Hannah Russell, Best selling author, award winning business woman, charity ambassador, Wildlife & conservation warrior all based at her small holding in the Yorkshire Dales….
My life growing up was surrounded by animals, it was obvious from an early age I was going to be horsey mad, simply from donkey rides at the beach when visiting family in Scarborough. At six years old I got my first pony ‘Badger’ and the love for animals didn’t stop there. Living in the Dales I am surrounded by a strong farming community and family who are based in the agricultural industry. From feeding newborn lambs, walking the family dogs and pony rides my ambition for animals and the outdoors thrived, being outside with the animals allowed me to appreciate the beauty of the landscape and the lifestyle that accompanied it which can be seen throughout my business to this day.
When it comes to an assortment of animals, I don’t shy away from a large herd which appears to be growing each month, I’ve just started getting my Valais black nose sheep ready for the tup to arrive in the months ahead and hoping for some lambs in spring 2023. I currently have a list of encompassed sheep, horses, chickens, dogs, rabbits, fish, goats and guinea pigs which all reside at my farm here in Yorkshire, most of my work centres heavily within the animal kingdom and will continue to grow in the years ahead with a visitor’s centre set to open here in 2023.
Walking hand in hand with my love for nature and business flare, since the age of seventeen, I’ve always had new ideas for original ventures and unusual ideas, I was a published author at 17 and created a series of books based on my animals which trade under the business name of ‘Hannah, Little Alf & Friends.’
The idea came about after my miniature Shetland pony Little Alf came to live with me, he came along at a time in my life when I was at a low ebb and looking for anew focus after discovering injuries in my back meaning I couldn’t pursue my dream career as a riding instructor.
Over the years Little Alf has become a well known character online and within the publishing world with over 16 best selling books published about him and merchandise range.
As well as writing my books and spending time with my animals I took an interest in interior design when I was 18 as I had a part time job at my local town in Leyburn in an interior design shop and did a two-year qualification to get qualified as an interior designer, which I then later used to open up my own interior design shop in 2018 which I ran for just over four years.
Spending so much time in the country and outdoors a lot of my work centred around designing stags, hares, birds of prey and other wildlife for wallpaper and home furnishings but in 2021 during lockdown I began to place these designs on to garments and began wearing them myself on simulated shooting days with friends and also at the country girls UK events.
I got a lot of comments online and in person with people wanting to purchase the garments which begun my journey to start a fashion brand inspired by nature, at the time of beginning to brand I was also moving away from interiors and wanted to use my designs in another way.
It got me thinking about developing a brand inspired by nature appeal of the landscapes and the colours that Yorkshire exhibits.
Not long after the brand ‘WILD & COUNTRY’ was born, it took me just over a year to finalise and launch the new clothing brand, the collection sees a contrast of apparel from Polo T-shirts, to sweatshirts and accessories all catered to be worn with versatility outdoors and on the move.
One key thing I love to promote with WILD & COUNTRY is protecting where we adventure around the countryside, I’ve worked hard to make sure all the clothing sourced is organic and made in the UK and making sure within the brand I have a sustainable mission behind it, not only is the brand empowered by nature it’s here to help spread to word to protect the environment when we are out exploring.
Throughout the clothing I use colours from the Yorkshire palette, it’s this time of year we see the final tinge of the moorland heather, and I’ve used this within the clothing, the Moorland Heather Polo shirt elevates the royalty of the colour and has been a popular purchase among customers.
My favourite design within the brand is the red kite sweatshirts as I have a special love for birds of prey, I’ve recently just completed a degree in bird of prey biology and anatomy so designing this garments was lots of fun. The red kite is also one that has been spotted many times here in Yorkshire, the swoops and dives are incredible to watch.
I’m really excited about the future for Wild & Country and have many ideas in the months ahead.
Shop the entire collection online here: https://www.wildandcountryclothing.co.uk/