Interview with a Maker - Dawn Hart of Hart Mercantile
From the first time we met Dawn we were inspired by her incredible work ethic and impeccable eye for finding amazing treasures in all things vintage! One look at her booth at a Market or items in a store and you are drawn into her world immediately!
Dawn Hart - Hart Mercantile
What do you Make/ what is your business all about?
We curate mostly authentic vintage items that we buy ourselves for our markets and retail spaces. We especially love farmhouse and industrial with a teeny bit of cottage thrown in. Isaac works with wood and you can usually find some of his handcrafted work in our spaces. We also team up with a local metal worker to bring our customers some pretty awesome metal decor pieces.
How did you get started?
Isaac and I always enjoyed auctions and antique malls, even while we were dating we would spend our time in those places. Isaac started building some really cool pieces out of reclaimed materials and was giving them to people. I remember telling him, “if you’re gonna keep making this stuff, we should prob start selling it” With the help of a friend-who gave us an opportunity to vend at her market-We Hart Junk (our original name before changing to Hart Mercantile) was born.
What's your biggest SUCCESS this far?
For me, it was leaving my career to work this business full time. After four years of doing the part time hustle, I left my job and turned Hart Mercantile into a full time business. It’s a ton of hard work (the hardest I have ever worked), but making the jump from part time hustle to full time business owner has been successful!
What's your biggest Failure?
I think it’s “balance” and finding a good way to balance all the work (there is so much) with other important things. Unfortunately, these last few years, I haven’t been able to fit in much more than Hart Mercantile and family obligations. There just hasn’t been room for much else.
What do you love the most about making/your business?
I love all the people I have met and built relationships with. Without Hart Mercantile, I probably would have never met Heidi from Rekindled. At the beginning of this business, I didn’t understand the greatness of the impact of connecting with like minded people - and how many new friendships I would make. It’s really the biggest surprise and also the biggest blessing.
What is your business Super Strength?
I asked my husband Isaac this one. He said it’s my customer service - the way I connect with and interact with customers. I grew up as a granddaughter and daughter of small business owners. My grandparents and parents are/were the four nicest and kindest people I have ever known. They cared about their customers deeply. I grew up around that and i think I learned that from them.
What advice do you have to those makers/ entrepreneurs afraid to take the next step?
Be organized. Connect with other makers. Find a mentor. Expect failures. Work hard. Then work even harder.
What is your spirit animal and why?
I had to take a quiz about what my spirit animal is because I have never had to answer that question! One of my results said “cat” because of independence and stubbornness. The other result said “canine” because of my loyalty to my small social circle, or pack. Both of those sound pretty accurate to me!