Be the girl on the right, always.

Be the girl on the right, always.

This year will be the sixth year for HoH in business. Since day one we have done many things differently - many of them accidentally as I didn’t know how they were supposed to be done. But many times the not-knowing has been a blessing as I have been driven by intuition. And the more I have gained experience the more I have noticed there are no rules, no guide book you should follow, no dos and donts. Every business and the people building it are unique and that’s the

Illustration of our store in Vuorimiehenkatu 10 by me.

The Illustration of our store in Vuorimiehenkatu 10, Helsinki, made by me.

When HoH was just six months old I went to my first trade show in Cologne, Spoga Horse. I got some help from experienced retailers for an example building ordering sheets etc. In excel - which I still hate up to today.. After all, my education is the Master of Arts and Fashion design - entrepreneurship has come to be in blood, I’ve inherited the spirit but it hasn’t made me understand the numbers nor excel. Though people thought I was crazy going to Spoga with a brand that was just established, it was a huge succes for HoH - I got retailers to ten countries after that. Then I returned to home to my recently rented basement space and sit on the floor and was thinking “what the hell am I suppose to do now?!” I rolled up my sleeves and started to work, and I have not stopped since.  

 

HoH grew fast to a company that had four people working in it and a big concept store. But so grew the cost of everything and stress too. During COVID restrictions we were all working from home and what I noticed was that we were actually more effective that way. Days at the store were often chaotic but fun, and we were mostly packing orders as fast as we could. This spring we did a big change in business as we outsourced our stocking and shipping systems to another city. We finally found a company that was as spirited as we and promised to pack our goods as well as we had. 

 

Our store in Vuorimiehenkatu was certainly beautiful. We were there in two locations first in a smaller shop for two years and then two more years next door in a bigger location (in the photo).

So after the stock and packing was outsourced we noticed that our store was too big for us and the traffic in the Helsinki city center didn’t come back to normal after Covid times, we were longing for the less stressful times working from home, letting your thoughts wander free and focusing on the developing of the ideas - thinking of what next actually takes a lot of energy and time! Me as a designer I’ve noticed I need tons of silence and alone time to be able to think. Then we noticed we had a lot more time on our hands - and two from our team even started studies. So instead of recruiting more people we started to downshift - let’s go back to basics, let go of our store, start working from home and meet up in cafés, concentrate on the core of HoH where it all began. People, community, products, great customer service, global sales. So instead of doing what a six year old company “should” be doing (invest, grow, scale) we decided to go the opposite way - downsize, make business more profitable, take a step back and think. We’ve had so much speed during the years that this felt like the right thing to do. 

Me and our Head of Sales and growth Johanna Kujala. 

Me and our Head of Sales and Growth Operations Johanna Kujala, after we were done with our store move last week 2.9.2022

 

Then when the momentum is right again, we can scale, if it feels right. But still we will be the girl on the right. Always.

 

Yours truly,

Irene Häggkvist

Fashion designer, founder, entrepreneur 

 

@irenemikaela

@houseofhorses_helsinki

@hohfordogs

 


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