Thursday Trader Talk – Nordic Muse – Hatch

Nordic Muse is Hatch’s longest serving retailer and a firm favourite on the Oxford Road shopping scene. In this week’s ‘Thursday Trader Talk’ we hear from founder Jenny Maxwell. Say hello to them in unit 34 at Hatch, 11am to 6pm Monday to Saturday.

At Hatch since: June 2018

The name of my space/shop is: Nordic Muse

I/we sell/make/create:  own-label jewellery and branded Nordic lifestyle products, with the addition of cards, stationery, well-being and travel essentials. With a dedication to good design our jewellery collection takes a contemporary approach with clean lines and minimal shapes. A refined collection, contrasting shape and texture with a timeless finish.

Our home-living and well-being collective is a growing portfolio of Scandinavian brands each with environmental sustainability strategies at the core of their ethos. Here you will find lifestyle products which are designed and developed in their respective Scandinavian countries. We make every effort to carefully select brands based on pure and simple principles. There is a focus on creating a common thread throughout the homeware and well-being collections, whilst incorporating the trends of the time. Our vision is to deliver a product offer that reflects Nordic simplicity, good craftsmanship and high-quality design.

I/we got started: in 2014, trading local and regional artisan markets as a ‘hobby’. As the business grew, I took the decision to focus all of my attention on Nordic Muse and go into business full time.

What inspired you to start your own brand? I’ve always worked in retail, from the shop floor through to head office roles, retail has been my industry of choice for the last 18 years. In my previous roles, I experienced first-hand the effect that digital media and e-commerce was having on the shopping experience. I felt this approach lacked a personal touch, and what I’d previously regarded as a hobby when I first started developing Nordic Muse was becoming much more significant to me. With a combined passion for retail, and my love for Scandinavian design, Nordic Muse was born. I wanted to deliver a personal approach to the shopping experience, with collections characterised by simplicity, minimalism and functionality.

My/our typical day: can be long and busy; they can also be unpredictable and hard to plan when driven by what’s happening in-store. Hatch is my base and operates as a central hub for operating our other retail channels. My typical day starts with emails, always, and that usually starts as soon as I wake. I always have a list I’m working through, from range planning, design, merchandising and buying; the business must continue to move forward whilst I am working in-store.

Before I did this I was: Head of E-commerce for a global design house and distributor.

The best thing about my job is: the pace and the variety within my role. People often ask how I do it, covering the geographical reach across the region through weekly pop-ups, Hatch, and maintaining the day to day operation of the business, but it all feels very natural to me.

The worst thing about my job is: Carrying out all roles within my business is one of the most engaging and thrilling parts of launching my own business, but it’s also the most demanding and challenging aspect. Mentally separating work and home can feel really difficult when you are self-employed, in retail consumers shop 24/7 so you have to make your hours clear and be strict with yourself to achieve balance.

Favourite item in our store right now: Meraki ‘Northern Dawn’ hand cream. Meraki have given their basic range an organic upgrade this season, achieving COSMO certification. This guarantees that the products live up to the highest requirements, including health and environment.

You should visit us to discover/buy/experience: A visit to Nordic Muse is not just about the products we sell. We take time to talk with our customers, share our story and learn what you think about the products we offer. The store is calm, cozy and quite the contrast to the hustling Oxford Road. We offer a peaceful and friendly shopping experience.

My/our favourite thing about Hatch is: that it’s a creative community hub. Apart from living just 5 minutes away, the mixed-use development blurred the boundaries between work, shop and play for me. Hatch is in sync with my lifestyle, with everything I need around me.

In my spare time: I love the outdoors and try to travel as much as the business will allow. I’m also very social and have a love for the pub… has to be traditional though! The boundaries between work and play can be very blurred and Hatch definitely makes socialising easy.

My top tip to other independent traders would be: to take a creative approach to marketing and don’t put too much emphasis on a single platform. The customer journey takes many forms, so take a broad approach to increasing your engagement.