Getting To Know You: Danielle Cluett, Founder, The Pretty Hat

Danielle Cluett, Founder, The Pretty Hat and finalist in the Business Champion Awards tells Business Matters how a medical condition led her to creating her own hat brand.

What do you currently do?’

I’m the founder and owner of “The Pretty Hat” brand and run the whole business myself – from designing and sourcing the products, to building the website, making graphics, content, editing photos, packing orders etc.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

I have a condition which causes hair thinning and was wearing a lot of beanies and satin bonnets myself over lockdown to protect my hair and scalp. I started designing hats for myself and had so many compliments on them and people asking where I had bought these “Pretty hats” from. Then the idea to design more and market them was born!

Who do you admire?

Jade Holland Cooper for her beautiful country clothing brand with the tailored tweed items made in the UK. I also greatly admire Conna Walker of House of CB and of course Ben Francis of Gymshark because these two entrepreneurs started out small in their bedrooms/garages and with little start-up capital.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

I think I would’ve gone live with products sooner and just started selling one or two styles. I am quite a perfectionist and didn’t feel comfortable launching the brand until absolutely everything was ready. I didn’t want it to look “unfinished” but I needn’t have designed and arranged over 50 styles either. It took me a year of late nights and weekends designing, sampling and testing products when I already had a few designs ready to go.

What defines your way of doing business?

I’m just learning as I go and staying true to myself. It started out as a hobby to design and sell products I actually like and would wear, so I like to connect with my followers and customers on a personal level and learn what works and what doesn’t. I am always seeking feedback and ways to improve my hats and website. I also like to share tips and tricks on how I make my photos and website look professional with simple and cheap kit, to inspire other entrepreneurs.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Just go for it and try not to compare your idea to other well-established brands. It’s easy to believe a market is saturated or that your product isn’t as good as X, or social media account isn’t as good as Y. Everyone has to start somewhere. I am actually a software tester and have never been a product designer or marketer, but I am willing to give anything a go.