Say hello to ...
Tell us a little about yourself and your company ...
Hirst & Hirst is myself and Andy Hirst, my husband. We sell via our shop in Oakham and online at hirstandhirst.co.uk. Selling perfectly designed, useful items; many from small British designers and makers.
Describe your typical working day ...
At home (after doing the school run) on the laptop updating the website or posting on social media or at the shop sorting stock, serving customers, making sure the books are up to date.
What is the best thing about your job?
We are our own bosses and the buck stops with us. We have many lovely customers who are very loyal to us and we deal with some great suppliers.
Who are your customers?
In the shop, we have many retired people and mums with small children during the week. At weekends it’s families. In Oakham we have a boarding school so the parents pop in when they’re visiting or picking up their children; that way we have customers from places like Germany and Russia too. Online our customers tend to be busy professionals or people who live in more remote locations such as the North of Scotland.
Your products …
I love “With milk” – a coffee or tea set by the Spanish designers DOIY Design. I also love the cards by new designers Imperial & Metric, which are designed and printed in Leicester.
What are the most popular products you're currently stocking?
Our toast coasters have been selling really well online, especially since they were featured in The Sunday Times and Living etc. Also popular are the Bond prints, which are designed and printed in the UK by Typaprint.
What trend are you looking forward to introducing to your customers?
Utilising outdoor space better – i.e. indoor/ outdoor garden furniture (we currently sell Bean Bag Crazy bean bags that are made in Yorkshire and they’re made with an indoor/ outdoor fabric). We’re going to be introducing more products that go with this trend. Online there are lots of personalised offerings, but it can be hard for consumers to find these on the high street. We’re working with our graphic designers to produce a range of prints that can be personalised and that can be bought in store.
What do you have planned for 2013?
More great new products for our customers!
Your inspiration …
Andy does the buying so he visits the trade shows and goes to the small designer maker sections first. Our products have to rethink the traditional and they have to be at the right price. If we wouldn’t pay it, there’s no reason to expect that our customers would. We think of our customers and their gift buying dilemmas, as well as the sort of things they’d like to see on the high street in terms of homeware. Our lampshades are always popular and we sell British designed and made, such as Blue Marmalade and Yorke Design.
Who are your favourite card and gift designers?
Wouldn’t like to say as I’d hate to hurt any feelings!!
Quick questions ...
Anything by William Dalrymple, the travel writer.
What is your favourite film?
What is your favourite album / band or song? All 3 if you want!
Can’t narrow that one down!!
What is your favourite card or gift brand?
As above, I’m being diplomatic…
What is your favourite website or blog?
What can't you live without?
My family, clichéd but true!
What is your guilty pleasure?
Dark chocolate with nuts. Gin and tonic. Fizz of the grape variety!
Thank you Joanne! Click here to visit the Hirst & Hirst website.