Rags to Riches: Interview with Hannah Leonard, Founder of Loom and Kiln

What happens when passion integrates with talent? Your dream job, that’s what.

We’ve been big fans of Hannah Leonard ever since we discovered her speciality shop and soon after, her Instagram feed - @Loomandkiln

Hannah Leonard Founder of Loom and Kiln

Hannah Leonard is the Founder of Loom & Kiln, a specialty shop that houses some of the world’s most stunning styles and designs in the form of handmade rugs, ceramics, and textiles - that you yourself can purchase, own, and fall in love with. Notice how we said world’s...that’s because everything Hannah currently offers her online clientele has been found whilst traveling the world. That one of a kind rug you just fell in love with? Ya, she brought that back from a small village in Miracco.

An avid user of Instasize, we jumped at the opportunity to pick her brain on how she got started and how she continues to kick butt within a very niche industry.

Instasize: Hello Hannah, can you tell us about how Loom & Kiln originally got started?

Hannah Leonard: Loom and Kiln officially opened it's online "doors" November 5th of 2015. So we've been open now about 2.5 years but honestly I feel like I can't remember a time before running my shop! In college I got my BFA in painting and later went back to school for a year to study interior design. I had lots of very small creative business ventures before this one, the biggest probably being a line of greeting cards that I painted and sold in small boutiques in the Northwest. I also worked in a beautiful shop in Portland called Branch Birdie which gave me some great insight on the behind the scenes of running a store. And then after becoming a mom and being home all day alone with my thoughts (always a dangerous thing) I just kept envisioning running my own online shop from home and decided to make it happen!

Loom & Kiln

IS: Where did you pull your inspiration from to begin your business?

HL: Mostly from the plethora of incredible brick and mortar shops I would explore in Portland. It just started giving me a really good sense of what I liked and what I would do differently if I curated my own shop. Often times I felt like I would find a few really special pieces in each shop and I would think, wouldn't it be amazing if there was a home decor shop that only sold the cream of the crop? The really unique pieces that would normally stand out in a crowd, only they would all be like that!

Hannah Leanord in Morocco Hannah Leanord in Morocco

*images from Hannah’s most recent sourcing trip in Morocco

IS: What items do you sell? Are all of the items handmade?

HL: Yes all of our items, with exception of one candle, are made by hand! We love those wonderful imperfections you get with pieces that are thoughtfully and slowly made by the human hand. They just tell a story the way that something mass produced simply cannot. Most of the textiles we sell in the shop, like our rugs and pillows, are vintage and come from all over the world. We also focus on handmade ceramics, art and other decorative items, many of which are made by talented artists right here in the US.

Loom & Kiln Loom & Kiln

"You're be able to see the love and care that goes into an item that's been touched by a human hand. It's through these pieces that homes become a place of beauty and wonder, and that tell a story of the people inside. "

IS: Where has been one of your favorite travel destinations?

HL: Oh goodness that's such a tough question to answer! I have family in Guatemala and have been there a few times in my life which makes it pretty special for me. In college I did a study abroad in Europe and spent a month in Italy completely fell in love with the culture! Our apartment was right next to the Vatican in Rome and we would walk by it every day, it was magical. But probably the most unexpected and surprising countries I've traveled to would be Iceland and Indonesia. The cultures and landscapes were just unlike anywhere else I had been which made them especially fun to explore.

Hannah Leonard Founder of Loom & Kiln Loom & Kiln

IS: How has social media played a role in your success as a company?

HL: While Instagram engagement has been pretty low the last year for most people, it was incredibly instrumental to us in the growing our following the first year and a half! I mean it's a free way to get your name out there and it's largely controlled by how much time and effort you put into it. That was really empowering!

Loom & Kiln Instagram Account

IS: What advice would you give to someone trying to create a brand online?

HL: Do your research. Know your competition or other brands you aspire to be like and work relentlessly to figure out what works for them and what doesn't. How are you going to be different than them? Why should anyone shop with you vs. someone else, what's going to set you apart? I think market research is so essential to being successful!

Loom & Kiln Loom & Kiln

If you would like to own a custom Loom and Kiln piece, then please visit her website at: https://loomandkiln.com

You can follow Hannah’s journey here: @loomandkiln

Contact: hello@loomandkiln.com

We can’t thank Hannah enough for allowing us to interview her and for being an active member of the Instasize community. We’re honored to have you as part of our team.

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