November 5, 2013

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Sheridan Mordue: An Eye for the Art of Business

By Kaylie Astin

November 5, 2013

If there’s one thing Hip & Humble owner Sheridan Mordue loves, it’s color. Customers can see it in everything she does, from her stores’ wall paint to her urban-style displays to her diverse product offerings. Mordue and her business partner (and sister), Suzette Eaton, believe that visual stimulation is essential to making their products “pop.”

Fashion is always changing, and it’s no small task for Mordue to keep on top of customer tastes. And just as color trends come and go, business is constantly changing. Whether it’s searching for new methods of advertising, navigating difficult economic climates or analyzing shopping patterns, Mordue is committed to embracing what works even when it means doing something different.

This chameleon-like philosophy has guided many of her decisions. After all, most people typically wouldn’t expect an English major like Mordue and a political science major like Easton to go into business selling shoes, lunch totes and laundry fragrances to women. But when Mordue and her sister decided to direct their latent passion for interior design into a money-making venture, they were committed to its success, even though it meant moving in a new direction.

When they opened Hip & Humble in 1999, it began as a high-end furniture and home accessories boutique in Sugar House. Gradually, it evolved into a women’s lifestyle boutique. Today, the store has three locations (Salt Lake City, Sandy and Bountiful), each with different product offerings.

That’s a lot of change, but Mordue’s flexibility and hard work has helped her thrive. When she began her business more than 14 years ago, she was willing to do whatever it took to succeed. “I always tell people that we were young enough to think we could actually do this and be successful,” she says.

Of course, her optimism alone wasn’t enough to assure success. “We were willing to work as long and hard as we needed, which was usually 80 hours a week, and we were willing to give up anything that hindered our time and money.” 

Though Mordue often wears her business hat as she makes decisions about marketing or budgets or hiring, she believes her creative side is an asset to her work, especially in her industry.

“Business is not just about the science, but about your sense of things and environments that surround your business,” she says. She finds that it’s just as important to rely on her intuition as on her business knowledge when it comes to knowing the right time to make a shift or to jump on a new trend.

And searching out new trends is a part of her job that she loves. “We find art everywhere and get a certain amount of giddiness inside when it speaks to us,” says Mordue. Her employees and customers feel the same. When she asked her employees what gift they’d like as a monthly goal incentive, they unanimously chose store gift cards.

“I still feel the same way about our business today as I did in the early years,” Mordue says. “I’m willing to work as much as I have to. I’m willing to put everything on the line for the success of my business.”

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