Celebrating 20 Years(!) and Mother's Day: <br>An H&H Story
by Sheridan Mordue //
This time of year, H&H indulges in the wonderful tradition of inviting our moms — or mother-like figures — to a decadent dinner. It’s a time I relish: I get to meet all of my staff members’ mothers and we celebrate each other, the shop and women!
We held our annual dinner at the newly re-opened Caffé Molise. If you’re not familiar with this beloved SLC restaurant, now located in the old Bay dance club building, it is highly recommended by each one of us. The food, the ambiance and the service that night was A-MAZE-ING!
We gave awards to our awesome managers Isa Marshall, Jo Harrison and Chloe Lloyd. We also paid great homage to all our staff who work tirelessly with their whole hearts and souls. This year I shared a special message with my team and I hope they think of it along their journeys. I want to share it with you, too.
If you can believe it, Hip & Humble is in its 20th year of biz! I was 24 when my sister and I started together at H&H. We sold custom, handcrafted furniture in Sugar House. I wore stilettos to the shop, moved gargantuan furniture and worked all day every day. I put everything into H&H — emotionally, financially and wholeheartedly.
Over the years, I have consistently been asked, “Why did you decide to start Hip & Humble?” And I wish I had a great story because H&H deserves one, but the truth is, H&H was started by two young girls who simply BELIEVED they could launch and grow a business. We thought nothing of failure and believed only in success.
After a few short years, we experienced 9/11. That day I opened up shop and let the news play over the loudspeakers instead of our groovy H&H tunes. Before our eyes the world changed and with it, the pocketbooks and the shopping behaviors of our clients. We knew instinctively we needed to shift, and fast.
We began selling lower ticket items that spoke to clients' hearts and could be effortlessly purchased — like French soaps, handmade earrings and brightly colored handbags — much of what you see on our shelves today. Our new inventory assortment allowed us to maintain the furniture store, but it also gave us a chance to express more heart and touch more lives through our products.
In 2003, we moved to our 9th & 9th location and transitioned even more deeply into the success that we started realizing in Sugar House: GIFTS. We began carrying kitchen gadgets, books and even clothing! We stopped supplying large, handcrafted furniture and simplified our product line with produced beds and side-chairs that were easy to order and a cinch to move. This was such a great time in H&H history.
But like most things, it didn’t last. The financial crisis hit Salt Lake City and shops were closing up. Big ones. Small ones. The ones of which I was jealous. The ones I thought so successful! We tightened every bootstrap. We streamlined our merchandising, we searched for deals in marketing, we premeasured gift wrap ribbon and counted tissue. Our mantra, which was also a bit humorous, kept us going: ”leaner, meaner, lighter.” And although it was a frustrating and depressing time, we had confidence that we were going to come out on the other side.
Since 2013 we’ve had some super solid years! And, yet again, we find ourselves on the cusp of fun changes: we have SLC airport locations opening soon.
I know our little history is is fun to read, here is the message that I want to share which lives inside this story:
First, believe in yourself more than you believe in anyone and anything else.
Second, be willing to change. My favorite advice to give people is to know you can always change your mind. Make a decision and if you don’t like the results then create something new, form new habits, change your mind! It is the most powerful tool you have.
Third, persevere. When it feels right to you, when you believe in it something fierce but you’re up against loss or failure, keep going! Do it lighter, tougher, braver, more streamlined, cheaper, better. Oftentimes we have to get through hardship to arrive at something phenomenal on the other side.
Finally, live genuinely! By that I mean live with integrity, generosity and grace. I believe this so much that it is our shop culture. We ALWAYS tell the truth. We also love to have giveaways and free gifts for our clients.
When you give to others, and sometimes that might just mean giving your time, generosity is returned to you by those who were touched by your gift. And by “grace,” I mean that whatever may come your way, brave it with your best self.
Be tough but empathetic. Be strong but sensitive. Be aggressive but compassionate. And that, dear readers, is my message for you.
Just like I told my beloved staff, I hope you carry these words close to your heart along your journey!