Have you ever attended a rally or show on concrete or asphalt with no way to secure your awning? Gary Moore came up with a way to utilize the weight of water with common items from a home improvement store. Filling a five-gallon bucket with water gives you a 42-pound anchor to secure each awning pole. Water produces a substantial amount of weight you don’t have to transport. Wind can still pull or tip the buckets. Gary engineered four-foot 1x2s with a notch in each end to keep the buckets in place by placing the sticks between the base of the awning pole and the tethering rope where it connects to the bucket handle. (We might add a lid to the buckets and a spring between the rope and handle. If you wanted to be fancy, you could cover the buckets with a burlap sack or another material.)
Full feature on Gary and Arlette's trailer in issue #70 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
Have you got a tip to share?
By Caroline Lacitinola
“A place for everything, everything in its place.” This Benjamin Franklin quote runs through my mind repeatedly as I walk from trailer to trailer in 105-degree heat, looking for clothes hangers to display t-shirts we will sell at an upcoming rally. Why can’t I seem to get this down? I have a coat rack with this saying on it. I write this saying down on my goal sheet. I know this saying is true and makes life so much easier, so why don’t I do it? I don’t have an answer for you, but I keep striving to make this true in my life.
Prepping for a rally is an old story but one I always reflect on when going through the process. Every camping trip, rally, road trip, or vacation has variables. Tomorrow, we leave for a rally 8 hours from our home. We are going without children. We are leaving the dog at home. Those two sentences take a lot of prep work out of this camping trip.
I am a list maker, and I find they are more and more necessary the older I become. I will remember for a moment, and if I don’t write it down at that moment, it may not make it to the event. I have lists for food, personal hygiene, our store, camping gear, dog needs, outfits, etc. WRITE IT DOWN – CHECK IT OFF!
Divide and conquer. If you have a camping partner, divide the responsibility of prepping for a trip. In our home, the lines are blurred, but Paul ensures the trailer is safe and ready for the road while I buy and pack and inventory supplies. The blurry lines sometimes result in things that don’t make it into the camper for an event, but after 15 years, we both realize that it wouldn’t be camping if we remembered everything! (Pillows are always a contender for not making it as we both prefer to bring our own, and they are last-minute additions as we run out of the house at o-dark-thirty.)
While reflecting on life, you never remember the times when everything went 100% as planned. You tell the stories of tires blowing, kids getting sick, luggage catching on fire, sleeping on a cot in a minivan, awning poles going through the side of a trailer, and many other crazy tales that come from doing life. So, when things don’t go as planned, take a deep breath, and remember that it will make a story to tell down the road.
This note is a glimpse into my scattered mind as I race around, getting ready for a rally. I did find the hangers. After looking in all the right places, storage shed, enclosed trailer, the last camp trailer we used at an event, back to the storage shed, back through the enclosed trailer, they were in the last place I looked. The other truck that we used at our previous event! Sure enough, the hangers were neatly boxed and ready to go in that truck. OH, DEAR!
Looking forward to hearing everyone’s stories around the firepit.
What do you make sure you don't leave home without? Comment below.
There has been an increase in stolen items recently at vintage trailer rallies. Most of the items were cut from the cables that were “securing” them in the wee hours of the morning. Theft and other crime are not something we have had to deal with over the 15 years we have been camping. Many of the ideas in this article are good measures to stay safe while camping in general, and focus on preventing the theft of your personal property. This is an excerpt from an article in Issue #62 of The Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
Part of the appeal of camping is the wholesome family atmosphere created when you get together with friends and meet new like-minded people. In the past 15 years, we have stayed at over 100 RV parks. Our kids grew up roaming the parks enjoying the park’s outdoor spaces without fear. I can only recall a couple of instances where anything was stolen. A recent weekend experience has caused me to rethink how we will camp in the future.
Crime on the Increase
While many types of crime can occur at an RV park, I want to focus this article on preventing theft while camping—the kind of camping we do at vintage trailer rallies. We are surrounded by friends and fellow trailerites (and the park’s long-term residents). I don’t believe that these people are a threat. It is more likely that the lawbreakers from outside the park are preying on trusting travelers.
Stop RV Park Theft
I have very little interest in catching or confronting thieves. I want to direct my energy to keep them away, slowing them down or scaring them off. If campers take personal responsibility to safeguard their possessions, thieves will not return if it is not easy pickens. High-dollar, high-demand e-bikes bring the best return for the lawbreakers. Bicycles, scooters, and motorbikes can be an easy ride or roll away. They bring quick, easy money and are worth the risk for the prowlers. Here are some ways to protect your toys and collectibles and play an active role in stopping thefts where you camp. Don’t let the fear of crime in RV parks keep you from having a great time. Camping is generally safe and a great way to get away from the daily grind.
Before you hit the road, do a little pre-planning.
Camping gear and toys can be a substantial investment. Should a theft occur, be prepared with the information you will need to report a theft or recoup your losses.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking precautions while camping will ensure that you do not become a victim. The park should be making reasonable efforts to protect their guests, but ultimately, they are not responsible for your losses. Here are some ideas to help prevent you from becoming a victim.
Bike Locks, Alarms, and Covers
(Use a combination of two or more.)
“It doesn’t do any good to report a theft. The cops won’t do anything.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you don’t report a crime because you think nothing will come of it, you facilitate the problem. Crime reports help direct future patrols and prevention and aid in returning your property to you if it is found. A police report may also be necessary for an insurance claim.
Be a part of the Solution
Tires are manufactured by bonding rubber to fabric plies and steel cords. Despite the anti-aging ingredients mixed into the rubber compounds, there is a realization that tires are perishable and a growing awareness that some tires (especially trailer tires) will age out before their treads will wear out.
For the most part, today's tires deliver more miles and years of service than ever before. In the 1970s, typical bias-ply tires lasted less than 20,000 miles and were only expected to be in service for about two years. In the 1980s, early radial ply tires offered a treadwear expectancy of about 40,000 miles during four years of service. By the turn of the century, many long-life radial tires extended treadwear to about 60,000 miles during four or more years of service. Passenger car and light truck tire technology and American driving conditions in the past resulted in tire treads wearing out before the rest of the tire aged. That may not always be true of today's even longer-lasting tires that are approaching 80,000 miles of treadwear.
How many years will tires last before aging out?
Unfortunately, it's impossible to predict when tires should be replaced based on their calendar age alone. Properly stored tires that are protected from the elements and not mounted on a wheel, age very slowly before they are mounted and put into service. In our experience, when tires are properly stored and cared for, most street tires have a useful life in service of between six to ten years. While part of that time is spent as the tire travels from the manufacturing plant to the manufacturer's distribution center, to the retailer and to you, the remainder is the time it spends on your vehicle.
"Environmental conditions like exposure to sunlight and coastal climates and poor storage and infrequent use accelerate the aging process. In ideal conditions, a tire may have a life expectancy that exceeds ten years from its date of manufacture. However, such conditions are rare. Aging may not exhibit any external indications and, since there is no non-destructive test to assess the serviceability of a tire, even an inspection carried out by a tire expert may not reveal the extent of any deterioration."
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and tire manufacturers are currently studying the many variables. Exposure to the elements (sun and atmospheric), regularity of use (frequent or only occasional), and the quality of care (maintaining proper inflation pressure, wheel alignment, etc.) will all influence the answer. So while tire life depends on the service conditions and the environment in which they operate, the difficult task remains how to identify all of the variables that influence a tire's calendar age and attempt to quantify their influence.
Should You Replace Old Tires Even if Their Treads Aren't Worn Out?
No one is sure of how long tires will last because of the many variables. Heavily loaded tires on vehicles stored outdoors in sunny, scorching hot climates and only driven occasionally face some of the most severe service conditions and potentially have the shortest calendar lifespan. In contrast, lightly loaded tires on vehicles parked in garages and driven daily in moderate climates experience some of the least severe service conditions and potentially have the longest lifespan.
There is the influence of how well drivers maintain their tires (regular cleaning and pressure checks and periodic rotations and wheel alignments). How they use and/or abuse them (drive on them when overloaded or underinflated) and the possibility of irreversible damage from punctures, cuts, and impacts with potholes, curbs, and other road hazards. A tire's original durability will be permanently compromised if uncared for, abused, or damaged.
Therefore every tire's life expectancy ultimately depends on the environment in which it operates and its individual service conditions. The difficult task remains how to attempt to quantify tire life based on calendar age. Arbitrarily replacing tires prematurely based simply on age may result in tires being discarded before their time, contributing to increased operating costs and waste disposal and recycling concerns.
Buy from a reputable dealer.
Since Tire Rack sells tires manufactured in North and South America and Europe, Africa, and Asia, it's common for us to receive new tires directly from manufacturers that are already six to nine months old. Since we rotate our inventory, most of the tires we ship are less than a year old.
There are also some occasions where we work with a tire manufacturer to help them clear out their inventory when they discontinue a tire line. While this may uncover some new tires that are several years old, these clearance tires are typically offered at a discount and will wear out before they age out.
Tires are stocked in Tire Rack distribution centers under favorable storage conditions. Protected from exposure to direct sunlight, moisture, and hot and cold temperature extremes, our inventory leads a sheltered life compared to the tires mounted on wheels, installed on vehicles and exposed to the elements, road grime, and brake dust.
Tire manufacturers' replacement tire warranties begin when the tires are purchased and typically last 4 to 6 years from that date. This allows the tire manufacturers' limited warranty to accommodate the time it takes tires to be shipped from the manufacturing plant to the warehouse or distribution center, to the retailer, to the consumer, and the time they spend in-service on the vehicle.
What is the best thing you can do to care for your tires?
Keeping tires properly inflated is probably the most significant action a driver can take to prevent tire failure. For example, driving a vehicle with a significantly underinflated tire can permanently damage the tire's internal structure in ways invisible to external visual inspections. A U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tire aging field study revealed that 30 percent of spare tires observed were significantly underinflated when first checked. Putting underinflated spare tires into service before properly inflating would greatly increase their risk of catastrophic tire failure. The inflation pressure of spare tires should be checked monthly along with the rest of the set.
Our experience has been that when properly stored and cared for, most street tires have a useful life in service of between six to ten years. And while part of that time is spent as the tire travels from the manufacturing plant to the manufacturer's distribution center, to the retailer, and to you, the remainder is the time it spends on your vehicle.
Share your experiences or other helpful information or questions in the comments.
This is an excerpt from an article by John Palmer in issue #59 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
Photos by Hal Thoms
The Vintage Trailer hobby is just over twenty years old. I have been active in the hobby for the past twelve years and have witnessed extensive growth. For example, we now have lots of vintage rallies to choose from attending within a day’s driving distance. In California this past month, we had three very large Vintage Rally’s scheduled on the same weekend! We now have The VCT print magazine, we have had T.V. shows about our hobby and vintage trailer rebuilding, we have our annual Boot Camp Learning Experience “sold out” each year, and companies are now opening that specialize in the restoration of vintage campertrailers. We have parts vendors that have invested their resources into the tooling necessary to build reproduction parts to help save our old trailers. Major insurance companies are developing special policies targeted to our specific vintage trailer insurance needs. You cannot watch a primetime T.V. show or a T.V. commercial without seeing a vintage trailer used as a prop in the background. Mainline R.V. companies have tried to jump on the vintage bandwagon by releasing modern versions of the old Vintage Trailer designs.
Anyone remotely watching this hobby has already seen the significant increase in prices for restorable camper trailers, only to find them already sold when you call. So, what are your options to just accepting the increase in cost and limited availability of core trailers to rebuild that are in popular camper sizes? How about building your own hand built vintage trailer? Read the intire article in issue #59 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine.
Click "Read More" below for more pictures.
Don't Spoil the Vintage Look with a Modern Fridge! Try an Energy Efficient Fridge Alternative
We can think of about a million things that we love about vintage trailers, but the original "ice box" food storage solution in our 1957 Sportcraft, was not one of them. Designed for a simpler time, we appreciate both the minimalism and the sweet, mid-century hardware on this poorly insulated aluminum box. But, the original ice-to-food-storage ratio just wasn't going to cut it for longer than a weekend, let alone full-time living.
During our 2011-12 remodel we considered a modern replacement -- 3-way fridge, 12V cooler, etc. We just couldn't find anything that would fit the space while keeping the vintage look and budget, and provide us with enough cold food storage. With our launch date to full-time living approaching and with no viable solutions on the horizon, we settled on a hasty compromise.
We used the vintage ice box inside Hamlet as a dry-goods storage space and kept all of our cold food in a cooler out in our pick-up truck bed. This forced us to stick with the tried and true habit of picking up 10 lbs of ice every 3 to 4 days. Planning ahead to avoid being somewhere far off-the-grid with a melting bag of cold water instead of a robust block of ice, just became part of our routine.
Call it procrastination, call it just settling in to the way we did things, but the constant draining and cleaning, the sweaty cheeses, the partially liquified lettuces, the trips to the store -- it all finally got the better of us. We needed a different solution that would allow us to store enough food without having to compromise our inside space or vintage esthetic. We were not alone. With all the folks transitioning to life on the road in RVs, vans, and vintage rigs, the 12V product options just keep opening up!
We settled on the ICECO VL45 Single Zone Portable Fridge Freezer, with its simple design, very reasonable price tag, efficient compressor, low-profile but durable handles, as the perfect solution for our situation. Many 12V fridge options were either too bulky, not powerful enough, too expensive, or simply too large for the allocated storage area. When your whole life fits into a 72 sq ft camper and the utility box of a truck, reallocating space is, well…complicated. Note: It's also perfect for those families who need extra fridge/freezer space beyond what they store inside their trailer.
We wanted to run our fridge off solar power to extend our boondocking adventures well beyond the lifespan of a block of ice. It also seemed like a wasted opportunity to not include an engine charging option into the mix, without draining the truck battery. The folks at Renogy thought so too, and created the Dual Input DC to DC Charger. We became aware of this product while installing a DC to DC charger between my parent's towing vehicle and RV and it really got us thinking.
This ingenious device takes an engine charge input (via the starting battery) as well as a solar panel input. It allows us to run a 12V fridge off of our 12V-50Ah Lithium Iron Phosphate battery and be able to charge it while driving, or with our portable 100W Folding Solar Suitcase while camping off-grid.
One extra feature of the Dual Input charger is that when connected to solar and the service battery is full, the charger will trickle charge the starting battery in the engine. So, no matter how far out we might be, or for how long, we won't be stuck with a dead starting battery.
The installation was pretty straightforward and can be done with minimal tools, as you can see in our step-by-step video. We had to design some vehicle specific solutions for mounting and securing components, but with the truck bed topper providing a water-resistant shelter much of the challenge for this installation was already solved.
Click on "Read More", (below) right for the rest of this article, a downloadable pdf, video product review and coupon codes.
Cooler weather is upon us, and putting your vintage trailer away for a few months may have made your honey-do list. Winter camping in warmer areas of the country may be possible, but most trailerites will put their trailer away for the winter. After hibernating for several months, putting your trailer back into service in the spring will have fewer unpleasant surprises if you follow these ten guidelines.
1. COVERED STORAGE
If possible, always store your vintage trailer under a cover. Keeping the elements off of the trailer will prevent many common issues caused by moisture. A canopy also blocks damage from hail, birds, and falling branches. Tarping a trailer may cause more harm than it prevents. A tarp can trap moisture and scuff or scratch the trailer's finish. If you are using a cover made for trailers, be sure it is designed to be used outdoors in the rain and/or snow.
2. WATER SYSTEM
Vintage trailers usually have a pretty simple water system consisting of a freshwater tank and possibly a small black and/or gray water holding tank. Even a simple water system can be severely damaged by freezing weather. Cracked pipes or tanks can be expensive and difficult to repair.
The basic steps: Turn off the water heater, drain and flush all tanks and pipes. (Open all of the faucets while draining to help drain completely.) Leave the faucets open to allow for expansion if any water is remaining in the system. If your trailer has been upgraded with a more modern design, you may have additional steps you should follow for your trailer. An RV antifreeze can be utilized for additional protection.
Mold and mildew will cause unwanted odors and health hazards. A dehumidifier used every couple of weeks (or as directed) or moisture absorbing material inside the RV will help reduce or eliminate the moisture that will cause damage. Some forums profess to leave a light on inside the trailer to produce a small amount of heat and "dry" the air. Stand your cushions up on their edge to allow for more circulation. Remove all bedding and clothing that may trap and retain moisture. Baking soda and sachets of coffee grounds will also help prevent or eliminate odors.
Remove all food and beverages from the trailer. Keep rodents from getting in the trailer. Fill any entry points (around pipes or exterior storage doors) with caulking or copper or steel wool. Some scents are thought to keep mice at bay and don't require adding chemicals or poisons to your vintage trailer; suggestions include peppermint oil, mothballs, pine needle spray, and dryer sheets. Poison can be used if you have an infestation. Use a brand that is non-toxic to humans and all non-rodent animals.Poison-free RatX Bait Discs work from the inside out to kill rats and mice with up to 90% less odor.
When disconnecting batteries, remove the negative cable first—store fully-charged batteries in a warm, dry spot. Larger systems with multiple batteries will have specific instructions for proper maintenance. It is usually better to keep these batteries installed in the trailer. You may still want to disconnect the negative battery cable. Check the battery charge level periodically, and recharge when necessary. If you are in need of a new battery, we highly recommend the reliable Duralast Gold Battery.
Covering your tires is a good idea in the summer and winter. For long-term storage, you may want to jack up the trailer to eliminate the chance of flat spots or deterioration from sitting in the dirt. While concrete is preferred to park on, Tri-Lynx Levelers will elevate the trailer tires and protect them from contact with the ground. You may even stow the tires and wheels separate from the trailer. Check the dates on your tires and replace them per the manufacturer's recommendations. When it comes time to replace your tires, we reccomend Tire Rack.
7. PROPANE TANKS
Turn the gas off to the trailer. In harsh winters, propane tanks should be removed (if stored outside of the trailer) and stored in a sheltered location—but never inside the RV. Cover the tank connection fittings with plastic bags and rubber bands to keep the insects from entering the lines.
Close all ceiling vents, check seals around exterior doors and windows, and re-caulk where needed. Wash and wax the exterior. Lubricate hinges, window cranks, and the hitch latch mechanism and jack.
Clean and DRY the awning. It is essential to make sure the awning fabric is completely dry to prevent molding. The same goes for pop-up or fold-out trailers with fabric or canvas siding. Prevent the smell of mildew and the damage that it and mold can cause.
Last but not least, if your trailer is stored in public storage or somewhere you cannot monitor it, remove any valuables. Any temptations for theft like TVs or other electronics or hunting and camping gear should not be left in the trailer. It may be a good idea to annually videotape your camper to have a record of its inventory and value. Update the value of the RV with a professional appraisal. Use a quality hitch lock and consider installing a GPS tracking system should your trailer be stolen.
Use the comments below to let us know what we missed? What else do you do to protect your vintage trailer?
When we renovated our 1957 Sportcraft into our full-time home in 2011-12, we installed a tiny solar powered system so that we could stay anywhere we wanted and still have electricity. Big RV Parks are just not where we wanted to spend our time, as we prefer much more remote wilderness settings where the campgrounds rarely provide hook-ups. It was the best decision we made, except for the big one of actually buying Hamlet and hitting the road! Our first system completely met our needs when we kicked off this lifeventure back in 2012. Since then, we have not only traveled the continent in our tiny can, but now run a small mobile business which helps others discover what we call #canlife! However, as our business grew, we realized that it was time for an upgrade.
Need help addding solar to your vintage trailer?
Check out the CampNation Expo
Now, what we think of as a “major solar power upgrade” is probably closer to what most folks might call a “starter system.” We like it small; we keep it small, and sustainable. Our previous system consisted of a 100W Portable Solar Suitcase which went through a PWM charge controller to a 50Ah LiFePo battery that powered a 700W inverter. We ran LED lights, a 12V vent fan, and charged up our portable electronics; it was all we really needed. But, with the new, more remote, demands of a mobile business, we needed to be able to collect and store more solar energy for those days when we dived into the digital nomad work from the road -- video production, online seminars, blogging, and more.
This past spring, while boondocking in a gorgeous part of the Arizona Sonoran desert, we upgraded our solar equipment. We swapped out every component with the exception of the inverter - which still meets our needs. Simply put..it has changed our life, making remote work much more feasible, and fun!
Our solar installation video goes over every aspect and step of this project on our vintage camper (including a specific list of parts, tools, and diagrams), but we’ll walk you through the components we have installed with a bit of commentary on how well they are working.
Can flexible solar panels pass the full-timers test?
Flexible solar panels have gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years that isn’t exactly fair. While some early designs had problems with overheating, those issues have been corrected in the design and manufacture. Any system installed on our vintage aluminum roof would need to live up to our full-timer lifestyle of driving around 16K miles per year, extreme weather & wind conditions, and constant use. After crossing the country from Arizona to Maine, and then boondocking for a seasonal gig on the coast, we’ve put this new system to the test! After 6 months, 4000 miles, and some extreme weather/wind conditions, not to mention some seriously bumpy roads, all the components still look like they were installed yesterday. (Click on the Read More link below to continue reading.)
When it comes to painting your trailer, there are no rules. You can do whatever you want. Vintage trailer paint jobs are as individual and diverse as their owners. There is a variety of ways to paint your trailer: exterior house paint, rattle cans, and automotive paint finishes. We have used all of these with good success. Most people who can paint a wall inside their house or spray a piece of lawn furniture with a spray can, are able to paint a trailer.
First, let me say, I do not consider myself a painter, but I have a lifetime of painting experience. As an 8-year-old kid, my mom handed me a paint roller, showed me my bedroom wall and said “paint it!” My Father was a career aircraft and auto body painter. His painting story began back in the 1950s when he painted his scooter with a hand-pump pesticide sprayer. He soon learned to paint with a professional spray gun, then went to work painting helicopters for Hiller aircraft. Back then they used lacquer and painted helicopters in an old dirt floor barn. When I was a kid, Pop sometimes took me along when he had to do overtime. He taught me how to spray paint when I was 6 years old. I grew up around automotive painting, helping my Dad. I painted high school hot rods, Harleys, and now, vintage trailers.
At Retroluxe, we use automotive paint to paint accent graphics and stripes, this is done onto new metal skin after we install it. We do it this way because most vintage trailers have been repainted at least once in their life. Older paint is usually not compatible with automotive finishes and paint prep work on a trailer can take weeks. Preparation is the key to a good paint job. Beautiful paint over a poorly prepped surface is usually an expensive wasted effort, and yes, I have had my share of these kinds of lessons.
With automotive paint, there a couple ways to get it done: single-stage enamel, base coat clear\ coat, and rattle cans. Keep in mind the better quality of paint used, the better the outcome will be as long as proper instruction and technique is used. As with all good paint jobs, the surface should be sanded and primed. If we are painting over a known good surface like new white aluminum skin, we use a scotch pad to break the glaze. This gives the new paint the ability to adhere to the surface.
All automotive paints used today are catalyzed, they require accurate mixing of two or more components before application. Automotive paints dry slowly. If a spray booth is unavailable, you need a clean location away from things like dust, bugs, and other vehicles that could be damaged by airborne over-spray. Base coat\clear is a two-part process, that can be challenging for someone not familiar with using automotive finishes. First, using a good quality spray gun, apply the desired color in multiple coats until the desired area is evenly covered. The second step is to paint over the color coat with usually two coats of clear. Boot Camp offers a course on painting your trailer if you want to see and learn from a pro.
Painting with single-stage enamel is easier than two-stage as it requires fewer steps. Just mix the components, spray, and wait a day or so until completely dry. However, if more than one color is to be used, base coat\clear would be better as the base coat part of the process dries quickly and is easy to apply multiple colors.
Spray cans are a quick, cheap, and easy way to get something painted. They are best if used on small areas to be painted. Low-quality paint used in rattle cans (spray cans) is usually evident in fading color or disappearing shine in a short time.
On occasion we have been called upon to use house paint. It is super easy to choose your color and to apply the paint. House paint can be brushed, roller or sprayed. We found that spraying house paint produces the best finish. House paint requires the least amount of prep, it will stick to most clean surfaces, lasts for years, and can be easily touched up. Issue #51 of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine several different methods people used to paint their own trailers. You can pick up a printed copy of this issue or the entire 2020 year in digital format.
When choosing the best way to paint your trailer consider how it will be used. Will the trailer be used for rough dirt camping, vintage trailer shows and rallies or road trips? Your trailer’s outward appearance and its first impression, is largely based on your paint job, make it a good one.
Women that are vintage trailering and running with their passions at work and at play.
NAME: Hannah Weber
TITLE: Owner/Boss Lady
COMPANY NAME: Hannah's Granny Crafts
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 4 years officially - However, I started selling in the 3rd grade
WEBSITE URL: hannahsgrannycrafts.com
Tell us about your business.
My business is centered around handmade crochet products. I focus on baby items and home decor. My target audience is the busy woman looking to gift high-quality, handcrafted products effortlessly.
What does being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
Being a business owner means the absolute world to me. It means I can build a life of my dreams. A life of financial independence, flexibility to make my own schedule, and the ability to make my own rules. It means I will be able to stay home with my future children while also running a business.
What or who has been your most significant influence in business and why?
My mom is the most amazing influence in my business. A considerable part of the reason I was so willing to jump into the life of entrepreneurship is that my mom owns several businesses in our small hometown, and I have grown up right in the heart of those businesses. I have seen the pros and cons of being a businesswoman, and I know that, for me, the pros outshine the cons in SO many ways. From a very young age, I have known that I wanted to be my own boss, and my mom has played a huge role in helping me achieve that goal - for instance, allowing me to sell some of my products in her gift shop starting in just the 3rd grade.
Another huge influence in my life is my grandma - "Grammy." Both women have overcome considerable obstacles in life and have used hard work and perseverance to overcome these obstacles. Grammy is such a massive influence in my life I based the branding of my business around her.
What is the best advice you can pass on to others?
If you are looking to start a business, just feel like it isn't the right time or just aren't "ready enough" - JUST START. Start anywhere. Even the most minor steps can make a HUGE difference. It will never be a perfect time, and I hate to break it to you; you will never feel prepared. This feeling never goes away in the journey of business owning, but it is worth every moment of uncertainty. This might sound stupid, but my greatest accomplishment is simply starting the business. It is scary and overwhelming, and it's a huge accomplishment to put your whole heart and soul out to the world.
Even those not interested in business owning, remember to SHOP SMALL!
What have been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Showing up. Simple as that. I mostly use Instagram and Facebook to market my business. Consistency is key. Show up for your audience - in stories, posts, everywhere possible. It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be planned - just show up.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
It sounds cliche, but your failures are not as detrimental as they seem "in the moment." You will move on from them, and some of your greatest successes will come out of your biggest failures. I have come to love failure (ok, not LOVE it, but appreciate it) because it only helps me improve in the long run.
Do you have any new projects coming up?
I don't have any huge projects coming up at the moment. I am focusing more on perfecting some of the smaller "behind the scenes" mechanics of my business to get things running just a little smoother :)
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
We are lucky enough to live in the center of Montana, surrounded by mountains. My favorite way to spend the weekends is in the mountains in my camper, my boyfriend and the dogs. I can crochet and take in the fresh mountain air - nothing better! I also love to hunt, which is so accessible to us because of where we live. We are truly blessed!
What is the number one business goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
My number one goal for 2021 is expanding the amount of in-store places Hannah's Granny Crafts items are sold around the state and possibly beyond!
What would your book be about if you were to write one?
The adventures you can find in small-town Montana while running a business from it. I live in a town of 300-ish people, and I think many people think it's "boring." It is the farthest thing from that, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
What is the best way to connect with you?
I am most active on my Instagram account - @hannahsgrannycrafts. I am also on Facebook as Hannah's Granny Crafts, and you can check out my website hannahsgrannycrafts.com to find out more and look at items to purchase! So with that, I'll leave you with "Good Going" - a phrase Grammy says to me often. It means, "good luck, I'm in your corner rooting for you."
THE VINTAGE CAMPER TRAILERS MAGAZINE BLOG
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