“When someone buys a pair of leggings and they tweet or email us saying they’re in love with them it makes me so happy!”
- Sadie McLeod, Founder & Editor of Hip & Healthy
Sadie McLeod is the Founder and Editor of online health and wellbeing magazine and active wear store Hip & Healthy. In the below interview she reveals what inspired the concept and how she juggled building Hip & Healthy alongside her full time job.
Can you briefly explain what Hip & Healthy is about and how it all works?
Hip & Healthy is an online health and wellbeing magazine and active-wear store. We wanted to bring together the best and most stylish fitness wear all under one (digital) roof so that customers have a choice of chic workout wear whether they’re into running, yoga or hitting the gym. We are currently a full time team of just two – but then we have lots of valued contributors and the magazine would be nothing without them.
Tell me more about your career before starting your business?
My work life started off at Conde Nast Traveller where I worked for 5 years! During my time there I also freelanced for various magazines and newspapers often writing on the subject of health and fitness as this was always where my passion was.
What inspired you to start Hip & Healthy?
During my time at Conde Nast I was fortunate enough to be granted a six month sabbatical to move with my then boyfriend (now husband) to Hong Kong where he was posted with work. This allowed me to really give writing about health and fitness a proper shot and it was during this period that I realised that there was a gap in the market for a great online health and wellbeing magazine. So, I slowly put things in place to start Hip & Healthy, which I envisaged as the online magazine that inspires you to be the best version of yourself. From this idea, the store was developed as I also found it very hard to buy stylish fitness wear in the UK that the rest of my yoga class weren’t all wearing too! So through the connections we made on the style side of the magazine, we started to stock a few handpicked active-wear items, most of which come from California, Australia, Canada and the UK itself!
How did you manage building it alongside your full time careers?
For the first 18 months of Hip & Healthy’s life, I was also working full time at Conde Nast Traveller as although I started Hip & Healthy when I was in Hong Kong, I still had to come back and work! During this time I can honestly say I think it was the busiest period in my life. My boyfriend also proposed, so not only was I trying to create a business and working full time but I also now had to plan a wedding… yikes! How did I do it? Well, I was super strict about how I spent my time. I would wake up early in the mornings – around 6am – and respond to emails and enquires that had come in overnight. I’d then get my running gear on and run the 8.5k to work from my Fulham flat. I’d then do a day’s work at Traveller and often do a bit of Hip & Healthy social media work during my lunch break or have the odd H&H meeting. Then at the end of the day, I would jump on the bus back home, making any phone calls that I needed to do, and walk in the door at about 7pm. Then I would work until about 11pm at night on feature ideas, commissioning writers, writing myself, and slowly started to work on the store that was to be our retail space. It was May last year that I decided to take the plunge and leave CNT altogether to focus on H&H. It just got to a point where I felt the business couldn’t grow any more without my full attention. And since then we have been lucky enough to grow quite rapidly.
What’s been the biggest highlight?
The biggest highlight for me is hearing from our readers and customers. When someone buys a pair of leggings and they tweet or email us saying they’re in love with them it makes me so happy! Or readers taking part in challenges that we run on the magazine and saying how great they feel after them. Another great highlight was being awarded the runner up prize for the PPA Digital Entrepreneur Newcomer of the year last year.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
I am having a baby this September so I am pretty sure my biggest challenge is yet to come! But I still feel confident it won’t be too much of an obstacle when it comes to my work. #thatswhattheyallsay!!
You’ve had some fantastic PR, having been featured in the likes of Vogue, Women’s Health and Conde Nast Traveller and you’ve collaborated with some incredible experts and thought leaders. What’s your secret?
I had a lot of friends at Conde Nast when I left who were happy to feature us in their magazines. But they also believe in our product. I think if you have a great business and a cool brand then people will want to talk about it – a lot of PR comes down to that. But I am certainly no expert on PR and in fact, seek a lot of external advice when it comes to marketing Hip & Healthy.
What advice would you give to other women who dream of starting their own business?
Keep at it. Don’t give up. Imagine yourself at your end goal and it will happen. There will be points when you will think is all this hard work worth it? Yes it is.
What’s next for you?
We are redesigning our active wear store so we’re going to become much more of a one-stop-health-&-fitness-shop! The new site will launch in June and we can’t wait!
What’s your favourite quote?
I have many but I think I’ll go with “Live the life you love, Love the life you live”-Bob Marley CLICK HERE TO TWEET!
You can discover the world of Hip & Healthy here.
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