About Hankettes Hand-Made Natural & Organic Products
Following is a blurb I wrote in November 2008:
Our eco friendly cottage business reflects our personal philosophy of sustainability, enjoyable and rewarding work. Our product line continues to grow, always with the idea of replacing standard disposable products with reusable organic cotton ones. We started in our Vancouver, BC attic in 1996 making reusable boxes of washable organic cotton handkerchiefs. We had a baby and toddler at the time. A year later the biz moved into the basement because our family was growing and so was our business “baby” (and product line). We don’t want to “get rich” in the traditional sense. We want to put food on the table, pay our bills, have a roof (and walls and heat), clothe our family and enjoy a holiday now and then. Wealth is measured in the simple and full life we have created for ourselves and the quality products we offer our valued customers.
In 2001 Rob and I decided it was time to move to our rural co-op acreage on the Sunshine Coast of BC. Our 2 kids were then ages 6 and 9. We were tired of the city and Rob wanted a change after 23 years in radio. We had been camping for holidays on the land for several years, and had a holiday trailer with a “living room” attached, as well as a cabin we had moved on in 1999.
It was a scary move! We wondered several times if maybe we were crazy. No full time job and a tiny business to support us. Yikes! The four of us, 2 cats, 2 fish tanks and our foosball table lived in our 350 square foot cabin while we built our house. That year we gave ourselves hot water for Christmas and had a small “Charlie Brown” tree the kids decorated with lego. We moved a semi trailer onto our alder covered land and I started the business back up in it after a few weeks of house building. Rob continued building (with much help by experienced builders) while I worked the business, home schooled the kids, started a garden on the poor soil, and helped build where I could.
Hankettes still operates out of the trailer, but a few years ago we converted our original “living room” which is near the Hankettes trailer to extra workspace. We also added a very simple composting toilet by moving our original outhouse and attaching it to the building, with a bucket and much cedar sawdust. I also have a home office, as does Rob.
Our wonderful sewing staff is treated fairly and enjoys flexible hours. Jes is production manager and chief sewer, my right hand woman and great friend. Lynda, a wonderful friend who I first met when we lived in Vancouver, is truly a fabulous sewer and does much costume work for local theatrical productions. Gail, who came to us through Jes, is our main hanky sewer and major inspiration on horse tips and getting chickens. Our daughter Sarah now works a couple of two hour shifts a week doing packaging. Our son Johno doesn’t have a regular shift, but when we are in a time crunch he is always willing to help. Rob does all the bookwork and shipping. I do some cut and sew and all the silk screening, but mostly my time is spent with customer service and sales.
We, as a family, are avid life learners. The kids have always been home schooled and are wonderful people who we love to spend time with. We grow a lot of our own food (the garden soil has improved lots, yay!), I love to can and freeze, and we barter for what we can. We now have 2 horses, and plan to get a few chickens for eggs (the kids and I are vegetarian) in the next few months. To conserve fossil fuel, we combine our driving trips off the property for groceries, etc with our twice weekly trips to the post office to ship product. Our business truly reflects our lives and enhances the lives of our environmentally conscious customers around the world who purchase our natural based products.
I think that about sums it up!
Lesley Roberts, Hankettes Founder
Hankettes natural organic cotton products are a non-toxic earth-friendly alternative to disposable paper products. There are no pesticides, chemicals or other pollutants used in the growing and milling of organic cotton, and Hankettes products are reusable, saving you money while saving our environment.
Hankettes... The natural organic choice for your healthy home, body, and planet!