Sisters Natalya and Tatiana Wolter-Ferguson (aged 22 and 20 respectively) are the brains behind one of the internet’s coolest new sites, hardlyeverhighstreet.com.
The sister website of hardlyeverwornit.com, the Hardly Ever High Street has only been live for a few months, and Natalya and Tatiana have been working tirelessly to make it the huge success it has become.
Here, the sisters share their tips for making your online business boom, as well as who inspires them, what advice they’d give to budding online entrepeneurs and why they love the world of retail.
What is Hardlyeverhighstreet.com?
Hardlyeverhighstreet.com is a premium retail website dedicated to those wanting to buy or sell respected high street brands including Reiss, French Connection, Jack Wills and Abercrombie and Fitch. Based on a self-upload system, all items are thoroughly vetted to ensure that only the highest quality items are featured on the site. It’s a very exciting project which caters for men, women and teenagers and began in March this year.
What roles do you play in the business?
We were both very actively involved in the launch itself and currently co-manage the business; overseeing everything from monitoring items that are being uploaded onto the site, responding to customer requests and managing the design of the website itself. Tatiana oversees the social media aspects of the site including the High Street blog which is updated daily with news and the latest fashion trends.
What are your ultimate career goals?
Both of us are very passionate about the website and would love to continue growing the site, the brand and our client following. We both love working in retail and this is definitely a sector that we would like to remain in. Our goal is to continue growing the company so that when we have children they will also be able to work in a company that they can be proud of.
What other work experience and qualifications do you have/are you working towards to help your future career?
Tatiana: I went to Wellington College in Berkshire and completed the International Baccalaureate in English, Spanish, Biology, Mathematics, Economics and History. I chose not to go to University as I felt that I would gain valuable experience by working alongside my mother Sharon – Founder of sister company Hardlyeverwornit.com. After everything I’ve learnt I definitely don’t regret this decision. I’ll also be doing a course in marketing and social media to further my understanding in these two fields.
Natalya: I went to The International School of Monaco and completed the International Baccalaureate in English, Mathematics, Biology, Geography, French and Art. I then went on to study Fashion Marketing in the American Intercontinental University of London which I feel has definitely enhanced my understanding of the industry. I also did an art course which has helped my creativity, especially when it came to designing the aesthetics of the site. We are both fluent in English, Dutch and French, and Tatiana speaks Spanish to a high level, which is a real benefit as we operate as a global business and often have to communicate with international customers.
What is it about working in retail that appeals to you so strongly?
We love how fashion and trends are constantly evolving, ensuring that the retail sector has a huge level of variety. We love to map trends and learn which type of person is buying what – there is so much more to the retail industry than just clothes and fashion! The most rewarding aspect of our industry is helping a customer to find that perfect outfit that makes them feel their very best.
We enjoy up-cycling peoples’ wardrobes for them by turning someone else’s item into another’s newest acquisition at a great price. We also have a very close and personal relationship with our clients so it’s very gratifying when they are pleased with their latest purchase.
Who are your inspirations in the industry?
Although not a member of the retail industry, our biggest inspiration in the business world would have to be Sir Richard Branson as he’s created such a strong brand which has resonated worldwide. He has an amazing entrepreneurial flair and we admire how he continues to expand the Virgin brand in a host of different fields and sectors.
What advice would you give to people wanting to set up their own online shops/boutiques?
One of the most important factors when setting up your own business or online boutique is to follow your instincts and to think about what the customer looks for in a business. You must be extremely passionate about both your industry and business plan to ensure that you put as much time and effort into the project as possible – especially as the first few months of any start up are the most crucial.
Entrepreneurs in this industry must have strong interpersonal skills as it’s important to develop strong relationships with the customer and predict their next request or need.
For any online business, it’s extremely important to keep up to speed with new technology and design concepts. Social media is crucial in order to align your brand with the correct audience so it’s key to designate a strong member of the team to the company’s Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts to ensure your business develops a strong internet presence.