FH: Stories | Richardson & Richardson

Designer-maker Hannah Richardson hadn’t even been to Folkestone until three years ago – now she and her mother have established a successful and growing business in the Creative Quarter and have recently even made the town their home.

Wendy and Hannah Richardson, trading together as Richardson & Richardson, design and produce hand-made products, from wooden keepsake cards to acrylic jewellery. They are known for their quirky, fun designs – it’s not unusual to find seagulls, lobsters, planets and even vegetables featured in their work.

Having trained as an architectural model maker, Hannah spent 10-years within the sector, “Whilst I learnt a lot, I found I wanted an outlet for my own creativity, so I started to make jewellery and cards on the side. I ran it as a hobby for a couple of years with my mum, and we sold at local markets and craft fairs. This is when the company really began to flourish.”

After taking the plunge to make the business a full-time venture, Hannah found herself trading weekly at Greenwich market, as well as working from home in Ashford, at which point she admits she “hadn’t really been aware of Folkestone.”

Hannah continues, “About two years ago, a friend and I visited Folkestone one afternoon and I was blown away by it. I spoke with local businesses and begun to see a future for Richardson & Richardson here. I contacted Folkestone’s [then] Creative Foundation, and we have now had the shop in the Old High Street for just over 18-months.”

Hannah quickly decided that Folkestone was the right place for the business, “It was honestly love at first sight. I love this community and the pool of incredible independent businesses; we are all extremely supportive and we all want to showcase the best talents, products and services in Folkestone.”

The company has grown from strength-to-strength and when the opportunity came up for a site at the top of the Old High Street, formerly the Lilford Gallery, Hannah and her parents leapt at the chance to make a more permanent move to the town that will see them living and working from their new premises.

Hannah adds, “We have bought the shop and the two flats above it, one for me and the other for my parents.”

A successful bid to Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s High Streets Grant scheme will support their investment and speed up the renovation of the building, getting them trading as quickly as possible. The scheme supports improvements and encourages new and innovative ideas to help high street stores adapt and thrive in the future.

Hannah shares, “‘The news that we have been awarded the funding is extremely beneficial to the business and our plans to renovate the building. The entire process has been straightforward, and the people behind the scheme are very supportive; it has been great.

“The shop needs complete renovation – repointing, cleaning, damp proofing and a complete overhaul of the frontage. We found some lovely old features, like the original blinds, that we are keen to restore – we want to give a nod to the shop’s history.”

Hannah concludes about her new home in Folkestone,

“You’ve just got to come here. I wasn’t expecting Folkestone to feel so supportive. As a business owner, moving the company here has been a rewarding decision. My commute has reduced that’s for sure! Then there’s the food culture and being around other creative people. We are in a destination we love with so much support.”

There are plans to grow the business further, as Hannah shares, “None of the shops on the Old High Street have storage space – this is something I learned quickly when we started the shop. But we have a large basement that we are going to renovate – we would like to provide other small businesses on the Old High Street with storage, as well as space to run workshops, whether that be lasering, sewing or collaborations with other local businesses and makers, to offer Folkestone’s residents and visitors an exciting new experience.”

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