If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at B3 Glass, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city.
This week, we’re joined by Mandy Ward of Hunt This. Hunt This is an outdoor-themed apperal business ran by Mandy and her husband, Don Ward. What’s exciting about this interview is that Hunt This is the youngest business we’ve ever featured on “Small Business” Fridays, at only a little over a month old at the time of this publication! When you’re in the infancy of a business a lot of your time and energy is spent developing the identity of your brand and spreading the word about who you are, so for AAT to be a part of that at such an early stage is very honoring!
So, thank you for the opportunity to be joined by you this week, Mandy. Before we talk about some specifics of Hunt This, can you please share with us a little about yourself? “I was born in a small town in Southern Idaho; when I say small town, I mean a population of two-hundred with one stop sign! Once I graduated, I got thrown out into the big world by joining the army. Being in the army took me to Washington DC, so I got to experience going from tiny town USA to a big city, which was a bit of a culture shock. However, with my ex-husband being a cowboy and me being in the military, I’ve had to adapt very easily because we’ve had to move so much; we literally went from place to place every six months to a year. We even lived in Russia for eighteen months. It was all very interesting!”
“Eventually, we wound up in Elko after originally coming here for my ex-husband’s job. I had been to Elko before the move because I was in sales and a lot of my sales conventions were here, but that was twenty years ago. Elko was a lot different back then, so when he first suggested we move to Elko I said, nope! We drove down to look, and I realized the town had changed in twenty years, and it wasn’t so bad. We settled here in 2015, and since then I have started two businesses, the most recent being Hunt This which I operate out of my home in Spring Creek, along with my husband and children.”
Great, thank you for sharing Mandy! Now, let’s talk about Hunt This; with it being such a new business, please explain to the readers what it is and how your first month of action has gone! “Hunt This became official on the first of December, so it is an extremely new business. We’re a hunting, fishing, and outdoor apparel company. We do hats, hoodies, and T-shirts, and eventually, we’ll branch into backpacks and those types of items. We do a lot of giveaways with car decals and things like that, and already, in a month’s time, we’re seeing the brand pop up around town! We also just sent vinyl decals to New Zealand and Germany, so Hunt This has officially gone international! It’s gone well, so far! We’re on our third round of ordering inventory after just one month, and it always makes you feel good when you see people out wearing and promoting your product.”
It sounds like you and your family are off to a great start! What have been some of the exciting aspects, for you, when it comes to starting a new business, and what are you looking forward to next? “We talked about doing Hunt This for about six months before we started. I was coming off doing another business, and I just wasn’t sure. However, the people we talked about it with told us how great the logo and idea were, and they started getting excited about it. When we finally got our product line up and going, people were jumping all over it asking how they could get a hat or decal, and I fed off that excitement. Keeping that momentum going is what I’m what I’m looking forward to. Our official debut, actually out in the community, will be at the Sportsman’s Expo on March second and third, and I’m very excited about that as well! I’m excited to see what this year holds; when you start a business, usually the first year is when you either make it or break it, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed!”
Most likely, when you’re building a new brand off the ground, there’s going practical things to be worked through and figured out. What’s been something Hunt This has already had to process? “We do want to support other businesses that are local when it comes to the embellishment of our products and that type of work. However, because we have limited options here, the turnaround time can seem a bit long. That’s been a challenge for us because we want to keep our customers happy while at the same time, we do want to keep our work as local as possible and support the other businesses in the area, but we always appreciate and are receptive to any ideas and suggestions people might have!”
Finally, has the community supported and responded to the business well so far, in your opinion, Mandy? “The support the community gives small businesses is incredible, and it’s amazing how the community will embrace you. We’ve been very fortunate in that aspect. Coming from a small town (as Mandy did) you can get used to the comradery with other people. However, in my adult life, I’ve either lived in big cities or moved so much that I didn’t have time to develop those relationships with people. However, we’re going on four years in the Elko/Spring Creek community, so I’ve had time to develop those relationships; that has meant a lot to me because it brings me back to that “hometown” feeling where people do care about you and want to get to know you. The people here envelop you in goodness, and hopefully, Elko doesn’t lose that quality about itself.”
If you would like to check out Hunt This’ merchandise or learn more about the brand, you can visit them on Facebook and Instagram!
You can also email Mandy at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can stay caught up on everything going on around here at AAT by checking out our “Stay Connected” page! Make sure you never miss a feature!
See you around, Elko!