A CUP OF TEA WITH: ROCKETT ST GEORGE FOUNDERS JANE AND LUCY
Rockett St George burst onto the homewares scene a couple of years ago, with all the style and visual strength of some of the most impactful brands. As soon as I discovered them I loved what they were about. Not only do they have a brilliantly curated selection of personality driven pieces but they know what they like and boy do they know who they are selling to. If you like my blog and what it's about then for SURE you will love RSG, so I wanted to find out a little bit more about the two inspiring ladies behind the brand, and the ups and down of starting your own online interiors business.
Jane (Rockett) and Lucy (St George) - how did you meet?
We met at a fancy dress party. I was wearing a red sequin dress, a blonde wig and a sash saying 'Miss Leading'. Lucy was a beautiful funky fairy. The next time we met Lucy had no idea who I was!
Where did the concept of Rockett St George come from?
It was 100% Passion. We both loved interiors and spent all of our time looking for unique treasures for our homes. My history is in marketing and PR, Lucy’s in retail. We came up with the idea to join forces on holiday whilst lying on the beach - many good plans are hatched on holiday when you have time to think.
What is it about interiors that you both love?
With interior design you can transform the atmosphere of a room and how people feel in that environment. Any emotion can be translated into interior design. It is possible to create a room that is sexy, another which is peaceful, and another which is stimulating...
This can also change from day to night with clever lighting options.
What's an average day like for you?
Every day is different. Obviously the nuts and bolt of the days are the same, but we have a great team of pickers and packers, customer services and a wonderful management team. Every member has a wonderful personality and is team RSG through and through. We hope this is felt with any contact our customers have with any member of the team.
RSG has a very distinctive brand and curated range of products. Why is this important to you?
We wanted to stand out from the crowd. When buying homeware for ourselves we found it difficult to find interesting and amusing items and would spend hours at car boot sales. We thought there must be others like us to. Our products are for the people who want to express themselves creatively through their homes.
When choosing brands to stock in your store, how do you make the decision? Is there a criteria or do you just go with your gut?
Gut and price! Lucy and I agree on everything we buy, but it is important that items are at an accessible price.
In your eyes, are trends important?
Yes and no. It is important to recognise them and then do it your way! Every home is unique and it shows the personality and character of all who live within it. Our customers are often creative individuals so every product we sell ends up being unique depending on the home it goes to.
So many people think about starting a business but are stumped by the financial commitment (me included). How did you get the business off the ground financially?
We invested our own savings and did everything ourselves. We had £4,000 of which the majority was spent on stock. We had the buying, marketing and photography skills, then the rest we taught ourselves. We learned a lot very quickly about where time, effort and finances were spent. We are now lucky enough to have a great customer services team, dispatch department, marketing team and operations manager which gives Lucy and I the opportunity to focus on product development and marketing the company. Now the finances go towards sourcing great products!
What have been the hardest parts of running RSG?
Being small and therefore being charged a premium by couriers, banks etc. As you get larger you are given better rates. These companies should be more savvy and see the potential in businesses and support them. y advice would be to not spend too much on things you can do yourself - things like web design, product copy, blogs and even photography can all be done in house if you know how.
What qualities do you need to have in order to run a business like RSG?
Enthusiasm and the ability to embrace change. We wear a lot of metaphoric hats. We will be unloading shipping containers one minute and planning collections the next. It’s a very varied role! We look up to Frida Kahlo. She overcame such pain to be creative and live such a full life. She is fearless and unique.
Being surrounded by so much creativity, do you think about becoming designers yourselves?
A lot of our furniture is RSG designed and we have plans for more collections next year including our own Wallpaper designs. We have a few projects coming up with a fabulous hotel group as well as a Christmas pop up in Argyll St with a high street fashion retailer. We really want to get to treat our customers and thank them for their continued support.
What is your advice to anyone thinking about starting an online interiors / homewares retailer?
Be brave and be different.
Check out the full range of design led products with a unique edge over at Rockett St George. They're an absolute fave of mine and I think they'll soon become one of yours too.