Today I’m super excited to be chatting with Hannah Frances McCreesh, the founder of Festival Queens.
I first met Hannah back when we went on a 24-hour blogger trip to Paris. I loved her passion for business and life and knew then that she would be going on to do some very exciting things in the future.
I wasn’t wrong.
Today we’re chatting to Hannah about her business journey with Festival Queens.
Where did the inspiration for Festival Queens come from?
I absolutely adore going to festivals and a big part of the appeal for me is the escapism – you feel like you’re in another world and can dress as crazily as you like.
I used to spend so much of my spare time on the hunt for unique, out-there festival clothes that I realised that I should make a business out of it.
How did you decide upon the name of your business?
At every festival there’s the girls and guys that go all out – and festival queens, to me, are those people.
Why did you decide to start your business on Depop and how did you know it was the right time to launch your own site?
I decided to test the water via Depop and see if there was a market for what I wanted to sell. I knew there was, but I needed that proof before I started building my brand and website.
I think in business, if you wait for what you think is the “right” time, nothing will ever get done. There will always likely be a better time, but you have to work with what you have.
What did you do before starting Festival Queens?
I work full-time in content marketing as well as running my business. I love both for different reasons and like having the two sources of income.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
I think the highlight of this year has been selling at my first few festivals. The first one was called Tunes In The Dunes in Cornwall and was in the most beautiful setting on Perranporth Beach. I had the best time there, meeting people, selling lots of the clothes and having a great time in the middle of the Summer. I also organised a mermaid-themed shoot in the leotards that I designed myself and I couldn’t have been happier with the final photos.
What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced?
The biggest challenge I have faced has been getting my name out there – I have a lifestyle blog myself (www.hannahfrancesmccreesh.com) so influencer marketing wasn’t difficult for me, but the move from selling on an app like Depop where you have thousands of buyers at your fingertips to having my own website on shopify was a challenge. I have quite a large following on Depop so I kept my products on there as a kind of lookbook, but directed people to the website where the items were cheaper because Depop weren’t taking 10% of my profits. Facebook Ads was also a huge help.
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
Instagram has been instrumental for me in my business success. Connecting with buyers, influencers and my followers is something I really get a lot of joy from. When you see girls taking beautiful photos in the clothes they bought from you, having an amazing time at whichever festival, event or holiday they’re on it makes the 8pm trips to my studio to pack up orders all worth it.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
I wrote an Instagram caption about this recently (@hannahfrancesmccreesh} that a lot of people connected with. Having your own business is amazing and so rewarding in many ways, but it’s hugely glamorised. The reality isn’t hundreds of thousands in your bank account within 6 months, it’s incredibly hard work, often undertaken alongside other commitments like your job, family life, university etc.
When you run your own business, often (or at least at the start) you have to be the marketer, the photographer, the videographer, the PR person, the social media expert, the accountant, the event planner, designer & business strategist. Be under no illusions how difficult it will be, but if you’re dead set on an idea, you’ve done your research and you feel excited by the opportunity, 100% go for it.
I remember reading the book by the Founders of Innocent and they said something similar to “If the thought of coming home after work and spending your evening writing a business plan sounds unappealing to you, then you should probably think about if starting a business, or this particular one, is for you.” – that has always resonated with me.
Where do you hope to take your business in 2018?
Moving forward, I want to spend the winter increasing my exposure in the Australian festival wear scene and designing my new collections for 2019. It’s a very exciting time!
I want to say a massive thank you to Hannah for taking the time to be involved with Behind the Biz. I’ve been following her business journey since the start and I’m very excited to see Festival Queens grow in the year ahead.
I think her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is very useful. Scroll back up, read it again and if you’re ready to spend your evenings working away on your own business venture then just get started. Go go go!