Hadar Iron makes ceramic fermenting jars for the home fermenter under her business Hadar Iron LLC. With the popular interest in DIY and a growing body of science about the importance of fermented foods for our health, Hadar Iron is both a timely and timeless business. Having recently completed the Health Enterprise Development Initiative training, Hadar is poised to respond to the increasing demand she is seeing for her unique crocks.
Tell me about Hadar Iron LLC.
Hadar Iron is a pottery and ceramic arts studio located in the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle. I established the studio in 2012, offering functional pottery and ceramic art installations. I’m now enhancing my existing studio by launching In Ferment, a line of home ceramic fermenting jars, mainly crocks, which are used for making fermented foods, and teaching fermenting workshops. I’ve worked in ceramics for 25 years and presently teach at the Seward Park Clay Studio.
What goals do you have for the business?
In Ferment has sold around 10-15 crocks per month for a year, out of which 3-5 shipped nationwide destinations. We sell 1-gallon size for $160 each, at the fermentation teaching workshops that I lead, online and personally from the studio.
The mission of In Ferment is to make the process and benefits of fermenting widely available by supplying affordable, yet high quality, fermenting equipment and helping people learn about the home fermenting practice. Upon increasing demand In Ferment is expanding the studio and its equipment to scale up its capacity of production. We seek production and sale of 40 crocks per month within a year, while doubling it within 3 years, in addition to developing other fermenting dishes and containers as part of the home fermenting experience such as containers for yogurt, kefir, and sourdough baking.
What difference are you trying to make in the food system?
We want to make daily consumption of fermented foods accessible. Our water-seal ceramic crocks are easy to operate with endless variations of fermented vegetables. The crocks have a trough at the rim, in which the lid rests in water to form a seal that prevents air infiltration while allowing gases to escape, eliminating mold and pungent smells during the process.
We are also proud to be reviving the awareness of health, experiment and adventure in one space. The symbiosis between art and food has a long tradition, which can easily be forgotten in our “instant gratification” culture. We use clay, ash glazes and firings of high temperature in the manufacture. Either thrown or cast, they are glazed individually and fired through traditional ceramic procedure that produces high quality with a unique visual of the ceramic art culture. Along with advocating and teaching about the health benefits of fermentation and its delicious variety of tastes, In Ferment brings the presence of art into the kitchen and the sense of quality food with attention to its sources and origin.
How has HEDI helped you refine your business model?
The HEDI studies have sharpened the tools to advance my business from a small operation to a bigger system, mainly by working on planning methods for the near and far future (1 to 5 years). The program has enhanced the transition from our ideas that have proved to work and create demand, into a sustainable profitable business. In particular, we’ve learned how to analyze the opportunity size of our product and develop specific approaches to each sale channel. Additionally, it gave us the sense of scale and a projection of growth, locally, regionally and across the nation.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs
In Ferment was shaped by both Mike Skinner’s “Effectuation” class and Luni Libes’s detailed Fledge program. Luni focused on the concept of “iteration,” which helped us move to action through testing and learning from evaluating the feedback. As a result, we are continuously making small changes and pursuing improvement. This dynamic, either in the marketing field or in seeking finance, generates enthusiasm and positive energy in the process of dealing with hurdles and expanding horizons.