Here at Hudson Home, we're celebrating our 6th Birthday! We thought it would be an excellent time to stop and reflect, not least after a tumultuous couple of years for us all. So, we handed the reins to our team to put us on the spot with a bumper birthday interview…
Meet Nic & Claire, founders of Hudson Home:
Let’s start with a simple question. How did it all start?
After we had our family I was keen to go back to work but didn’t want the constraints of a full time job. My father had bricks and mortar shops throughout my childhood so I cut my teeth at an early age behind a shop counter - so you could say retail was in my blood and this, coupled with my passion for interiors, made opening a shop a good choice.
We opened the Hudson Home shop in 2016 but decided after three years to close and focus solely on online, the decline of footfall and high rent and rates sadly made it really hard to continue, plus with a young family and our combined backgrounds of marketing and graphic design we felt online was a better for us.
We are now both full time in the business supported by a small team. My sister designs some of our furniture ranges and my father is always on hand to help with forecasting and the financials; we’re proud to be a true family business.
How would you describe the HH style and design ethos?
Our signature Hudson Home look is definitely transitional. Our style ethos centres on a timeless aesthetic, an easy confidence in the power of relaxed design and subtle detail. We aim for our pieces to work hard for you; to celebrate natural light, to make for a relaxed space; blending warmth with a contemporary cool.
What are your favourite parts of running the business?
Claire Without doubt, my favourite part of running the business for me is sourcing. I spend a lot of time trying to find unique interesting finds; it’s certainly easier now that the world has opened up and we can go to trade shows, but for me it’s finding the little gems of suppliers that don’t go to shows and UK manufacturers that I get a real buzz from.
Our cushion collection has been a delight to see come together, after months and months of sourcing fabrics globally, these designs are totally unique to us and it’s so rewarding to work with a UK supplier. It’s been a real labor love but one which has paid off and something which we will continue to expand.
Nic Working with Claire ;) I have a love-hate relationship with the technical aspects, from web code to photography and video but it’s incredibly satisfying when it works out and a lot of head scratching when it doesn’t.
What's one thing you wish you knew before you started the business/what one piece of advice you would give yourself 6 years ago?
Claire That you never really “get there”. There’s always something to be redone, improved, sourced and more. Running a small business is completely fluid and forever moving, sometimes at a pace which is really hard to keep up with. I guess you never really get a chance to stand still and reflect and in that sense it’s completely exhausting but hugely rewarding once things do come together.
Nic Teach the kids to pack (only joking). Even with eyes wide open and having a reasonable knowledge of business, the time required to get products in front of people to purchase (in, on brand and aesthetically pleasing manner) is hard.
What has been the biggest “lesson learned“ in these 6 years?
Claire That there really is no silver bullet. It’s about hard work, dedication and staying true to what you want to achieve. You make your own luck!
Nic Acknowledging that it’s very difficult to be truly unique in this day and age and trying not to be too demoralised by imitators. It is tricky; we all take some inspiration from others, create similar styles, may have similar products, etc but the key, as we see it, is to use any negative energy to generate new ideas and to stay true to our principles and ethos.
What was the Covid pandemic period like for the business?
It was a surreal time, like all other business we truly didn’t know which way it would go, I was quietly looking forward to redoing the garden but we (thankfully) went the other way and we were frantically busy. We had the kids to homeschool so we divided up our time and did long shifts at the warehouse. It was extremely hard work and we didn’t see much of other each but we were so very lucky to continue to have orders.
But the hardest part by far was getting hold of stock, supply chain was all over the place and to be honest it still hasn’t really recovered, it’s just something which we’ve had to adapt to and work around.
What would you say your highlights of the last 6 years have been?
Winning UK Interior Awards Online Business of the year in 2020 was amazing, but seeing our team grow has been so rewarding. I can honestly say we have the best team supporting us and we certainly couldn’t have gone through the last few years without them.
What interiors trends do you expect to see over the next year?
There has definitely been a huge shift into more natural, earthy, organic interiors since the pandemic with a big influence on vintage and repurposed items.
What does an average day look like for each of you?
It’s forever changing! After the school run we catch up with the team at the warehouse to run through any issues/deliveries etc but we spend most of our days doing photography and producing content together, we have a photography studio and set within the warehouse now which we didn’t use to have. Being in the warehouse, together with the team, has really helped to focus and keep in touch with the daily running of the business. We don't get much down time as there is always so much to do and we juggle a lot - the down side of running your own business for sure.
What can you not live without?
Claire Saturday nights at home with the kids, takeout, a glass or two and a good film
Nic As above. I rarely get to choose the film though :)
Your advice to a budding entrepreneur?
Claire Stay true to your vision. It’s really easy to be sidelined but only you know what you’re trying to achieve. Be really clear on your proposition, try to be as unique as possible; originality is really key when competition is fierce.
Nic Stick to your own unique idea. It may not be the most commercial option from the get go, but build a customer base that is in-sync with you and you will be on track to building some momentum. Trying to market and sell outside of your ideological space is usually unworkable and often becomes a race to the bottom.
What would we be surprised to know about you?
Claire During the Summer months my second car is a 1959 Pink Cadillac Coupe de Ville. I have the privilege of driving it for my father, he is unable to drive now but his lifelong hobby has been American vintage cars, so I spend Sundays during the summer driving it to various car shows around the country. It’s a dream to drive but I wouldn’t recommend it around village lanes given it’s left hand drive and 19ft long!
Nic Hmmm, I guess I’m not bad on ice skates…
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Always, always know your numbers.
What’s next for Hudson Home?
Continually expanding our own brand items and working with more locally sourced suppliers and continue to do what we love doing with our fabulous team.