We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Hanna and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Back in 2015, I was dealing with severe, chronic pain throughout my body. It was difficult to walk, use my hands, even turn my head. It was when the vision started to go in my left eye, that I was able to start finding some answers. As I went in for additional testing, they found a nodule in my eye and I also received a lupus diagnosis. The wait was months out to see a specialist and I didn’t feel like I could live with the pain another day. While feeling helpless, I began to watch documentaries and researching everything I could find about this disease.
As I began to learn about the power of nutrition, I started making changes. I also began learning more about things we used daily – from shampoo, to our pots and pans. This led me to protein powder my husband consumed each day. I was shocked at the ingredients and began to look for another option. Unfortunately, there was nothing out there that met my expectations from ingredients to affordability. So, I started to create my own recipes for my family as an alternative.
What should our readers know about your business?
Hanna Valley Protein was created because there wasn’t another option on the market that had simple, clean ingredients that were nutrient dense and affordable. Our protein powders are gluten free, grain free, soy free, nut free, pea free, stevia free, plant-based and without gums or ‘natural’ and artificial flavors. Our granola is gluten free and vegan as well.
I’ll be honest, I never expected this to become a business; at least, that is not what I set out to do. I wanted to fuel my family with a protein powder I could trust and made this for several years before bringing it to the market. My background is in education, so delving into the business world has had its challenges. Not to mention, all of the licensing that goes along with being able to sell products in stores. It was all so overwhelming, I almost decided not to even try. What a mistake that would have been!
I’ve learned that no matter what happens, I need to keep moving forward, even if at the slowest speed. Being an entrepreneur is like being on a roller coaster ride but with all the ups and downs, it is so worth it. What a blessing it is to be able to turn one of the darkest times in my life and it now give hope to others through products we can provide.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Des Moines is full of amazing spots to experience. From the sculpture park, to the Downtown Farmer’s Market, we love it here. Depending on the time of year, we would head over to Kava for some mocktails and go across the street to an Iowa Cubs Game. We would also head over to East Village to do some shopping at all of the awesome shops and go grab smoothies from Nosh. We would take our smoothies over to the sculpture park and walk around the awesome art pieces. On Saturday, we would get up early to beat the heat and the crowds and head over to the Downtown Farmer’s Market to support all the amazing small businesses this city has to offer. We would end our day at the Hessen Haus, for our guests to enjoy a ‘boot’.
We would also check out some of the small towns around the area, from the Bridges of Madison County in Winterset and St Charles, IA to the Timber Ridge Market in Osceola where they carry all Iowa made products. We would also be sure to hit up the Jones Family Diner for some small town pizza in Truro.
Here in the fall? Our guest couldn’t leave until we made it to a Hawkeye game in Iowa City! The energy there in unmatching and always a great time.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family deserves all the recognition – I wouldn’t be doing what I am if it wasn’t for them. I’m also so grateful that God put this on my heart, as I prayed for years that I would be able to use my story to make a difference in the lives of others.