What started as a hobby for a young Boy Scout member has evolved into a sustainable side business for Agriculture Educator, Austin Hanna.
***This article originally appeared on our Fall Ranch House Journal. Never miss another western heritage business feature, subscribe to the magazine, here.***
Growing up, we all have hobbies we enjoy participating in. Aside from Austin’s agricultural-related interests, it was his involvement in Boy Scouts that led him to beading. After years of being away from the hobby, he revisited the skill during college, which ultimately led to the creation of Lazy H Beadwork.
While working toward his Master’s at Sam Houston State University, Austin rediscovered his knack for beading. “I was working for Cavender’s Boot City in Conroe,” he said. “I made a few pieces for my coworkers and it slowly started taking off from there.”
But, Lazy H Beadwork didn’t come into existence over night. Austin had to retrain himself on how to bead. Fortunately, he was able to draw upon his Boy Scout experiences. “The Indian Lore Merit Badge was about making Native American regalia like moccasins, chokers, breastplates, and using a bead loom was a part of the merit badge,” said Austin.
This prior knowledge, coupled with countless hours watching YouTube videos and many trial and error experiments led Austin to rediscover and hone his talent for beading. He laughs as he recounts the day he decided it was time to name his beadwork business.
“Some of my coworkers and I were discussing names I could use. I had been doing research into what other beadworkers called their businesses too,” he said. “I started rattling off various brands like Bar H, Rocking H, and I said Lazy H and everyone got quiet and said, That’s it! in unison. With my can’t rush perfection personality, it kind of stuck.”
Since naming his business, Austin has created many beautiful custom pieces for clients. One creation that sticks out in particular was a show cattle harness. He recalls discussing with a friend items he could create to set Lazy H Beadwork apart from other craftsmen and women. “At first when we talked about the harness we weren’t even sure if it was possible to do,” said Austin.
When the harness for Kenko Miniature Herefords was finally completed, he was overjoyed with the final product. “Seeing that first one done and being worn was an awesome feeling,” said Austin.
For the most part, his beadwork business remains a one man show. He employs his sister on occasion to assist with marketing efforts and he turns to friends Chris and Stephanie Jones of Rodeo Ready Leatherwork when he needs belts or other leather items tooled. But, when it comes to the beading, he’s the sole artist, which is why, for the time being, he only takes custom orders.
In the future however, Austin admits he would like to create more ready made pieces. He would also like to expand the business by dabbling more in leatherwork. “I would like to see it become a business known for producing quality handmade products and eventually get more into the leather-working side, like tooling,” he said.
He accredits Ranch House to helping him expand, nurture and develop his business through the production of exceptional marketing materials like the Lazy H Beadwork logo and Facebook graphics. “Ranch house been amazing in the fact that it gives me peace of mind that what I get will be high quality and I can focus on my side of things,” said Austin.
For future beadworkers, he offers this bit of advice, “Practice practice practice. You are going to make mistakes, but that’s how you learn. It takes time and don’t get discouraged, Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
To learn more about Lazy H Beadwork or to place a custom order visit them on Facebook, www.facebook.com/lazyhbeadwork/.