Guest Author - T. Lynn Adams
Hatching up ideas for Family Home Evening is the goal of Hatch Patch Creations. Their FHE packets include a lesson, story, artwork, activity ideas and a recipe. Recently Jill Revelli, a stay-at-home mother and co-creator of Hatch Patch Creations, shared the story behind their growing company.
How did Hatch Patch Creations 'hatch'? “Well, my sister and I often said there had to be an easier way to do Family Home Evening. One day I was asked to teach a class on Family Home Evening. I asked my sister, Jenny, to come up with some pictures and my mom to write a simple story to give as my hand out. (You can't teach in Relief society without a hand out.) Well, I gave them out and Hatch Patch was born. I was immediately asked to make more. Some people wanted a new one every month. My sister, my mom and I started the next day on our second packet. We named our new company Hatch Patch Creations because Hatch is my mom’s last name and the maiden name of both Jenny and me. It was a great name that represented all three of us.
Are you the artist? My older sister, who is also a stay-at-home mom of five children, is our artist. After graduating in commercial art and computer design she made the decision to stay home with her growing family. She is one of those people you hate to scrapbook with because she can draw anything. She designs wedding announcements, paints murals on kid’s walls and any other artistic thing that our family might need. I tried to help Jenny with the Noah’s ark packet. I sent her my brilliant design of a giraffe. She called and asked what it was and then said, ‘You should just stick to what you do best’. Ha-ha! It was quite funny. I have not tried to draw since.
How did you get on the Web? Well, I knew that if we wanted to break out of our BYU married ward we had to go on the Web. The great thing about a student ward is that you have a huge network of people ready to help you. I bribed a computer guy from our ward with pizza and he started the process. We designed the page and he got me set up. Now the same guy who I paid with pizza is an employee of Hatch Patch.
How many Hatch Patch Creation packets do you offer? We now have 155 basic FHE kits and 45 pre-colored packets. We are also starting our Spanish line this month with the first two already released. Besides FHE packets we create packets depending on our Church callings.
How do you divide the work in this family-run business? Hatch Patch is a three-part system. Jenny is the artist. My mom, Judy is a very talented writer. She does all the lessons and stories. She will research the topic and then create these wonderful stories; they really give Jenny a great starting point for her art. Mom also handles all the shipping. This is one of the more time-consuming jobs, but it is great for her considering she is the only one of the three not constantly cleaning up PB&J and driving all the kids everywhere. This job and her writing were much more difficult this last year and a half while she has been undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. I think Hatch Patch was such a blessing during this time. I think it gave her some sort of normality during a time when her life was changing so rapidly. So you might ask so what do I do? Obviously, I am not the artist or the writer. I guess I am the Elmer’s Glue. I plan out what packets we should do next; handle all the invoices; do sales promotions and advertising--all the little business stuff. It has been such a blessing for our families because, instead of the typical Sunday call home, I am in contact with most of my family daily through Hatch Patch.
How do you come up with the games, activities and recipes? The games are the result of a combined effort by Jenny and me. I can describe a game to Jenny and she puts it on paper. Most of the recipes are family recipes, but many are sent through our customers. When we use those we give them credit in the packet for sending their family recipe to us to share.
How do you meet the needs of your family and still handle the demands of your business? I have three boys ages eight, six and two. My husband is a student getting his PhD in microbiology. Prioritizing my time has been a crucial part of being able to work from home. Another part of my juggling act, which I could not do without, is my cordless headset phone. Since my main job is promoting and selling I always have my phone headset on. My friends accuse me of trying to be a pop star because it looks like one of those singing microphones that Hannah Montana wears. I can be talking at the same time I'm making an after-school snack. I take nap time very seriously, too, and try to get as much done as I can during those precious hours. I also do a lot of my bookwork and odds and ends late at night after my kids are in bed.
What advice would you give to other women wanting to develop their talents? Don’t let fear of failing hold you back from trying. I think so many of us don’t even try something for fear of failing. I believe there could be so many successful home-based businesses if we were not afraid to try. I always felt that if I poured all my efforts into Hatch Patch the worst that could happen is I end up with an easier way of doing family home evening.
What is the best business decision you ever made? I think one of my best decisions is always work with people you trust. I know that the mainstream says never work with family but I was so lucky to have individuals in my family who could do exactly what was needed to make great Family Home Evening kits. I also need that support system in a company. For instance, when my mom got really sick with cancer, Jenny and I picked up that slack. Or when Jenny was swamped with Girl’s Camp, my mom and I tried to help (I say tried because of the giraffe incidence). We have the benefit of people who not only care about the success of our little company but also care about each other.
What are some future goals you have for Hatch Patch Creations? I always tease that I am going to try to take over the world one Monday night at a time. I hope that in a few years we will have a full line of Spanish packets for the ever-growing Spanish-speaking population in the church. My main goal is still to fix that first problem, which was trying to make Family Home Evening a little easier!
Here is a quick link to Hatch Patch Creations.
Hatch Patch Creation's Web site