It’s always fun meeting new people, which is why we came up with the idea of The HTF Hot Seat – a regular post to introduce you to the creative dynamites behind some of your favourite hardtofind products. This week’s seller in the spotlight: jewellery and gifting wiz, Lisa Angel.
I’m known on hardtofind for my… English design, personalised gifts, fine and delicate jewellery and men’s jewellery.
Right now I’m inspired by… wellbeing and feeling good. I’m loving all things earthy and natural, botanicals and the ‘namaste’ trend. These elements are a reminder to live in the present, be mindful, stay grounded and take time out from everyday stresses. It’s inspired me to create a range of products featuring hamsa hands, mandalas, inspiring quotes and natural materials.
My favourite part of the making process is… the development and creative inspiration behind each product. It all starts with collecting inspiration from films, catwalks and nature and thinking of new interpretations of existing or previous products for the new season. Once we have an abundance of ideas, it’s time to put pen to paper and create some really exciting designs, start thinking about possible personalisation and new techniques and styles to use to make them unique and different. It’s so exciting to see a product or range of products you’re crazy about, and think will be a big hit, go from inspiration to real life.
I work from… an office in Norwich in the UK. A few years ago I was working on my living room floor, but now I’m lucky enough to have a head office. I still work at home sometimes and in reality you can work wherever you are – whether it’s a car, train or hotel room. It’s hard, but it’s important to turn off sometimes.
A typical day for me involves… an early start at 6am. I enjoy puppy cuddles from Lucy, my Havaton, eat breakfast and do 20-30 minutes of yoga before the kids wake up. Once they’re up, it’s time to make breakfasts and lunches, get them ready for school and get myself ready for work.
Each day varies at Lisa Angel, but it’s always a busy one! You’ll often find me looking at production samples and shop reports, sending design briefs, writing to factories for samples and having meetings with department managers to check everything is going OK.
I’m home early before the kids and often sit cross-legged on the floor or sofa and get some emails answered. Then, it’s dinner time. I tag team with my husband, David, and between us dinner is cooked, homework is completed and urgent work texts are answered. After 7pm it’s no devices for the kids and time for a story. Once they’re in bed I do a bit more work, practise yoga and chill for half an hour before bed at 11pm.
January to May is my busiest time as there are the biggest buys happening during this period so will often get the kids to bed and spend the rest of my time doing work. I will make a list of things I’ve done in a notebook which is great as buying calendar as you know exactly where you are and know how to improve for next time. On the reverse is a to do list for the next day.
My proudest business moment was… wow, there have been so many highs! But there are three that stand out…
The hardtofind Christmas Market: I was nervous to go to Australia as I wasn’t sure how our products would go down. Plus, we were taking the time out at Christmas, which is always super-busy, so a big risk. Turns out it was absolutely amazing! It was really successful and well received and I felt that high you get when everything is going right. Customers were really happy, it was Christmas and sunny! They loved the English design aspect and were buying multiple gifts.
Topshop: We have opened concessions in three Topshop stores across the UK in Oxford Circus, Manchester and Norwich. I love the brand association – I’m from a fashion background so have always respected what they do and think this is target market for us. They’re about fast moving fashion and are always on trend which is similar to what we are doing.
My first store: Opening my first stand in Norwich’s shopping centre and opening my first store in the independent quarter of Norwich are two more proud moments as it was a step away from the craft stalls and my first step in to independent retail. It’s really something to look back on the craft market days and working from my living room floor to now.
When I’d started my business, I wish I’d known… to test trade and have clarity. When Lisa Angel was starting up I had a small house and large products. Needless to say, storage was an issue! I’d try and hide products behind the sofa which soon became impossible and I ended up with no lounge left. In all honesty, I went for products that I wanted and not products that were best for me or the market at the time. It’s important to test trade with limited stock, get feedback and then test again. Thinking with your heart is not always the best way to do business, but it is where the brand is born! You need to have a good balance of heart and head.
I’d describe my personal style as… casual, cosy and comfortable – but I do love to dress up, too. Striped tops and blazers are a go-to but I also love floral dresses and the boho lifestyle. My favourite stores are Topshop, & Other Stories and Anthropologie.
My last purchase was… a round rattan bag from All About Eve. Gorgeous!
The first thing I do when I wake up is… cuddle my puppy Lucy and practise yoga.
The motto I live by is… live in the present, everything will be OK and be kind. These work for business, too!
I’m hoping 2018 will bring… new challenges. I’m feeling optimistic and excited about the rest of 2018 and what’s to come in 2019. We will have a range of strong looks and great products for Christmas and I’m excited to see how they’re received. We have new store and concession openings and our brand is now exposed to London. We’re also looking at holding personalisation workshops which is something completely new to us.
Everything tastes better with a little… kindness and sunshine.