Alright, we’re finally on the final feature of the Inspired series! Over the past 4 weeks, I’ve been able to sit down with just a few of the many amazing boss babes in my life, interview them about their journeys, and capture some fun pictures of them doing their thing. I’ll link all of the previous posts at the bottom of this blog post in case you want to check them out after reading Helena’s post.
This week I had the pleasure of featuring two wonderful ladies to close out the series. Thursday I posted Hannah’s session that we did at Taylor Brooks Salon in Hamilton Mill (where she works as a hairstylist) and got to share her story of pursuing that dream. And today I get to finally share Helena’s post!
Helena Dale is the owner of H+H Homestead, a monthly barn sale in Jefferson, GA. I found out about Helena’s barn sales, goodness…4ish years ago now from my favorite college professor Amy Farah. I’ll be honest- the first time I made the trek out to one of the barn sales, I was so overwhelmed by the amazing selection of cool, farmhousy, vintagey junk that I wasn’t sure whether I should tell everyone I knew or keep it as a secret. Well, y’all know I had to spread the word, and I think everybody else who loves H+H Homestead as much as I do did, too, because Helena has almost 30,000 RSVPs on the Facebook event for her Spring Fling Barn Sale and Vendor Market! (More on that later…)
I’ve gotten to know Helena over the years through chatting at the barn sales and following each other on Instagram, and she is just one of those people who is a blessing to know. She is warm and welcoming, always greeting new and returning guests at the barn sales. She has the best taste (in curating her own goods and also selecting the vendors she works with throughout the year), and she is savvy in the way she runs her business. But I think what’s best about Helena is that she is such an authentic person and has been able to create something really unique and special because of that.
As with the other posts in this series, my questions and comments are in bold.
Why don’t you start off my introducing yourself and telling us a little about what you do and how you got started with that.
Thank you for having me! I’m very honored that you chose me for one of your guests. Basically I started in 2013 in my backyard. My family business is metal recycling, which is where I worked. It kind of started out as just my own personal collection. I would just bring things in. There would be some outdoor furniture that would come in, I’d bring it home, and after a year I had a pretty good collection- more than what I needed personally- so I thought one day that I would just have a barn sale. So I did, it went very well. Out of your backyard? Out of my backyard, yes. It went very well. It actually snowed. It was in March, and it was one of those freak cold weekends. I did not have Facebook, nothing. My sister-in-law had a business several years prior to that who had an old fashioned customer list to mail out flyers. So I took her customer list, just mailed out some flyers, and it was really good. We had a really good weekend. I stayed there for about a year and then we moved to my current location in 2014, and I’ve been here ever since. So I would definitely say that my father is pretty much the inspiration behind what I do, simply because of his business which was metal recycling, Jones Auto Parts. So I pretty much have carried on the tradition of that business just in my way of carrying on the business. I’m very thankful for all he has taught me. It’s definitely guided me and given me a direction of what I needed to do. He passed away, so he has not seen any of what I have done with my business, but I know that he is proud of what I have done. And he is part of where the name H+H Homestead comes from, right? Yes, he is. Of course, the first H is myself, Helena. And then the other H stands for him; his name was Hugh. And then the homestead actually represents my mother. She kinda instills home for me and pretty much, I guess you could say, brings truth to the phrase “There’s no place like home.”
So if you were to sum up in a couple of sentences what exactly you do, how would you describe it?
Well, it’s funny you ask because I am asked all the time what is a barn sale. So how I describe it to someone is that I host monthly sales where I sell a little bit of everything, old and new. Of course my favorite part of the business is all of the good, rusty junk that I gather and collect each month for the sales. But I have a lot more than just that. We focus a lot on local artisans. We have handmade jewelry. We have paintings from local artists. We have a lot of wood makings, a lot of local artists who come in and bring stuff, and vintage. We’ve added a lot to what we do other than just our outside, typical stuff that we used to sell. So it has grown a lot. We basically have a little bit of everything.
So even though you have what I think a lot of us would consider a dream job, I know there are those times when it’s not all that glamorous, so what keeps you going and motivates you during those times?
I guess it would be my passion for this business. I definitely stumbled upon it accidentally. I do have a love for decorating, gardening, so I love to stage and I love to get ready for my shows. I love to plan for something new. In between each show, I am constantly thinking of things I can do better or things that I can change to make it new and different and fresh for the next month for all the customers. We do have a lot of repeat customers that come every month, so I like for them to see something new and something different each time. So I guess it would just be that. I always set goals for myself each month. I never just settle, so it’s just the passion. It’s just my passion.
So you’ve been doing this now since 2013? Yes. What encouragement would you offer to other women out there pursuing a dream of their own?
I guess first of all to let everyone know that there is never a dream that is too small or too large to accomplish. All dreams, to me, are worth achieving. Secondly, would be not to think that it all has to be perfect to be successful. A lot of times people confuse perfection and success. Speaking for myself, when I started this business, it was in a barn in my backyard. No heat, no air. You don’t have to have a perfect building, you don’t have to have a perfect logo. I still don’t have a logo (laughs). So you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have the fantasy business that a lot of people might think you have to have. You don’t. You start with what you know, and you perfect that. You make that work, and then you go to the next level and just really work hard. My dad had a very strong work ethic, so I am a firm believer that if you put your heart into it and give it 100% it will work for you. But you have to find what works for you and not look at everything else out there and mistake all of that prettiness for success because a lot of times that is not what success is.
Okay, why don’t you give a shout-out to a woman or two out there who inspires you, either in your area of business or something completely different.
That’s a hard question, but I would honestly just have to say my mother. She has always helped my father with his business, so I grew up in a small business family. And with her she was always present and always there. She always supported my brother and myself in anything that we did, and I feel like that is a huge part of business, to have the support of your loved ones, whether it’s a spouse or your children or a partner, to always have that support. And I feel like my mother instilled a lot of that in us. You know, when you’re growing up you don’t really appreciate when someone is always present in your life, but as you get older and you look back, you know. Well, my mom was there for every field trip, or my mom was there to pick me up from school. My mom was there at every sporting event that I ever did. And I just think having that support and love is a big part of your confidence when you are trying to start anything new or when things do get tough and you have someone there beside you rooting for you.
Okay, so in addition to your monthly barn sales, you also do a really big event twice a year that is a vendor market. I always describe it as a smaller, well-curated Yellow Daisy Festival type event. So, why don’t you tell us about your vendor markets?
Yes, that is something else that kind of came on down the line, after doing my barn sales. I decided a few years ago that I would get a couple of friends that made things and we would just pop up some tents outside the barn and have a little small weekend- well actually, my first one was just a one day show. So we did. I actually only had about 12 vendors. I was scared to promote it because I didn’t know if anyone would come or if anyone would like it so I actually was scared to advertise for it. So I didn’t do a whole lot, but it was very good for what we did. And it grew from there. The next year we had 40 vendors. Now we’re at 80. I cap it off at 80. We’re only on 2 acres here so I’m pretty much maxed out at 80. But it is amazing. It is now a 3 day show. We have thousands of people that come from all over the surrounding states. I know at our last Christmas show we had folks- that we know of- from Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina come and show up. They always chat with the parking attendants and they kind of give me feedback of what’s going on outside at the parking lot. So I was very flattered and honored that we had that. But I do this twice a year. We do one in spring, which is in May, and then we do our second one in November, and that’s our Christmas market. We have live music, we have food trucks, we have 80 vendors. It is a juried event, which means that I hand-select the vendors to come into the show, so you’re not automatically a part of the show. And the reason that I do that is because I want to have a variety. I want a little bit for everyone that comes. I don’t want 10 crafters that make soap or candles because that’s not good for anyone. So I like to select my vendors so that I know I’ve got a good selection for the shoppers to come. We have free shuttle service, free parking, and it’s free admission as well, and we do it over a 3 day weekend. And the spring one is coming up, May 3rd-5th. I always do it the weekend before Mothers Day.
Didn’t you just love what Helena had to say about not confusing perfection with success and how no dream is too big or too small to pursue? Those were my two big takeaways. I hope you enjoyed her interview and that you’ll come check out one of her upcoming barn sales or vendor markets!
The next barn sale is March 15-17, and the Spring Fling Barn Sale and Vendor Market is May 3-5 (Facebook event linked here). I’ll be making an appearance at both sometime during the weekend.
If you want to keep in touch with Helena and get all the details about her upcoming events (she also sometimes does pre-sales on her social accounts), you can follow her on Instagram at @h_hhomestead by clicking here and on Facebook by clicking here.
To those of you who have followed this series, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your support! It was such a blessing getting to pour some creative energies into these interviews and sessions over the past month, and I will definitely be hosting more themed series in the future (especially ones that give me an opportunity to love on some of my favorite people). I’m including links to all the past blog posts for the Inspired series in the space below. And lastly- if you haven’t already, hop on over to my Instagram account and enter the giveaway for International Womens Day! I moved it to a regular old “follow, like, and comment” IG post because I think the story idea was a little new/confusing.
Inspired Series Week 1: Meagan Henry of M7
Inspired Series Week 2: Donna Piper of Toggensuds
Inspired Series Week 3: Demi Johnson of Demi Digitals Photography
Inspired Series Week 4: Hannah Haynes of Taylor Brooks Salon