We earn commissions if you shop through the links below. Read more

How a British Store Flourishes in the Heart of New York

Written by:

Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

How a British Store Flourishes in the Heart of New York

In this interview, we delve into the heart of The Hamlet, a quaint British goods store in Mount Kisco, New York. Meet Drew and Leigh Hodgson, the husband-and-wife duo behind this unique venture. Together, they’ve cultivated a corner of British charm, offering an array of products that transport customers across the Atlantic.

Drew and Leigh discuss their entrepreneurial journey, the challenges and triumphs of running a niche business, and their vision for blending traditional and modern retail experiences. Their story is not just about business but also about passion, partnership, and bringing a community closer to British culture.

Drew and Leigh Hodgson

Origin Story

SBS – What inspired you to start The Hamlet, and how did you decide on the specific theme and product range?

D&L – We’ve always dreamed of owning our own shop but put that on the back burner as “life” took over. During the pandemic, we started thinking more seriously about it. Being British, Drew wanted to open a shop representing products from the British Isles. Leigh loved the idea of opening a bookstore. We decided to combine our interests, adding British-themed vinyl records, home goods, gift items, and sports memorabilia to our books and food/drinks offerings, and we were ready to move forward.

Store facade

Product Curation

SBS – Can you describe the process of sourcing your unique British products?

D&L – We work with many different vendors for our many different products. Many are located in the UK, and some are stateside British companies. When possible, we love partnering with independent British retailers.

Target Market Strategy

SBS – How do you identify and cater to the preferences of your target market?

D&L – We continually welcome feedback/ideas/suggestions from customers. Our shop invokes a lot of nostalgia, so we love it when customers mention an item that they miss and haven’t had in ages, and then we begin our hunt for it.

The Hamlet Store interior

Marketing Mastery

SBS – What have been the most effective marketing strategies for your business?

D&L – Daily Instagram and Facebook posts, paid Instagram and Facebook ads.

Balancing Brick-and-Mortar with Online

SBS – How do you balance the online and in-store experience for your customers?

D&L – The in-store experience is extremely important to us, as we want our customers to feel like they’ve traveled to the British Isles while they’re in our shop. We have put a great deal of time and energy into making it a positive, immersive experience for all who enter.

We worked with a website designer to create our online store and are continually working on keeping it up-to-date and user-friendly. This side of our business is growing quite quickly, and in order to keep both sides working effectively and smoothly, we are hiring more employees and trying to stay as organized and attentive to both as possible.

Overcoming Obstacles

SBS – What challenges have you faced in establishing and growing your business, and how have you overcome them?

D&L – Opening during the pandemic created its own unique challenges, particularly involving supply-chain issues. We had to quickly locate and expand our sources. As with any small business, staffing can be up and down. We have been fortunate to have some employees who have been with us for quite a while now, but there have been some who have come and gone, and that can create disruption at the time. We have grown quite quickly overall, so need to continually revisit and tweak our methods.

Customer Satisfaction

SBS – How do you measure and ensure customer satisfaction?

D&L – Our relationship with our customers and their satisfaction mean everything to us. Much of that is easily measured when they visit the shop and we are able to have engaging, meaningful conversations with them. We welcome feedback and recommendations and encourage them to communicate in person or online. If there are every any issues, we do everything in our power to resolve them as quickly as possible.

Community Engagement

SBS – What role does community engagement play in your business strategy?

D&L – Community engagement is extremely important to us. We are fortunate to be located in an active community, and we are involved in as many of its events as possible. We also support many local schools, charities, etc., by donating items to their events.

The Hamlet Pub Nights

E-Commerce Platform Selection

SBS – In terms of e-commerce, how did you choose the platform for your online store, and why?

D&L – We worked with a website designer and decided that Shopify best met our needs as a retail shop.

Logistics and Shipping

SBS – How do you handle logistics and shipping, especially for delicate or perishable items?

D&L – We have a detailed system for packing our shipments. For delicate or perishable items, we take care to use bubble wrap or packing paper to ensure they are well-cushioned and protected in the box.

Boosting Online Visibility

SBS – Have you implemented any SEO or digital marketing strategies to enhance your online visibility?

D&L – We are currently working with a marketing company that specializes in this.

Cybersecurity in E-Commerce

SBS – How do you secure your e-commerce site and protect customer data?

D&L – We can secure the website and the data by implementing SSL/TLS encryption, using strong passwords, and keeping software updated.

Future Endeavors

SBS – Looking towards the future, what are your plans for scaling or diversifying The Hamlet?

D&L – We want to continue to expand our customer base by increasing our exposure and ensuring new customers are discovering us, both online and in person.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How a British Store Flourishes in the Heart of New York