This summer we are thrilled to feature some local moms who are thinking outside the box and making a difference in our community through the businesses they own, organizations they are involved with, and work they do. Check out the rest of the series and read profiles from previous years here.
My name is Emily Hanna and I am owner of Hanna Valley Protein. We have a family of four – including my husband, Brett, and two kiddos Mack and Dorothy. Brett is also a small business owner who specializes in custom cabinetry (www.hannawoodco.com). As an entrepreneurial family, our kids are a part of our journeys every step of the way. When not focusing on our businesses, we love being outdoors every chance we get. We love to travel and much of our time is spent hiking, biking, and camping.
What do you consider the biggest challenge of motherhood to be?
My biggest challenge in motherhood is trying to find a balance that I’m convinced doesn’t exist. I’m learning to focus on being present in all things and having grace for myself.
Experiencing Mack and Dorothy growing into amazing little people that I have no doubt, will change the world.
Hanna Valley Protein became a business in 2019 but was a part of our lives for years before doing so. In 2015 I was in a a great deal of pain. From my fingers locking up, my toes becoming numb, not being able to turn my head or sleep because of the pain, to finding a tumor in my eye, it was a very dark time in my life and no one could find any answers. When my vision started to go in my left eye my doctor ran some additional testing. I ended up learning what Lupus was on that day. It would take three months for an appointment with a rheumatologist and I felt completely hopeless. The ophthalmologist also found a tumor in my eye that day.
I went home and did the only thing I could think to do – I started looking up documentaries related to health on Netflix. I started with Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, then went onto Forks Over Knives. The healing people were achieving through nutrition gave me hope.
I began by going through things we used daily, from switching to cast-iron pots and pans, and changing out our cleaning products. When I looked at the protein powder my husband was using and started researching ingredients, I couldn’t believe what he was consuming was even allowed to be sold! He was game for trying something new but when trying to find an alternative, I couldn’t find anything that was whole foods, and didn’t contain whey, grains, gums, or stevia. Not to mention, was even close to affordable.
I began experimenting with different plant-based foods to create a protein powder he could use, as well as our entire family. During this time, I continuously prayed I would be able to use my experience to help others while also being able to provide for my family. In 2019 we decided to begin selling at the Des Moines Farmers Market. It was a success and we became fully licensed to sell retail in January 2020. I love being able to provide a quality product while also giving hope to others.
What’s the best part about being your own boss?
Time and freedom! While I work harder than I ever have, I love that it is on my own terms.
What’s the hardest part about running your own business?
There’s no road map. It’s a lot of learning and trial and error, which can be difficult at times.
What advice do you have for moms who want to start a business?
Do that “thing”! There will never be the right time or the perfect moment. Do what you can with what you have and believe in yourself.
What do you wish you knew when you started?
It doesn’t have to be perfect and everything doesn’t have to be figured out to start. This paralyzed me and I almost didn’t chase my dreams because of it.
What do you love about raising a family in Des Moines?
I love this city! There is so much to do and it is full of a great community of people.
Favorite local restaurant: Malo
Best place to take kids: There are so many great parks – we love Raccoon River.
Favorite summer activity: Biking – the trail system is awesome in Des Moines.
What’s the last show you watched, thing you listened to, or book you read? Girl Wash Your Face is the last book I read and I love the Podcast How I Built This
How/where do you relax? By escaping into nature with my family.
If your life had a hashtag, what would it be? #unstoppable
Connect with Emily
Know a Des Moines mom we should feature? Let us know! Email [email protected] with details and we will be in touch.