Celebrating 20 years is a huge milestone, what sets your brand apart from others in the industry?
Even though I still feel 21, I’ve obviously been doing this a really long time, 20 years in fact! Over the years Nana Huchy has become known for being a reliable, trustworthy, high-end brand. I pride myself on being honest & direct, I believe this makes me easy to work with and a fair businessperson.
Many of my customers become good friends, some I’ve worked with for many, many years & we’ve shared the good times and the bad times.
Having worked in retail prior to starting my own business, I’m able to put myself in my customer’s shoes. I understand what it’s like operating a retail business; what works, what doesn’t and what it means to have a good supplier.
What is your favourite product and why? How have you changed this over 20 years?
At the moment it’s the Farm Animals, they’re super cute & have broad appeal for all our retailers, from suburban boutiques, to country providores & online stores. Everyone loves a cuddly Farm Friend.
For me it’s important that I continue to release new products, often. I like to always have something fresh & exciting in the collection. I know our stockists rely on us to create new products so they can always have new stock on offer instore. I’m super excited about all the new goodies we are launching at the upcoming Melbourne Fair.
Over the last two decades how have you adapted to change?
Many people are afraid of change, personally I love it. I’m always keen to implement new systems to make things easier & more efficient for my business & also for my customers. When I launched a trade website way back in 2009 everyone thought I was crazy, “trade customers ordering online?? Not a chance,” they said. It took a little while for them to get on onboard, but now it’s industry standard. Wholesale customers actually expect brands to offer this.
In terms of products & design, we’re forever changing as I know I need to stay ahead of the game. Our products are often admired and replicated. When this happens, I’ve learned to realise it’s then time to change and move on.
What do your customers love about your products?
To be honest I think they really enjoy how easy it is to sell the products. This is due to their affordability and beautiful quality, it's a no brainer. They love how quickly they can turn over the stock & being a local business they can re-order when needed, knowing that we have a warehouse full of stock ready to ship.
They also love using the beautiful imagery we supply along with referencing the character’s engaging biographies. I believe this makes Nana Huchy a preferred boutique brand to stock.
What path led you to Life Instyle and what is it about the show that makes it a great fit for you?
After years of working in the industry in various retail stores I was inspired when working for my Mum’s business Perfect Pieces. It was at this time I branched off & started my own little business, Nana Huchy. Perfect Pieces has always exhibited at trade fairs, so I knew first hand that this was a great environment to launch a new brand. Having exhibited in close to 50 trade fairs, I recognise since Covid, how much I’ve missed catching up with my good friends & customers. I can’t wait to enjoy the buzz of a trade fair again!!
Can you share one of your proudest moments in business?
Over 20 years there have been many things to celebrate, big & small. I guess the thing I’m most proud of is being in a position to support & help those in need. I’ve been humbled that on various occasions charities have come to me looking for support.
Over the years I’ve donated 1000’s of soft toys to children in need. I’ve donated 2000 Bunnies that have been given to children admitted to Child Protection units in hospitals across Australia, along with raising over $80,000 for this heartbreaking cause.
As an ongoing charity we donate Lou Dogs to the grass roots organisation the Type 1 Foundation. Lou is a cuddly comfort toy which is given to newly diagnosed T1D children as part of the Type 1 Foundation Care Packs.
There are many other projects, for example more recently we donated travel pillows to children in the Northern Rivers affected by the floods & we raised over $6,000 for the 2020 bushfires through sales of our Aussie Animals.
What is the best pieces of advice you can give to someone launching a new business?
Being in business is not a walk in the park, hard work truly pays off. Find your strengths & know your weaknesses, the more you can handle yourself the better. Outsource what you’re not good at. For me it’s the accounting side of things, just ask my Year 9 maths teacher!! I’ll never forget him telling me all these years ago when I pulled out my calculator “Put that away you won’t get to walk through life with a calculator in your pocket,” oh how wrong he was. Trust me, I use my iPhone calculator daily!
Quick Fire Questions
Where do you see Nana Huchy in 5 years’ time? I’ve always wanted a crystal ball for my business, but I’m yet to find one! I’ll keep working hard & no doubt 5 years from now things will look different from what they do now.
What is your next dream travel destination? Rewind to 2020 & reschedule my trip to Paris for the Playtime Fair!
Tell us a fact about yourself that will surprise our readers! I love a good DIY renovation & getting on the tools, local hardware stores are my favourite weekend destination.
Favourite dinner recipe? Anything that’s not cooked by me.