Favourite holiday? Egypt. Bucket list destination? Coast of Italy. Beth Richards, Founder and CEO of Hallow Brands channels travel inspiration into everyday necessities for all of your luxe-leather needs and smart accessories. Understanding that if something wants to be really good, it has got to be functional - without compromising on those aesthetic features that we all love. She gets what makes us say ‘yes’. Here to curb our overpacking tendencies and at times unglamorous packing woes, this can be juxtaposed against a never-ending supply of Italian leather compendiums and laptop bags for that true workwear chic feel. Beth truly has the answers for all, and the products to back it...
You currently have two brand babies under Hallow brands – could you please give me some insight into how it all started?
Previously I had a marketing agency for eight years called Press Play. I was travelling a lot for work and I saw the need for something a bit more exciting, a bit more functional but also with a real design focus. Pieces for work and travel such as the overnight bags and compendiums, just beautiful pieces to take into meetings. This is where the idea for Kinnon was born and Lapoche actually started as a client of mine at Press Play and then I eventually bought into the business.
There you go! What was it like taking that leap of faith?
Exciting and scary. When I did it I still had Press Play, I’d just had my daughter, and I had begun Hallow brands as well, so it was all a bit crazy at the time. Definitely a little bit mad but certainly a great decision. Since then I have sold Press Play and now I just focus on my two kids and my two brand babies!
So many babies! How do you feel your previous work streams into what you’re doing now?
I’m very passionate about branding, brand strategy and brand building, along with product design and development which is essential for the success of really any brand. I think it was a really great background to have going into this, however the design side of it was a really big learning curve for me. We now have product designers in house who can really take that and run with it so it has been a really great way to start!
And then on the days where the stress is hitting a bit too hard and maybe the creative energy isn’t quite there – where do you turn to for inspiration?
I honestly just try and tune out from work for a little bit. If you get to that point where it’s all a little bit too overwhelming it means that you’ve gotten yourself way too into it, rather than out of it looking in. So, I think the best thing to do even if you think there’s absolutely no time to do so, is just pull back for a little bit, for a day or even just a few hours. For me, that’s hanging out with my kids, hanging out with my husband or I go out for a drink with the girls because usually nothing is as urgent or stressful as it seems to be.
Just going back with what we were talking about with Kinnon, you now have an in-house designer. Your pieces are highly functional and thought out, but you haven’t comprised on those aesthetic features that we love. What’s your design process like at Kinnon?
We always start with research and trends and find out what our existing customers want, what products they love that we’ve got, and what they’d like to see more of. This customer research element is so important as well as our determination to create products and designs that we all absolutely love. If we don’t think our product is the absolute best, then it certainly doesn’t go out the door. We also show our customers (wholesale) where we are headed and get their feedback to make sure it’s what they want to see as well. We are fortunate to work with factories who are willing to give us shorter runs to start with and quick leave times so we are fortunate to be able to trial out products and see how they go and then build from there.
Fast fashion, sustainability. They keep popping up again and again. How does fast fashion and trend driven pieces affect both Lapoche and Kinnon?
All of our pieces have a two-year warranty and they continue to last longer than that. We create pieces that are designed to last, that you’ll use for years to come and the leathers we use for Kinnon get better with age. The pieces you have will be used for a long time! I met someone the other day who was talking about his vintage Lapoche pieces. We haven’t been around for that long but he has been using our pieces from the early days regularly and they’re still in perfect condition so that durability is really important to us, ensuring that products last.
For Lapoche, it’s not too much of an issue for us, but we might introduce some trend pieces in terms of the colourings or even some smaller pieces for Kinnon but generally for both brands you’ll hang onto the pieces for a long time.
In terms of sustainability we are always looking for new ways to improve on what we do in this area, from the factories that we work with to the products that we’re using. We are looking at using some recycled materials for Lapoche at the moment so sustainability is something that we are always investigating and looking to improve upon.
And for the life advice she’d give twenty-one-year-old Beth…
I thought a bit about this one. You can’t do it all at once, just do everything to the best of your ability, that’s all you can do. That’s the main two things really, you can only do your best so put less pressure on yourself.
Lastly, Beth has been blessed by the travel gods and given us her top three packing tips! Over packers, beware. This is for you.
Figure out how many days you’re going for and how many outfits you actually need
Work out which pieces are your staple pieces that can be worn more than once and can be multi-useful and purposeful
Make sure you leave a lot of space for lots of shopping (obviously the most important thing)
Lastly, besides a beauty-full collaboration with Habbot and Beauty’s Got Soul, what else can we see from Hallow Brands in 2019?
We’ve got so much coming – lots of new product development. Particularly heaps from Kinnon with some new really beautiful bigger pieces in Italian leathers for our overnight bags. We've also got some more business totes and backpacks and we’ve got a whole lot of smaller pieces within the work and travel space. This is all hot off the press… some jewellery cases, tie rollers, and some things like that. Some really small beautiful gifty pieces that fit within the Kinnon space.
For Lapoche our tagline there is ‘pack smarter’ so traditionally Lapoche is pieces for inside your suitcase, but we are taking it out of the suitcase with other pieces that help you pack smarter and carry. We also have a collaboration with a major Australian artist in the pipeline to do some prints of their pieces on our products.
Mahalia Mingo x
beauty's got soul.