Feature Friday - Luciana Hanley of AirFort


Tell us a bit about you! School, life, etc. 

Hi everyone! My name is Luciana Hanley. I grew up and currently live in a quaint horse town in San Diego only 10 minutes from the beach. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have the best parents who support my dream of being an entrepreneur. Not only do they let me live back in my old bedroom LOL {hopefully not for too much longer} they are beyond encouraging and supportive in my dreams. I have two sisters, one older and one younger, who are my bestest friends and most important people in the world to me. 

When people ask me what I do for a living I tell them I invent kids forts. I always get the same response, “what the heck”! Along with being an entrepreneur I am in the process of launching a blog in hopes to encourage others to go after their entrepreneurship dreams. The blog will be a lot of tips, advice and real life stories of being an entrepreneur and a little bit about my love for fashion, baking, traveling and everything in between.  

When I’m not working on the AirFort I love to workout. My most favorite workout is a long run on the beach! I also love to bake. Being an obsessed “Pinterester” I am always looking for the next “cute” dessert to bake, especially during the holidays. 


Tell us about your business! How did it start? Where did the idea come from? 

I get this question a TON and as much as I would like to take the credit, my dad came up with the idea of the AirFort. When he was in sixth grade he got put on restriction for peeing in the neighbors pool and that’s when he built his very first AirFort! He used a sheet and weighted the perimeter with shoes and used safety pins to attach the sheet to a fan. 

Growing up my two sisters and I would tear apart the living room building furniture forts. What kid didn’t love doing that?! Mom and dad were always the ones to have to clean up the mess! That’s when my dad decided to pull out my mom’s old sewing machine and make us our very own AirFort. We freaked out over it! And so did the rest of the neighborhood! 

After graduating from the University of San Diego in 2015 I sat my dad down with the idea of bringing the AirFort to market together. Here we are today! 

Although I didn’t think of the idea, I can say (and my dad would vouch for me) that I’m the driver of the AirFort! There is nothing more rewarding to me than seeing the excitement kids get when they are inside the AirFort. It’s pure joy! 


What has been the hardest part of starting a business? 

Not knowing what the hell you’re doing! When my dad and I first created the AirFort we were absolutely clueless. And still are! We learn new things everyday. 

One of the hardest parts of starting a business is not realizing how many things go into making it possible. There are so many little bits and pieces that come up all the time that we either didn’t think of or are just learning about. Right when you’re about to complete one thing another thing arises. It’s important to remain focused on each task and check things off as you accomplish them. It’s not easy, but gets you that much closer to your goal!  


What advice would you give to someone starting a business? 

Patience is everything! As an entrepreneur I am constantly making timelines to keep everything organized and in line. When creating a product your timeline will not typically reflect the reality of when things will get done. There are so many little obstacles that will pop up and having patience is important. After a year and a half of hard work (which isn’t that long in entrepreneur world) we got our first purchase order of AirForts. Looking back I remember thinking 2 months was a long time to get things moving! My mom always tells me that if you are going to do something, do it right. You get one chance to do it, so make sure it’s done the way you envisioned it even if it takes a little bit longer. 


There is a lot of stress that comes with running a business. How do you deal with that? 

My favorite ways to deal with stress are going on a long beach run, baking a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies or cuddling on the couch with my dog Rocco and watching The Bachelor. With a never ending to do list your head can get easily overwhelmed. In order for your stress not to consume you the best thing to do is step away from your desk, do something that makes you feel less stressed and go back to your desk with a refreshed and cleared head. It makes all the difference in the world!



Your website mentions you were a born entrepreneur. How has that made you feel more empowered throughout your life? Do you ever feel like it's hard to be a woman in the entrepreneurship industry? 

As a born entrepreneur I feel like I have an extra fire of drive in me. When I get into something, I really get into it! Borderline crazy LOL I love that I am self-motivated in the things I do and don’t let anything get in the way of that! I couldn’t imagine the opposite. 

Right now is an amazing time to be a woman in the entrepreneurship industry. Ivanka Trump, a huge advocator for females, is shedding so much light on the importance of women accomplishing their dreams and being leaders. I think a lot of woman use the excuse that it’s hard to be in a particular industry as a women because they are lazy and would rather things be handed to them opposed to working hard and getting to where they want to be. Male or female, what does it matter! 

My mom always distilled in us girls that no matter what you set your mind to you can accomplish it. My mom has been in a dominant male industry since she was in college and kills it!! 


You have a different business dynamic because you work with your father. Has that been tough or a fun growing together moment? 

It’s the best thing ever! I get to work with my dad all day and invent a kids fort! Doesn’t get much more fun than that!!



Social media is a huge part of life now. How are you able to be apart of social media while still being genuine and present? 

Today, social media is such a huge part of not only branding your company but also yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in social media and stray away from whom you really are. It’s important that your social media is consistent in portraying who and what you stand for and of course always letting your personality shine!   


Lastly, someone has read this story and been inspired! What advice would you give them on chasing their dreams? 

My best advice to is to go for it!! One of my most favorite quotes is “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs” {Farrah Gray}. It’s so true! If you have an idea or a dream you’ve always wanted to accomplish the only time is now! An idea is only going to be an idea unless you go for it. I know many people who’ve had awesome ideas and the next thing you know someone else is bringing that same idea to life. Life’s too short to not chase your dreams! 



How can someone learn more about your company?!

Instagram: @lucianahanley

AirFort Instagram: @theairfort

Website: www.airfort.com

Blog: (in the works/coming soon) www.lucianaemilia.com


Alexa Jorgenson