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‘Retail is tough’: Hunting for George shuts its online shop

In a reversal of the typical trajectory of bloggers leveraging their following to break into retail, beloved homewares retailer Hunting for George has decided to close its online store to focus on growing the content side of the business.

Launched in 2010 by sisters Lucy Glade-Wright and Jo Harris, Hunting for George was a popular destination for cool, modern art and homewares.

Over the years, it built a loyal customer base through its personal customer service approach and strong content strategy of home tours, designer interviews and styling how-tos, which it published on its website and social media channels.

But while the business was doing well – in recent years it ran a successful pop-up at Highpoint Shopping Centre and moved into a larger warehouse and office in Melbourne – it had reached the point where it needed additional funding to continue to grow.

“Retail is a numbers game,” Glade-Wright told Internet Retailing.

“You need a fair bit of backing – money and manpower – to get bigger. We got to the point where we were too big to be small, but too small to be big.”

Glade-Wright, whose background is in graphic design, says she had opportunities to take the business to the next level in the retail sector, but ultimately decided to take a risk and pursue the part of the business she found more fulfilling.

“Hunting for George has always been much more than just a retailer. Since day one we have created unique stories to connect with our audience and my passion for this aspect of the brand has always been what inspires me,” she said in a statement.

Harris, who led the customer service and experience side of the business over the past nine years, has parted ways with Hunting for George. She will continue to work in the retail space and has joined retail consultancy, Milk It Academy.

Glade-Wright shared few details about what Hunting for George’s future as a creative media company looks like, but said the team has been working hard to ensure the transition is smooth.

Customers can’t place any new orders, but all existing orders are being fulfilled, and customer service enquiries are being managed.

The company’s name will remain the same, and it will continue to post home tours, designer interviews and how-tos on its website – simply more of them.

According to Glade-Wright, the company will even remain active in the homewares and e-commerce space – it just won’t be the one selling the products.

“We have a lot of partnerships in the pipeline,” she said.

Glade-Wright said she has learned a lot over the past nine years and is extremely proud of the team’s achievements.

“Retail is tough and for the most part we loved the hustle but in the end, our retail offering became a costly distraction from the area of our business that was more fulfilling and profitable.”

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