Think Big, Shop Small - Hutch Cassidy
This Black Friday we are scaling it all back and looking at the small things that mean the most, one of those being indie businesses! Supporting small, local businesses is obviously important to us and something that we're celebrating through our 'Think Big, Shop Small' series. This year we have been blown away by the support from our fantastic customers, especially throughout both the lockdowns.
Each and every order from you guys brings such joy into our shop - a kind of happiness that doesn’t hit the same in the big echoey warehouses of the commercial giants. Whether it’s the first sale of a new-in product Tash took a risk on, someone buying a product after seeing it recommended in one of the girls staff picks or a box of joy being sent off with a lovely note. Knowing that we get to be a part of making that gifting experience extra special for every single order we receive means so much.
Someone else who this joy resonates with is Nicola Hutchinson, founder of Hutch Cassidy. With a passion for greetings cards and the joy they bring combined with a great talent for illustration, Nicola decided to take the plunge and start her own business. And so, just after her first baby, Hutch Cassidy was born. In this chatty little Q&A session Nicola tells us all about how her business began, baby and all, and how she manages to juggle hectic family life as well as run her own super successful business along with some sage advice for couples doing business and life together! She truly is a superwoman!
Tell us about Hutch Cassidy- who are you guys and what are you about?
The business started with a single greetings card, one big dose of passion for illustration, and the desire to spread joy through it. We took one big plunge into establishing the brand whilst I was on maternity leave with our first son, Wilf and I remember thinking ‘I’ve just got to do something and it’s got to be now!’ Simon and I have always made each other hand painted greetings cards since day dot and I found myself itching to develop the ideas further and create a brand that could offer joy through our artwork to share with everyone’s nearest and dearest. So, from our tiny one bed flat that soon became our office/ stock room and bedroom, Hutch Cassidy began. It was passion fuelled, sleep deprived carnage! We signed up to a trade show with a 6-month-old Wilf having absolutely no idea what would happen, but it somehow took off and some of those initial greetings cards that we showcased, remain some of our best sellers today in our ever-growing range.
What made you want to start your own business?
It just happened really naturally, we had an idea and went with it. We were keen to leave London after our first son was born and was hoping for a change and to be more creative in our everyday life. We worked so hard to develop Hutch Cassidy and I think it was something we had always wanted to do but hadn’t known where to start. Having a baby and leaving the rat race kind of forced our hands at it and we haven’t looked back since.
Why did you choose cards?
We used to struggle to find greetings cards that resonated with us, we were looking for something different and something that we couldn’t find. We had a firm belief that we could bring something unique and exciting through our illustrations, but most of all different to what we were seeing at the time.
So Nicola, your background is in Fashion - what was the turning point in wanting to leave this industry and start up on your own?
I truly loved my job in fashion wholesale but was itching to do something more creative. I am from a creative background and found myself number crunching every day and missing having a creative outlet. I was very lucky I worked for a wonderful company who I am still in touch with today, they are like family now. I just felt the need to do something for myself and something that would work around us as a new family.
And Simon, how has he found the transition from interiors to illustration?
Simon still works in the world of interiors and paint, he now has a full time job in this area outside of Hutch Cassidy, but is very much on hand for Hutch Cassidy as and when he can be. He often gets home from his commute and sits down to work with me in the evenings. Simon is nick named “the colour man” by our friends and at work, his (and mine) love of colour is very apparent in our work today.
How do you find balancing your family life and your business?
Very very hard, particularly this year. We, like everybody else, had 0 childcare for 6 months and it was a real struggle. We are working on trying to create a better balance as I don’t think we have found it yet. Our kids are still very young 3.5 and nearly 2, they are obviously our number one priority and we seem to just be one big juggling act at the moment. We always put our phones down and have meals together and try and switch off from the business, we try and hang out all weekend together as a family but sometimes it just isn’t possible. We find ourselves tag teaming with the kids a lot but are definitely working on making this whole situation better. Its hard when your business is in your home, there is never any true switching off time but we hope to have a studio space next year to create that separation we definitely need.
Best advice for couples doing both life and business together?
Don’t forget you are a couple outside of the business. This year has been hard as all under one roof there hasn’t been much else to talk about what with lockdown etc. I think the best advice is to step away from it together as and when you can, it’s important to remember who you were/are before running a business together… Simon says. Make sure after business hours you talk about other things outside of the business. Its not good for anyone talking and making decisions at 10pm ( we do need to practise this more though) it consumes you so much and we often have to say, “lets stop talking about that now” and try and watch a film etc…..
What is your favourite thing about running your own business?
I absolutely love the day to day running of the business, I love the incredible small business community of independent creatives that we are a part of. I love the freedom to do what we think is best for us and growing more confident with this as time goes on.
Do you have any exciting plans in the pipeline for Hutch Cassidy?
This year we have developed new homeware and stationery and we have had the most wonderful response to this. I have a background in textiles and dream of developing more in this line for the home and I believe that our illustrations would transpose beautifully to this. We have a love for antique furniture and have created several bespoke illustrations on drawers and toy chests, which we would also love to develop into our business. But the biggest dream is to create beautiful wallpaper, which we are truly hopeful will one day get ticked off the list. Greetings Cards still and always will remain the true heart of our business, but we are hoping to grow into a much more diverse business with a wider product offering that still holds true to our ethos and continues to spread a little joy and magic through our work.
Name your three favourite small businesses
Abel and The label
Hutch Cassidy is one of our favourite small businesses, and we have some of their super lovely designs in stock on our website - yay!