From students to event style gurus – Jacinta Richardson and Hannah Robinson are bringing a touch of class to celebrations in the south west.
The countryside is every bit as stylish as the city and deserves to celebrate in style.
That’s the firm belief of Jacinta Richardson and Hannah Robinson, owners and founders of Hire in Style, a luxury wedding furniture and event hire company.
The duo love being part of people’s special days, especially the magical time of a couple coming together in marriage. They feel privileged to be part of people’s love stories.
Their own story is sweet and serendipitous. Hannah moved from England to be with her now-husband Chris, finishing the Business Management and Marketing degree she started in the UK at Curtin. As Chris lived in regional Kojonup, Hannah ended up rooming with Chris’s cousin Jacinta in Perth, who was studying to be a dietician at Curtin. Little did she realise her housemate would one day become her business partner.
The idea for Hire in Style didn’t occur until four years later, when Hannah and Chris tied the knot. Though it was a wonderful, exciting time, there was one problem.
“I had my heart set on a traditional English wedding in my adopted country, but I struggled to source not just the marquees I wanted to make the occasion special, but all the tables, chairs and decorations” says Hannah.
“What was available at that time was either hugely expensive or downright dull. So I began to import and track down what I needed.
“Our wedding was everything I had dreamed it would be.”
Hannah originally planned to sell everything after the wedding, but her business instincts told her there was a gap in the market. After a brief discussion with Jacinta, Hire in Style became a registered business, launching at a bridal expo in Albany.
“When we first started, our stock was primarily from my own wedding and rustic in theme, but Jacinta’s investment enabled us to rapidly diversify our product range to suit a wider range of customers’ tastes and expand into event and special occasion hire,” says Hannah.
Initially working out of a sea container on Hannah and Chris’s block in Kojonup, an expanded range and rising demand meant they quickly outgrew it.
“We hired an old mechanics warehouse in the centre of Kojonup, which needed a lot of work to bring it up to scratch as a high-end hire company” says Jacinta.
“The first huge milestone was the opening night of our warehouse, getting to show all our family and friends what we had achieved. We felt like we had finally made it to where we wanted to be, and it was all worth the blood, sweat and tears.”
As business continued to thrive and they each started families, it was becoming impractical for the pair to be running all aspects of the business, from accounting, to customer service, marketing and even moving, delivering and setting up furniture.
“We got to a point where it was getting too much for us alone and we had visions and goals of where we wanted the business to grow, but with our growing families we knew we couldn’t do it by ourselves,” says Jacinta.
“The demand for our furniture range was increasing, especially in the South West. We made the decision to expand our services to the South West area. We leased a bigger warehouse in Capel, expanded our stock range further and recruited a team to help us run the business.”
But the road ahead wasn’t all smooth sailing.
“Expanding into Capel tested our stamina and resolve,” says Hannah.
“We rapidly learnt the hard way that some of our processes and protocols were lacking.
“Because we hit the ground running and have given birth to six children between us since starting the business, the lack of planning and initiating processes is probably the hardest lesson we have had to learn.”
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Black and white goodness ❤️ how epic is this set up using our black timber hairpin tables, black and white wire chairs along with linen, plates and festoon lighting 💃🏻 did you know that all of our chairs come in, they are individually wiped after each event and if needed sanded and re sprayed? This is to ensure you’re sitting your bottoms on the absolute BEST | 📸 @parishawkenphoto
They took the setbacks in their stride and used them to improve the business and its processes.
“The first two to three years were a very challenging time. But we feel that all the hard work and mistakes we have made along the way have all paid off and helped us to grow our business to what it is today,” says Jacinta.
“With our staff running the business for us, we are now able to step back from working in the business to working on it and we can manage our staff effectively being remote, which has given us more freedom and time to spend with our families.”
It still requires great dedication and passion to keep their business running while raising their families, but the support from one another gets them through.
“We are lucky we have each other and that’s what really motivates me: being accountable to each other and not wanting to let each other down,” says Jacinta.
“We both live, sleep, eat and breathe our business,” says Hannah.
“We are passionate about what we do, so this generates our creativity. We both lead on different parts of the business that play to our individual strengths.”
While their strengths are different, their love of being part of beautiful celebrations is shared.
“I love everything about being part of someone’s special day, watching all the planning, preparation and hard work come together,” says Hannah.
“To be able to bring a client’s vision to life so they can have the most amazing and memorable day is the best feeling,” Jacinta agrees.
The duo aren’t showing any signs of slowing down and still have big ambitions for the next steps in their journey.
“Both Jacinta and I want to grow the business, making Hire in Style a bigger and better version of the company today. We want to create an aspirational lifestyle brand, which is recognised not only in WA, but across Australia and we have plans to offer exciting new services this year and going forward,” says Hannah.
“Watch this space!”