80 ATTIRE Moving ON UP Hannah Zakari owner Rachael Lamb talks about the independent jewellery shop’s evolution from online to a bricks and mortar store Tell me about your background in jewellery before the launch of Hannah Zakari. I studied textiles and fashion at The Scottish College of Textiles and I’m not formally trained in jewellery at all. I spent time in retail on the shop floor and in management after university, which taught me a lot about running my own store. When did you open the own-brand store and why did you decide to launch the boutique – how important is the location to you? We opened our ‘real life’ store in 2010, which felt like a natural step from our online store where we’d been trading since 2004.The business had grown in to something special and more viable, and when the location on Candlemaker Row in Edinburgh came up I knew it would be the perfect spot for Hannah Zakari. The location was very important, we were looking for something off the beaten track and with a lot of character, like a little secret shop you could stumble across. We ended up in our perfect shop close to the Grassmarket in Edinburgh in a 350-year- old building on Candlemaker Row. What challenges were overcome when the company was starting out? I’d worked in retail before, but never been my own boss, and as a tiny company with the turnover to match you’re doing everything yourself at the start, which can be very time consuming and often quite boring! When we opened our bricks and mortar shop we’d been trading online for six years so already had a good relationship with suppliers, which was a huge plus, but we still had the usual financial challenges of shop fitting and investing in stock. The hardest part of opening the bricks and mortar store was that we took over our lease from the previous tenants who made things extremely difficult and stressful for us leading up to the date of take over. At one point it looked like the whole thing would fall through at the last minute, but luckily we managed to salvage the situation after a lot of negotiation and tongue biting. We had some ongoing problems with the furniture we’d designed and had manufactured for the opening of the shop, which took several months to reach an amicable solution, and we misjudged how much stock would be needed to launch so opened embracing the minimalist look!