Hannah Lavery: comfortable is the new powerful
Caitlin23 Mar, 2021
Towards the end of last year, I bought the Tuxedo Pants from Hannah Lavery. They felt like they had been made for me. I am obsessed. They are my favourite pair of pants. The crisp linen is cool, comfortable, and incredibly chic.
When I learned that Hannah Lavery’s Parkhurst store was taking part in Airbnb’s Shop Local, Support Jozi campaign, I was thrilled! As part of the campaign, when customers spend R100 or more with SnapScan, they’ll receive a R75 Jozibucks voucher which can be spent at other participating businesses. For more details on the campaign, check out our Jozibucks article. [Disclaimer: While the earning period for this campaign has ended, customers who still have vouchers can spend their Jozibucks until 31 July 2021]
We wanted to talk to Hannah herself, to learn more about her business journey and understand her creative process.
How was Hannah Lavery born? Tell us about your business journey.
I started the range straight after finishing my diploma in Fashion, with very little money and absolutely no roadmap to what I was going to do.
I remember sewing some of the garments myself because there wasn’t enough time to have them produced, and I had just gone through a break-up so I was crying as I sewed them. Literal blood, sweat, and tears! From there it was about trying to refine the product and figure out what I wanted the brand to be. A big step was opening our first store at the Watershed, which we did in 2014. This gave us a space to explore new products, expand the range, and develop our relationships with our customers. We now have quite a large team, two retail stores, and various stockists around SA and abroad.
Tell us about your channels: were you online first, or was the physical store first? How does the combination work for you?
We started out selling through a store on Kloof Street, and directly to customers at the Neighbourgoods Market. We had an online store quite early on, but the ecommerce space has only started blowing up in the last few years.
Our main focus used to be on physical stores – our 2 main retail stores – and markets throughout the year, but now our ecommerce store is so demanding it’s like having a third retail store that is bigger than the others.
We love having both, because we like to be able to offer customers that need a physical experience an in-store option, but at the same time be able to access customers that cannot get to our stores. I really do think there is value in having both – at least for the moment.
I’m a massive fan of the ‘midpoint between pyjamas and power suits’ concept. Where did this come from? What inspires your designs?
Thank you! We spent a lot of time during lockdown trying to pinpoint who we are and what makes our clothes unique. This line came out of a discussion about the kinds of clothes that make us feel powerful. We realised that the clothes that hit this sweet spot are the ones that make you look great, but also feel great.
We are trying to give you a wardrobe that is easy and considered.
Tell us about how you use Instagram for your business?
We use Instagram to really engage with our customers, and share the details of the products we offer. The way we use it has definitely changed over the last little while. We now find it so valuable to actually reach our customers in a real way, give them fit recommendations, talk to them directly, and show them a little snippet of what goes on behind the scenes.
Do you have any key learnings from 2020? Are they influencing how you approach 2021?
Oh yes! 2020 was jam-packed with lessons. One really big lesson was understanding that just because we know who we are and why we do what we do doesn’t mean anyone else does – unless we make it clear.
Making our messaging clear, showing people who we are and why we make clothes the way we do is so important and we hadn’t really placed much value on that publicly before. Perhaps because we knew we would always get a chance to see our customers in person sometime. But now the horizon has changed.
You’ve seen impressive growth, what’s next for Hannah Lavery?
We want to keep growing our team and our reach across SA, and ultimately would like to access our international customers in a more consistent way. We also have some big plans to grow our range with some exciting new products… Watch this space!
Are you excited about Airbnb’s Support Jozi, Shop Local campaign?
Oh, absolutely! This is such an incredible campaign and we are so excited to share it with our customers. It’s such a treat! We love the concept because it really runs true with our belief that there is enough of the pie to share around – that the more local businesses that grow and succeed the better it is for all of us. Thanks for including us!
Visit Hannah Lavery’s Parkhurst store, located at 34 4th Ave, Parkhurst.
If you’d like to share your business’ SnapScan story with us, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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