Winchester based mother and daughter duo Hannah and Jane McIntyre
- Credit: Archant
With one an accomplished atelier and the other a budding hotelier, Winchester based mother and daughter duo Hannah and Jane McIntyre, put their success down to their close bond. Rebecca Fletcher meets them for tea and family tales
The bond between a mother and her child is a special one, but they say that the bond between a mother and daughter is the start of a lifelong friendship. With the rise of more and more mother and daughter businesses starting up around the country, it’s often the closeness of these unique personal relationships which fuels a thriving partnership.
So what’s the secret of these business success stories? Does it boil down to the handing down of pearls of wisdom, or is it a case of young female entrepreneurs bringing new ideas and vigour to an older generation? Winchester-based B&B businesswoman Hannah McIntyre and her mother Jane, a lifestyle atelier and design shop owner, may not run a joint enterprise, but it’s clear that their strong friendship and eye for detail and design has inspired them both.
“Not many girls get on so well with their mothers. I’m lucky I have this with both my daughters. We consult each other not just on the things we’re working on, but everything,” Jane shares.
For Jane, taking the plunge with her own design business resulted after a long and successful career alongside the girls’ father Phil, producing, promoting and representing artists such as Rowan Atkinson, Ben Elton and French and Saunders, as well as bands including Iron Maiden, Metallica and The Smiths. However, she’s always had a love of design, having trained as a fashion designer, so when she and Phil decided to go their separate ways both personally and professionally, it seemed the perfect opportunity to nurture a long held ambition.
“I’ve always done up houses. It’s just a complete and utter passion. I can’t stop. I design in my sleep,” she laughs. “A few friends asked me to do places for them and then I stumbled upon the hotel. I only bought it so I could do all the redesigning. I wanted to do all the bedrooms – all 30 of them. It was a fantastic project. I didn’t know the first thing about running a hotel really.”
Whilst Jane set about breathing life back into the rundown Georgian townhouse, Stanwell House Hotel in Lymington, overhauling years of outdated décor, reinventing its look and feel and rebranding it as a stylish boutique hotel and local hotspot, she used to send Hannah off down to the hotel kitchen to give her something to do.
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“Hannah would go and help the pastry chef; she learned so much. At 17, she became the hotel restaurant manager. She was so persistent and came to me with such a good business plan that I asked the staff to give her a chance. They were very hard on her and I had to agree to keep out of it. But she breezed it and after just six months, they all said she was the best they’d ever had. It was a tough grounding,” Jane recounts proudly.
It was here that Hannah’s flair for hosting was first nurtured and the seeds for setting up on her own were sown.
“Being around Mum, I think I just absorbed everything,” says Hannah. “Watching her run a hotel on her own was incredible – dealing with builders, running a business as a single mum. I’ve definitely absorbed skills. Mum was the ultimate independent woman in every way. It made me think when I was starting my own venture that if Mum could do all that, so could I.”
So when the opportunity arose for Hannah to go it alone, it was Jane she turned to to help her achieve the look and feel she was trying to create at Hannah’s B&B.
“I suppose I always thought that the idea of having my own B&B would be a post-leaving home, post-children or retirement thing to do,” Hannah tells me. “However it was great timing because Mum was doing more design work for clients, having sold the hotel after eleven years, and she had launched her shop. So I started there with a lot of Mum’s catalogues when looking for the right things for my own space.”
With Jane’s shop, Jane McIntyre Design on Winchester’s Southgate Street an Aladdin’s cave of household wares with two floors burgeoning with artisan ceramics, furniture, fabrics, linens and lighting, it was an ideal chance for this dynamic mother and daughter duo to collaborate and share ideas. Transforming a ramshackle empty building in the heart of Winchester, the outcome of Hannah’s drive and determination was a luxurious space where chic New York contemporary vibes sit comfortably within a more classical Hampshire look. Sumptuous bedrooms with bespoke headboards offer cavernous baths and exposed copper piping in to-die-for bathrooms, while a cosy library for guests to relax in shows off a grand piano should the urge to tinkle the ivories take your fancy whilst staying. Everything is homemade – from the afternoon tea Hannah serves guests to the unusual and delicious breakfasts made from many of Hannah’s own recipes.
Being on hand for guests and incorporating these little touches are what has made Hannah’s B&B different from other accommodation offerings Hannah feels.
“I try to think about what might make each set of guests happy. I like hosting and meeting people. I’ve always loved a party. With the business, every weekend is a bit of an event.”
A passion for interiors runs in the family. Not only has Hannah’s beautifully styled B&B become an overnight success but Amy, Jane’s older daughter’s own stunning accommodation, Plas Curig, nestled in Snowdonia National Park, has been dubbed the UK’s poshest hostel. While Amy was keen to enlist Jane’s help when renovating Plas Curig, Hannah had her own design in mind.
“Hannah’s done it all on her own. She is so completely different from me. She’s incredibly organised. If she makes up her mind to do something, she plans it all through and does it. Amy is more impulsive but very decisive. It’s brilliant. They put me to shame! I still haven’t got lampshades in my own house because I keep changing my mind,” Jane jokes.
Working together to generate ideas and collaborating on design comes naturally to this trio of strong-minded women, but what happens when they don’t agree?
“Well we don’t always see eye to eye,” Hannah shares. “When I was thinking about having a concrete floor in the B&B, Mum and Amy were dead set against it. I knew it was the right thing though and when it was finished, they agreed it was perfect.”
“It’s true,” Jane adds. “We thought it would be awful! But it just goes to show that sometimes we have the same ideas, sometimes completely conflicting ones but the three of us always use each other as a sounding board. We’re a very intimidating trio to most of the men in our lives as we’re so close. That closeness is a lovely thing. If I was planning a major change in the shop, I would definitely ask both my girls.”
Hannah agrees, “Absolutely! If the phone rings and I see it’s Mum or Amy, even if I’m busy I’ll always answer.”
With Jane’s portfolio of clients growing and Hannah embarking on combining more of the things she loves into her business such as yoga and her own recipe book, both are proud of each other’s achievements.
“We’re very good friends and we support each other. That’s a big aspect of our relationship. We can all laugh about things together.”
As Jane and Hannah joke over a cup of tea and tell me family stories, it’s not hard to see the valuable part this friendship plays in their individual successes. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s a driving force…but would they both agree? “It’s just fun,” they giggle.
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