Beth Richards - CEO of Kinnon
Favourite holiday? Egypt. Bucketlist 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’s got to be functional - without compromising on those aesthetic features 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 all 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?
I previously had a marketing agency called Press Play for eight years and 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 and just beautiful pieces to take into meetings. So 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 had Press Play still and I’d just had my daughter and begun Hallows as well, so it was all a bit crazy at the time. Definitely a little bit mad but definitely was a great decision and since then I sold Press Play and now 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 and 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 but the design side of it was a really big learning curve for me but we now have product designers in house who can really take that and run with it so it’s 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 much in 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, just pull back for a little bit, for a day or even just a few hours. And 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 and find out what they love with what we’ve got and what they’d like to see more of. That customer research piece is so important umm and also the need to create products and designs that we all absolutely love. If we don’t think it’s 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 and 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 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 will often last a lot longer than that. So we design pieces that are designed to last and 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 and we haven’t been around for that long so – but he has been using them for ages and they’re still perfect so that’s really important to us that our product lasts.
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 whatever or even some smaller pieces for Kinnon, but generally with both brands you’ll hang on to them for a long time.
In terms of the sustainability we are always looking for new avenues to improve on what we do there from the factories that we work with, the products that we’re using and we are looking for Lapoche using some recycled pieces to use at the moment so that’s something that we are always looking to what we can do.
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 and that’s the main two things really just that 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 / what are your staple pieces that you can wear more than once and 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 – so much new product development coming, heaps from Kinnon and some really new 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 hahah so 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 for other pieces that help you pack smarter and carry. We’re also have a collaboration with a major Australian artist in the pipeline to do some prints of their pieces on our products.
Published on 05/05/2019 by Leonie Henzell CEO of beauty's got soul.