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A Day in the Life …  Hannah Grievson, Sloane Stanley

Meet Hannah Grievson, Property Director at Sloane Stanley, who has transformed Chelsea’s retail and community spaces with her two decades of experience in property management. With… View Article

INTERVIEWS

A Day in the Life … Hannah Grievson, Sloane Stanley

Meet Hannah Grievson, Property Director at Sloane Stanley, who has transformed Chelsea’s retail and community spaces with her two decades of experience in property management.

With a passion for revitalising the area and a keen focus on supporting local art and culture, Hannah has skillfully balanced Chelsea’s historical charm with innovative retail experiences. Her dedication not only reflects in the vibrant community she nurtures but also in her personal commitment to Chelsea’s growth and evolution as a premier shopping destination.

Hannah, please could you share a bit about your background and how you came to be in your current role at Sloane Stanley?

I’ve been in the property industry for about 18 years now. My journey began traditionally as my family was involved in property, which led me to pursue a degree in estate management. Post-graduation, I entered the field through a graduate rotation programme, starting in valuations. However, I quickly realised I wanted more than just valuating properties; I wanted to make a significant impact on them. This ambition led me to the Portman Estate, where I spent around 6 years, and eventually to my current position at Sloane Stanley, where I have been for over a decade now!

What aspects of working in retail and specifically in Chelsea appeal to you the most?

Retail is dynamic and constantly evolving; it’s never dull. Chelsea, with its vibrant atmosphere and strong community feel, holds a special place for me. Despite initial reservations about moving out of the West End, I’ve grown to love it here, appreciating the area’s diversity and the familial vibes it attracts, from young professionals and families to individuals across all generations. Chelsea’s multicultural fabric, attracting people from around the world, and the occasional sighting of celebrities add to its unique charm and make it a truly special place to work.

Can you give us an overview of the Sloane Stanley estate and describe a typical day for you as its Property Director?

Sloane Stanley has a rich heritage, owning and managing over 250 shops and flats in Chelsea for over 300 years. Our mission is to enrich the community and bolster our businesses with a variety of support, including pop-up spaces, engaging events, and a broad spectrum of retail experiences.

In my role, my days are deeply interwoven with our diverse and vibrant community of tenants. A typical day might start with a coffee from one of our local cafes, followed by meetings with store owners to discuss marketing strategies or upcoming events. The essence of my job is about being on the ground, directly engaging with and supporting our tenants — from brainstorming sessions with new brands to troubleshooting operational challenges with long-standing businesses.

It’s this eclectic mix of interactions and the opportunity to nurture growth and innovation among our retailers that makes each day rewarding. Balancing fieldwork with administrative duties, such as planning or permit applications, my focus remains firm on the people that make Chelsea a dynamic and unique place to shop and live.

Looking towards the future, are there any exciting developments or projects on the horizon for Sloane Stanley that you can share?

We’re always looking forward, and one of our key focuses is on enhancing the vibrancy and diversity of Chelsea through interesting retail concepts. Pop-ups have been a cornerstone of our strategy, allowing us to offer fresh and dynamic experiences to the community while supporting new and emerging brands. Over the next decade, we plan to expand our pop-up programme, dedicating more spaces to short-term leases that can adapt to changing trends and consumer interests quickly. This approach not only keeps the retail landscape exciting and varied but also enables us to test new concepts that could become permanent fixtures in Chelsea.

Additionally, we’re exploring ways to integrate technology and experiential retail to create more immersive shopping experiences, further solidifying Chelsea’s reputation as a leading retail destination.

You’ve mentioned the artistic heritage of Chelsea. How does Sloane Stanley engage with the local art and culture scene to enrich the community?

Art and culture are at the heart of Chelsea’s identity and Sloane Stanley is deeply committed to nurturing this aspect of our community. We actively support the local art scene by providing spaces for exhibitions and performances, and by collaborating with institutions like the Chelsea Arts Club and local galleries. These partnerships allow us to weave art into daily life, building a sense of belonging and engagement among residents and visitors alike.

Our initiatives not only pay homage to Chelsea’s artistic heritage but also serve to spark creativity in future generations. We integrate art and culture across our estate, and this approach underpins our dedication to creating a dynamic, culturally rich environment that celebrates creativity and continues to make Chelsea a uniquely vibrant community.

What challenges do you face in maintaining the appeal and vibrancy of Chelsea’s retail environment?

Maintaining the allure and dynamism of Chelsea’s retail environment is an ongoing job. Right now, the food and beverage sector is feeling the brunt of economic uncertainties, with shifting consumer spending patterns prompting a cautious approach to discretionary spending. This environment requires us to curate a distinctive mix of businesses that can draw people to Chelsea for a variety of shopping experiences that range from traditional to more unique.

One of the strategies we’ve used to navigate these challenges is the integration of pop-up shops within our retail mix. Pop-ups serve as a dynamic tool for revitalising vacant spaces, testing new retail concepts, and offering a platform for emerging fashion brands and artisans to reach a wider audience. This approach has been particularly effective in the post-COVID market recovery, allowing us to swiftly adapt to evolving trends and consumer demands while supporting brands in gaining a foothold in the competitive retail landscape.

Plus, who doesn’t love a pop-up? They add a vibrancy to Chelsea’s unique character. These temporary spaces not only inject creativity into our retail offerings but also generate buzz and excitement, attracting both locals and visitors to explore new and diverse products. By continuously refreshing our retail lineup with pop-ups, we not only support emerging brands but also ensure that Chelsea remains a dynamic and appealing destination for shopping and dining.

Beyond the challenges of curating such a diverse mix of tenants, we also face the broader task of maintaining the historic and cultural integrity of Chelsea. Balancing modern retail demands with the preservation of the area’s heritage requires thoughtful planning and community engagement to ensure that Chelsea evolves while retaining its distinctive charm and character.

With such a rewarding job, how do you unwind and maintain a work-life balance?

Actually, I’m quite a workaholic and deeply invested in Chelsea! My downtime is often filled with community events in and around the area. However, weekends are for my dogs, my teenagers, and my ongoing house renovation project, blending personal passions with professional commitments.

It sounds like your role is not just a job but a significant part of your lifestyle. Thank you for sharing a day in your life with us, Hannah.

It’s been a pleasure, Natalie!

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