,” Paine says.
Just like creating jewelry helped her to feel at home with herself, she hopes that others can do the same when they wear her pieces. Whether it is old or new, there is always a use for things and a means for you to express truest self, Paine says. “Forget the rules. If you like it, wear it.” â€‹
Last photo: Owner Hannah Paine wearing bronze beaded choker and black vintage repurposed denim mom jeans, courtesy Greta Lausch.