Welcome to another Flourish Friday!
If you’re new to How I Flourish in Des Moines, this blog series shares the stories of local women in business. Get ready to learn more about these passionate women, how they started businesses in the Des Moines area, and advice they have to share.
Today local graphic designer and fitness advocate Claire Richmond is taking us behind the scenes of her empowerment-focused brand, Hello and High Five. Read on to learn how Claire’s personal health journey shaped her business from the start.
Introducing Claire Richmond and Hello and High Five
1. What is your business, and what do you do?
Hello and High Five is a brand transforming the way we send high fives and empowering females in fitness. I am a runner, a running coach and a graphic designer. I started HAH5 because I was sick with a devastating rare disease, which forced me to drop out of marathon training. After 27 days in the hospital in a five-month period, I was weak, tired and had lost my full-time job. I discovered I have acute intermittent porphyria, a disease for which there is no cure and requires regular infusions of an enzyme my body does not efficiently produce. I knew my life was going to look a lot different, and I wasn’t sure if my health would be stable enough to work full-time. HAH5 allowed me an opportunity to stay connected with the running community, and to support my running buddies in new ways.
I design HAH5 greeting cards for all my fitness friends, including collections for runners, cyclists and yogis. However, our organization is more than greeting cards, we’re about creating a sense of community through partnerships with other businesses, giving high fives at fitness-related community events and giving women a voice on our online platforms. Our blog and social channels create a safe space for females in fitness. We love to post about anything from running tips to interviews with athletes, and opportunities to get real about issues, such as body image and mental health.
2. How long have you been in business?
I started my business from my couch in the spring of 2016. My first greeting card depicted a T-Rex chasing a runner, with a caption reading: Keep Running. I designed it as a joke for a friend, who was continuing to train for the race from which I dropped out. I posted about it on social media, and almost instantly I received messages asking where the card could be purchased. I browsed online for running cards, but couldn’t find any that adequately communicated the good luck messages I desired. So I designed a few more and created an Etsy site. Hello And High Five was born!
3. What sparked your interest in becoming a small business owner?
Honestly, owning a small business was never part of my plan. I had an idea to provide a new kind of support for athletes, but it wasn’t until I was in a place in my life where I literally had nothing left to lose that I went for it. When I had the chance to slow down and think about it, I realized a line of fitness-focused greeting cards would allow me to connect the dots between running, coaching and graphic design.
4. What gap does your business fill?
HAH5 provides uniquely designed cards for sending to friends who are training for athletic events. It also works to create a culture of cheering, inspiring and giving high fives!
5. What do you enjoy most about operating a business in the Des Moines metro?
I enjoy plenty of aspects about operating a business in the Des Moines metro, but what I enjoy the most is probably the collaborative spirit. There are so many girl bosses I’ve met on this journey and I have never felt like any of them wanted to do anything but help me along. Case in point, I work with Rachel Peterson Social for my Facebook and Instagram channels because I knew her from the running community. Rachel wanted to start her business about the time I was looking to take my brands on social media, so we got started right about the same time.
6. What is the best business-related advice you’ve received?
Add value to the lives of your customers, focus on their interests and then when you have nothing left to give, figure out new ways to keep giving. The results you yield are often unexpected, genuine and invaluable.
7. What tip do you have for other women in business?
Use gratitude practice as a business strategy. I “high five” other business owners by sending cards, attending business events, and even giving shout-outs on social media. Through these efforts I have received amazing, reciprocal support, opening up unique connections and opportunities, in the form of client referrals, event partnerships and card design projects.