Article: Sunshine Coast Daily 1/08/15
Words: Nicky Moffat
Picture: Patrick Woods
ALIGNING closely with “like-minded brands” and engaging customers on social media has helped Maroochydore-based furniture maker Hailey McGinty find her groove as a new business owner.
The 25-year-old former school teacher and athlete recently decided to focus fulltime on her furniture business, H and G Designs, and was earlier this year shortlisted for a design award by online marketplace for vintage and handmade goods Etsy.com, where she has a store.
There were no Sunshine Coast winners in the Etsy design awards announced on Wednesday, August 26, but business was continuing to grow, Hailey said.
Hailey moved to the Coast from Western Australia seven years ago to join the national flat water kayaking squad. She and husband Glenn Wilkinson, who worked for a local construction company, formed H and G Designs last year after realising while renovating their house they had a knack for interior design.
“We were looking at making our furniture and kitting out our house, and we made a few cool furniture pieces,” Hailey said.
Once they finished their home they continued working with wood and leather to create a series of Scandinavian-inspired minimalist furniture items.
“I love it, I’m just so passionate about it. I love building and designing – especially the interior design, I can’t get enough,” Hailey said. “We’re building a new house soon and I can’t wait to get into it.”
Their unique furniture includes a hanging shelf (pictured) which attaches to the wall by its leather straps.
Bricks and mortar stores in Melbourne, Sydney and Western Australia soon approached and now stock their wares, as does DoCo Lifestyle on King St, Cotton Tree/Maroochydore.
Asked what she had learned so far through setting up H and G Designs, Hailey said taking photos and using social media was paramount.
“I don’t really have any business experience, it’s just learning on the run,” she said.
Through Instagram she watched her products gain likes and follows.
“It’s been great. It was a bit unexpected, I just got a call from one of the big Melbourne companies that sell a lot of Scandinavian stuff,” she said.
“We’ve had a few brand reps that are involved in the style that we’re after, so they’ve pushed it on their own account.”
She said working with other like-minded businesses, such as Petite Vintage Interiors, which had 100,000 followers on social media, had helped get H and G Designs access to their target demographic.
“I send my shelves (to Petite Vintage Interiors) and they put all their nic nacs on them and style them,” she said.
The exposure had been enormously helpful, she said. Hailey said one day she would love to have her own shop, but for now she was content at home.