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Q&A with Jo Harris and Lucy Glade-Wright of Hunting for George

Welcome to our weekly Q&A with Internet Retailing’s 2017 Top 50 People in E-Commerce. See our previous Q&As here.

This week, editor Heather McIlvaine speaks to Lucy Glade-Wright (pictured above left) and Jo Harris (right), co-founders of Hunting for George, an online homewares company based in Melbourne.

Short on time? Here are three key takeaways from the interview:

  • The company’s sales have grown 181 per cent year-on-year since launch.
  • By focusing on community from day one, the brand has built a following of 300,000.
  • The team is currently working on translating the online shopping experience into offline pop-ups.

Heather McIlvaine: How did you get your start in e-commerce?

Lucy Glade-Wright/Jo Harris: We have always shared a passion for homewares and after spending time overseas we were particularly inspired by the trends and retail experiences that existed in the US and Europe. When we returned to Australia we found homewares to be quite traditional and uninspired.

We both wanted to make our mark on the industry especially online, as we felt there was a need for new online retailers with unique products and experiences. We could see a gap in the market for inspiring and affordable homeware products that appeal to both men and women, so that’s where we lay our focus. Our goal was to bring excitement to Australian homewares and to inspire both men and women to take pride in their home.

HM: Give us a snapshot of your business today in terms of customers, sales, online footprint, offline footprint, etc. 

LG-W/JH: Hunting for George is an online destination that makes your home awesome. It is an aspirational brand that inspires everyone to take pride in their home. Our target audience is 25-44 year-old affluent females (80 per cent) and males (20 per cent).

Sales have grown 181 per cent year-on-year since launch and the decision to design our own range of unisex homeware products has propelled the success of Hunting for George to become a multi-million dollar company.

We place a strong focus on our community and encourage communication, collaboration and outstanding service with consumers, suppliers and employees alike. Thanks to this, Hunting for George now boasts an engaged and devoted following of more than 300,000 people.

HM: What’s the biggest project on your plate at the moment?

LG-W/JH: We are exploring how we convey our current online shopping experience into a physical one. We have always maintained a strong physical presence to allow our customers face-to-face contact with our brand. Pop-ups have been part of our business growth from the very beginning, but now with a more established and stronger online experience. we are excited to turn that into a tactile experience.

We are currently looking at [pop-up] locations based on database analysis through geo-mapping and highlighting of key hotspots. Whilst we can plan as much as we want, ultimately, we know that introducing a new sales channel will be an experiment and we’re interested to see the response.

HM: What else can we expect from you and your business in the next 12 months?

LG-W/JH: We are a very small team and we seem to take far bigger bites than we ought to. The next 12 months will see us tackle a few different projects. We are creating a new brand, expanding our own product lines, building new websites and playing around with pop-ups. It’s safe to say we have many tasks on the to-do-list, so expect plenty of action from us this year.

HM: What excites you most about the online retail space right now?

LG-W/JH: Everyone is always after the next big thing which leads to a continued focus on improvement. With technologies and customer expectations continually changing, the majority of retail is wanting to do more, be better and evolve. This is what excites us most about the industry and especially amongst the Australian e-commerce community there is a great deal of support that exists and a genuine desire for shared success, which is really encouraging.

Lucy Glade-Wright and Jo Harris were named to Internet Retailing’s 2017 Top 50 People in E-Commerce, which can be downloaded here.

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