An interview with Hannah from West Stanton
Hannah from West Stanton has created the ultimate shopping destination for parents, offering the most unique items for little ones - from the softest sustainable unisex clothing to beautifully curated gift boxes for new mums and babies.
She kindly answered some questions about how her business came to be, her approach to choosing what to stock and some valuable advice for those thinking of starting their own business.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and West Stanton?
Of course! So I’m Hannah, mum of two little boys, Jasper (4) and Reuben (1). I launched the business when I was on maternity leave with Jasper, just because I wanted to buy him nice things at trade price. My friends then wanted the bits I had, so the shop naturally evolved. It was very much a side project for the first couple of years but has now fully taken over my life!
What did you do before West Stanton? And do you have a background in retail?So prior to launching the shop I was Head of Press and Marketing at a luxury handbag company. I used to work in Retail when I was younger so I suppose throughout my career I’ve been very aware of commerciality, margins and marketing. It has come in handy that’s for sure!
What is the story behind the name West Stanton?
I get asked this a lot and I wish there was a sexy or cool story behind. But when I first started out we were living in a tiny flat with no storage so my stock was split between my parents house and my in-laws - so I took a bit of each of their addresses and combined! I thought it sounded cool and that was that!
Why did you decide to start your own business?It really was just because at the time I was stocking brands that weren’t that easy to find. Brands like CamCam Copenhagen, Tell Kiddo, Wee Gallery and Maileg were not as super popular as they are now. There wasn’t as much choice for ‘cool’ children’s bits so I went for it!
What have you loved about your business journey?
What have been the biggest challenges?
How do you decide what products to stock in your store?
It’s a combination of things. First it’s if I think the kids will like it. My kids, my niece, my friends kids - if I know they will like something, then I know other children will. Then I trust my instincts a lot - if I love it, chances are my customers will too! I’ve started getting butterflies when I see something amazing and I know when that happens I need to order bigger (like the matte black sunglasses!).
Your West Stanton kids clothes brand is gorgeous - do you do all the design yourself?
I wish! But art is not my thing. I wish it was. I can visualise what I want but that’s where it ends. For the first collection I traced some clothing outlines (how old school) and sketched out some ideas then my very talented friend Jess whipped them up for me on her iPad. She offered to draw the first animal print design for me and it was so spot on. She is SO talented and totally gets my taste. I would partner with her if she’d let me, but she’d doing her own thing.
Any top tips for those out there thinking about starting their own business?
Don’t rush! You will waste your time and money if you rush into things wanting to be an instagram sensation. Take time on getting your SEO right, product descriptions etc as that will put you on the front foot. Skipping over these things don’t help the business and you end up spending more time and money fixing mistakes later on. Write a list of everything you want to get in place before launching, have a strategy and stick to it!