ASPIRE! awards boost female entrepreneurs

copyright the Chronicle May 17, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

Several years ago, Hanna Broer, who has loved sewing since she was a young teenager, decided to make herself some underwear. She liked how it turned out, as did others, and that was the start of Hanna Broer Design.

What’s different about Ms. Broer’s lingerie is that it’s made from eco-friendly materials, mostly organic cotton, but also hemp, bamboo, and even a fabric partially made from the waste products from the soy industry.

“It’s very soft and comfortable,” she said about the soy fabric. “And it’s quite nice to use a discarded material.”

Her lingerie isn’t of the Victoria Secret type. No underwires, no frills. It’s meant to be comfortable, but it’s also attractive, both in design and in choice of fabric.

Business has grown steadily, but slowly, said Ms. Broer, who comes from Montreal but now lives in Craftsbury with her husband. She’s a one-woman show at this point, with several sewing machines for different tasks, but she’d like to grow and hire people.

So when she heard about ASPIRE!, a local program to help female businesswomen, she applied. Winners receive a $2,000 award and what’s called a circle of support — women business owners who provide practical advice and support about how to make a promising business grow and prosper.

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