Hannah Grievson, property director at Sloane Stanley, on how she got started in property, her favourite book and podcast, her best and worst purchases and the historical figure she’d most like to befriend.
How did you join the property industry?
It is almost a family business. My father was a surveyor, my grandfather was a surveyor and I expect my children will be surveyors! When I was younger, I was adamant that I would do anything but property. However, after trying a few other jobs, I realised why so many of my family had chosen property as a career.
What does your job entail?
Sloane Stanley is more than 300 years old. It started with the purchase of land in what was rural Chelsea and has remained a family business ever since, owning and managing more than 250 shops and flats on the King’s Road and Fulham Road. As property director, I am involved in nearly every aspect of the business, but most of my time is spent managing the commercial units.
What do you like most about the property industry?
The variety, as every day is different and there are so many interesting aspects to the industry. At Sloane Stanley, I deal with everything from lease renewals to planning and development. I also like that property involves finding out about other people’s businesses and lives. For a lot of our tenants, it is their first experience of bricks-and-mortar retail and it is fantastic to watch them thrive and grow.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The length of time it takes to complete a letting or a purchase.
What would you change about the property industry?
The image. You can always guarantee that the villain in a TV drama or film will be a developer or an estate agent.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
It has been a difficult few years for the property industry, but I am proud to say Sloane Stanley has managed to buck the trend. Despite many hurdles – Brexit, internet shopping and Covid, to name a few – we have continued to improve the quality of our retailers and F&B operators, and we are proud to currently have 100% occupancy.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I would say all the work I have done at Sloane Stanley but, specifically, two moments stand out for me. First is the decision we made several years ago to move toward a ‘shop-on-demand’ leasing strategy centred on pop-up shops and short-term flexible leases. This has allowed the estate to flexibly respond to changing consumer preferences, creating a more relevant, localised offer of independent and established retailers for our community. And second is our introduction of turnover rents to help support our tenants throughout the pandemic. This not only ensured every business on the estate survived successive lockdowns, it also cultivated a real sense of community in the area.
What do you value in people?
Enthusiasm, honesty, integrity and a strong work ethic.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
My biggest piece of advice would be stay up to date and continually educate yourself. If you want to become indispensable, absorb as much as you can, talk to as many people as possible and expose yourself to all aspects of the industry. You can never stop learning.