ABOVE: Hannah Aykroyd, founder of Aykroyd & Co.; a wisteria adorned residence with blue plaque in SW7

Property specialist Hannah Aykroyd founded her company Aykroyd & Co in the heart of Kensington five years ago, advising clients on buying the very best properties in Prime Central London – often off-market – and she lives with her young family nearby in South Kensington. Here we discuss the launch of Hannah’s company, her typical client profile and how she runs the day-to-day management of her boutique firm:

ABOVE: Contemporary architecture is positioned alongside traditional in the prime areas of central London…

Our core focus is Prime Central London so this is predominantly the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Mayfair, Belgravia, Knightsbridge and up to Regent’s Park. I live in South Kensington so I very much live and breathe the areas we cover…”

Hannah Aykroyd, founder of Aykroyd & Co.

ABOVE: A pretty residential cobbled mews in the heart of South Kensington, SW7

NS: ‘Hannah, it was very brave of you to step out into the highly competitive property market in central London; what prompted you to take the risk?”

HA: ”I felt there was a gap in the market for an independent buying agency to provide exceptional service, focusing on the prime and super prime London market. And importantly, we never sell and this ensures there’s never any conflict whatsoever so our clients have full confidence their best interests are protected at all times…”

ABOVE: Hannah, centre, with team members Edward Towers, left, and Chloe Leefe, right

ABOVE: Red brick elegance in Mayfair, W1; private dining clubs and designer shopping are on the doorstep…

NS: ”Which residential areas do you focus on in particular?”

HA: ”Our core focus is Prime Central London, so this is predominantly the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Mayfair, Belgravia, Knightsbridge and up to Regent’s Park. However, we have expanded over the last two years to cover North London as well and we completed very recently on an incredible house with a huge garden and pool in Highgate for American clients…”

ABOVE: Shopping in Pavilion Road, SW3; a blazing sunset over the church spires of Chelsea, SW10

We were ranked in the Top 10 Buying Agents across the UK in the first year of trading, and we’ve held on to this – for me, having a stellar reputation for treating clients with ‘kid gloves’ and giving superior service is the best accolade…”

Hannah Aykroyd, founder of Aykroyd & Co.

ABOVE: Hyde Park and Kensington Park Gardens are central to the area Aykroyd & Co operates in; the Royal Albert Hall is the scene of classical entertainment all year round

ABOVE: Sloane Square, home to the famous Colbert brasserie and Ralph Lauren; boutique shopping on Sloane Street, SW3

ABOVE: Hannah Aykroyd; the newly redeveloped Battersea Power Station; a magnolia chandelier in the window of ‘Cox London’ interiors showroom on Pimlico Road, SW1

NS: ”Are you exploring any other areas, other than central? There are so many beautiful family properties further west, close to the Thames…”

HA: ”Yes! We have a new buying agent, Abi, which enables us to expand into South West London to cover key areas such as Richmond, Barnes, Clapham etc. I’ve been looking to expand into there for a while but it’s such a ‘people-focused’ business, I’ve been happy to wait to find the right fit. Abi’s a Chartered Surveyor – which I hold in high regard, as it provides us with that all-important professional angle when advising clients on what will be possibly be the biggest investment of their lives…”

ABOVE: Kensington Palace across Round Pond; the Royal Albert Hall pictured from the south

NS: ”Who else supports you other than Abi? Do you have a large team?”

HA: ”I have a highly experienced and tight-knit team made up of our excellent buying agents – Edward Towers MRICS and Chloe Leefe – whom I have been working with now for a long time. I also have incredible support in two Personal Assistants – one whom has worked with me since inception and handles the discreet business side, has full access to my finances and my personal life – and the other whom I rely on for all day-to-day business and client work. Both are invaluable and enable me to focus on clients, managing the business and also my family. The business is wholly mine which I’m very proud of but it can also be a lonely place, so I also have a handful of consultants, mentors, business coaches to rely on who keep me sane!”

ABOVE: An early morning view over Chelsea Bridge to SW8; a silhouette of Charles Harrod Court on the Thames at Barnes, SW13

Many of our clients are either repeat clients, kindly introduced via past clients or referred to us through friends. Equally, we are also referred a lot by the leading private banks, law firms, family offices and trust companies…”

Hannah Aykroyd, founder of Aykroyd & Co.

ABOVE: Classic car showrooms, antique dealers and art galleries are a feature of the unique SW area of London…

NS: ”What would you say is your typical client profile?”

HA: ”We have a huge range of clients, which I much prefer; I love meeting new people and really understanding what they need and want out of a property and then going on to source that for them. We work with a large number of British clients who already know ‘inside out’ the areas we operate in but, importantly, they don’t know the property market itself, therefore we act as a guide. We also work with a broad spectrum of international clients, with a large proportion from Europe, the Middle East and the US…”

ABOVE: Detail from a 10 bedroom mansion house staged for sale by City & Beach Home in SW7; a tree sculpture at the entrance to the luxury development Chelsea Barracks, SW3

NS: ”And how does the service you offer differ from that of others? There are a few competitors in your field…”

HA: ”In the case of Aykroyd & Co, we’re fully independent so there’s no business-to-business conflict whatsoever, we’re utterly discreet – we never disclose clients’ names or disclose details of a property we’ve acquired – and we ONLY sit on the buying side. This last point ensures all doors are open to us on the most ‘hush hush’ of off-market opportunities…”

NS: ”As a woman in business, what would you say are your biggest challenges and how do you surmount them?”

HA: ”I have a young family which can be quite a juggle whilst running a business, so it’s trying to somehow maintain balance in every aspect. Surrounding myself with excellent people – from our incredible nanny to the team – and delegating properly while entrusting and empowering everyone to do their job well is critical. And remembering to breathe!”

ABOVE: Styling in an apartment at Trevor Square, SW3; ’Tarka’, Hannah’s adorable wire haired daschund puppy

NS: ”Yes.. remembering to breathe! Do you practise yoga to unwind or work out at a gym?”

HA: ”The best form of relaxation for me has to be playing tennis or padel; I represent two London clubs for tennis and captain one of the teams, and I picked up padel last year, which I’m loving. Otherwise, it’s having a long soak in a bath or cuddles with our puppy, ‘Tarka’ (above, right), who’s a miniature wire haired daschund…”

ABOVE: Hyde Park Tennis Club; horse riding along Carriage Drive, Hyde Park…

NS: ”In the current post-pandemic climate, what criteria do the majority of your clients currently view as non-negotiable?’

HA: ”In this post-Covid world, most clients now really focus on a separate study, if not two, and a large garden with a south or west facing aspect. There’s also often a wish to be on a garden square or communal garden, hence areas such as Notting Hill and Holland Park have been particularly sought after over the last few years…”

ABOVE: A property on the border of Holland Park and Notting Hill; a home study in a contemporary residence in Notting Hill designed by architect John Pawson, furnished and styled by City & Beach Home

NS: ”How do you set about marketing and cultivating new clients?”

HA: ”We’re really lucky in that a lot of clients are either repeat clients or kindly introduced via past clients or referred to us through friends. Equally, we are also referred a lot by the leading private banks, law firms, family offices and trust companies…”

ABOVE: Planted meadow at Chelsea Barracks, SW3; white roses fill the path at a private residence in Notting Hill, W11

NS: ”Finally, Hannah, what do you consider to be the most positive aspects of moving into Spring 2023?”

AH: “The start of new year always brings positivity and hope, and the chance to reset and make big changes. This often involves property, and so it really is the perfect time of year for us to start a client’s search to ensure we have them safely moved into their dream home in 2023…”

CONTACT: http://www.aykroydco.com

ABOVE: A mews house in Knightsbridge; LOVE in the heart of Mayfair, London W1

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