Brand to watch: Sands & Hall
All images courtesy of Sands & Hall. Above: Donegal tweed cape, £695
When Sara Hall decided to give up her day job in marketing to launch a brand specialising in tweed capes, it was the start of an exciting entrepreneurial adventure.
It was during her maternity leave in spring 2015 that Hall first spotted a gap in the market for high-quality, beautifully crafted capes. She began by producing the garments – all of which are hand-stitched – in small quantities to test customer response, and encountered such a positive reaction that she soon decided to launch the brand in earnest. Today, Sands & Hall, the company that she co-owns with her husband, has its own factory and distribution centre to manufacture and sell the products, whose design is inspired by vintage fashion and Hall’s global travels.
Donegal tweed cape, £385, Sands & Hall
Hall admits that being an entrepreneur has come with plenty of challenges, not least dealing with the complexities of the manufacturing process. “The lead time for pieces made from Donegal and Harris tweed can be four or five months, so we have to buy the material well ahead of our production cycle,” she explains. “We’ve gone from making 30 to 4,000 capes over the past year; it’s been a steep learning curve.”
Harris tweed cape, £385, Sands & Hall
Hall says that working so closely with her husband hasn’t always have been easy – “he wanted to put pockets on everything,” she jokes – but, fortunately, the pair have complementary skills: “I’m quite impulsive, whereas my husband is more thoughtful, so we balance each other out.” They work in separate offices in order to keep their professional existence distinct from their home life, and have expanded the team to include a designer and several customer-services experts, with a marketing recruit soon to join the fold.
The expansion plan is ambitious: Hall wants to become the go-to brand for capes both in the UK, where they hope to have a strong presence in leading boutiques as well as online, and in key parts of Europe and Asia. Her advice for other equally enterprising women? “Trust your instincts and stay strong,” she says. “Listen to advice, but only take on board what works for you. Remaining close to our original vision is what has kept our designs authentic..”
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