THE HERO START STORY
Posted on 28 February 2016
What better place to start our new weekly blog series, than with the story of how Hero began?
One of the questions our founder Laura gets asked most often is...
"How did it all begin? How did you find the courage (and time!) to launch your own business?"
In today's blog post, Laura is sharing exactly how she took that leap of faith. Laura's story never fails to inspire us, and we hope it will inspire you too!
Prior to starting Hero I wrote a fashion and lifestyle blog called My Pollyanna. Having been a stay at home mum for 5 years, blogging was my first foray into a new challenge, just for me.
I loved, and still do love, being a mum and a role model to my girls, but I felt there was a missing ying to my yang. I sought a different sense of achievement and self fulfilment, for myself.
Having blogged at My Pollyanna for a few years, I noticed a trend amongst my readers - women, similar to myself, who sought an increase in confidence through their own personal style.
"Defining my personal style was a huge part of my life as a stay at home Mum, it helped me to find my identity once I left my pre-children City-based job."
Through blogging I had become used to curating style edits; I began to think about my future and it occurred to me that I could use the knowledge I'd accrued through blogging, to open a beautiful shop and lifestyle business. And so the seed was sown...
HOW MY DREAM BECAME A BRICKS & MOTAR SHOP
SELF BELIEF & OUR FIRST ORDERS
The Hero brand was born in April 2014. I started my business journey by visiting the trade show Scoop in July 2014. With no premises secured, I could only browse and initiate seedling relationships with brands. This was incredibly exciting, and a bit scary too! I went to my first trade show with little knowledge of buying seasons or the process; I had to trust my instinct.
____________________________________________________"Having faith in my instinct has been one of the best lessons I have learnt throughout the Hero journey, it has always served me well to trust my gut."____________________________________________________
One of the first brands I approached - Needle Knitwear - is now one of our best-selling labels. That initial brand/shop relationship with Needle Knitwear was really a leap of faith on both of our parts. It was as much about Needle's founders Lizzie and Emma having faith in me, as it was in me making an order without a store to sell in yet!
Cue September 2014 - I'd secured a small, gorgeous unit on Stockbridge high street and it all became real! My youngest daughter was just about to start school, which left me with more time to dedicate to Hero; the timing couldn't have been more perfect.
"It is always scary to do something for the first time, but through sheer belief that the shop would open, I secured brands I really loved, and knew were right for Hero."
I contacted brands I had previously liaised with, to order in-season stock. Those initial seedling conversations I had at Scoop and on other occasions, served me well when it came to placing my first orders.
Late nights cleaning, decorating and putting out stock, all contributed to getting the shop 'customer ready'. It was definitely a 'swan' period - everything appearing peaceful and together on top, but I was paddling like mad to get everything done underneath.
The dream was suddenly a reality!
AND THEN WE MOVED...TO A BIGGER SHOP!
The fact I had taken such a huge risk and leap of faith, filled me with an infinite amount of joy. I was ecstatic, and relieved, that i'd made it that far. I could never have guessed what would happen next...
Six months after opening our first store, the opportunity arose to acquire a new unit three times the size! It was in a much better position on the high street, with a larger shop front.
But was it viable? At the time this felt like a huge risk, but after much deliberation I knew I had to take that risk and follow my gut. Again, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
WHERE WE ARE TODAY & LESSONS WE'VE LEARNT
As I sit in our new creative space and newly expanded (again!) shop area, I have to continuously pinch and remind myself that I have created the Hero brand, as it stands today.
"I believe that recognising and appreciating your achievements is fundamental to moving forwards; it's good for the soul!"
I now know to step back and take it all in. From the small achievements, like creating the perfect Instagram image for our social feeds, to big accomplishments, like creating a new hosting space, in the store, for our creative workshops - it all counts.
By appreciating these achievements, I feel more confident, which ultimately makes future endeavours feel less scary.
In sharing the Hero 'start story' with you all, it has given me the opportunity to reflect back on all we have achieved so far! We are still only young, but we are hungry to grow and continue to make Hero the most beautiful shop and lifestyle business we can.
Thank you to every one of you that set foot in our store, visited us online, shared with us on social, or just read our first blog post!
I am so excited to communicate with you all via this new platform, i'm going to leave you with my top 10 tips for starting your own business.
I hope to see you all here next week for our next post!
Laura & the Hero team x (and yes, we have a team too!).
THINKING OF STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? 10 TOP TIPS I SWEAR BY
1. Speak to people. Find out as much as you can about the business and
industry you want to start. Pick up the phone, walk into shops. Whatever it takes. It
was a steep learning curve but invaluable.
2. Take calculated risks. Assess opportunities and be willing to explore them
but realise that sometimes it's best to walk away.
3. Be open, be yourself.
4. Go with your gut. Instincts have got me everywhere.
5. Set out a plan. My business and financial plans move all the time but
without a framework of what we set out to achieve we'd be lost. Even if you
don't stick to it. Set it out.
6. Find a mentor. Someone who is not involved in the business and can look
from the outside in and advise and guide you from a strategic point of view.
7. Accept that having your own business is as much about the lows as the highs
and learn to 'fly by the seat of your pants'! It's not going to be easy but
recognise the challenges that ultimately are going to propel you and your
8. Recognise that you can't do it all and do what you can.
9. Don't run before you can walk. Set up realistic targets and goals and
create a solid foundation up on which to build the future of your business.
10. Take care of the little things and the big things take care of themselves.