Need a little Christmas inspo for your home before Santa comes to town? Look no further than Rebecca Udall. Rebecca is the creator and founder of the self-titled homeware brand. Launched only six months ago, the brand specialises in gorgeous, ornate bed and table linens to jazz up your home this Christmas. I was lucky enough to sit down for a chat with her this week. We both hope you enjoy the interview!
Welcome Rebecca! I am always curious to find out how people have got to where they are now. Could you start by telling me a bit about your childhood?
I got my first Saturday job at 13 working at my local stables. I think it’s really important to learn discipline when you’re young. I missed out on social events and it was tough on really cold, wet days but it’s done me no harm.
Subsequently I had two jobs during my A levels (not my smartest decision), but it helped me to realise my passions early on in a more meaningful way, rather than through career advisors at school. I worked for an event caterer as a teenager and loved how wedding breakfasts were executed. It made me appreciate how a meal can be so much more than a meal.
That’s a brilliant experience to have growing up…
The ethos of the caterers was exceptional, unpretentious food; locally sourced seasonal food cooked simply, but so beautifully. I believe this has influenced my product strategy: buy less, better, provenance, sustainability and ensure that luxury is luxury for all.
How do you feel that your childhood has influenced you today?
I was taught strong morals as a child, which has definitely come through in my brand; I would never sell something I wouldn’t buy myself, and everything is sourced with consideration to the makers and environment.
That is something that drew me to your brand right away. Do you think you always had an appetite for business?
I don’t think any of my family are surprised I’ve started a business. I would set up a beauty salon or a shop in my room when I was a child and sell to my sister (sometimes even taking her things to sell them back to her as I knew she’d want them). Brutal!
How did you get started in the home industry?
When I graduated from university, I got a job in a bed & amp in the bath linen buying department. I was passionate about interior design and home styling from my late teens, so I was set on getting a job in a homeware buying department. I felt it would allow me the ideal mix of creative and commercial business skills.
So, when did you decide to start up Rebecca Udall and why?
My boyfriend’s mum was struggling to find exceptional bed linen at a fair price as they are sold through low footfall luxury outlets that warrant high margins or, via wholesale to department stores.
From working in bed linen buying and luxury fashion, I knew the mark-ups on production. Whilst I believe there will always be a market for buying in this way, I also believe that, in the digital age, there is a savvy luxury customer that wants to buy luxury items at non-luxury prices, which is feasible for the business.
I listened to a lot of founder story podcasts of disruptive brands, which helped to refine my idea and give me the final bit of confidence I needed to press ‘GO’. Table linens, of course, pair well with bed linens. I was set on including this in my launch offering with the notable increase in tablescapes popularity. It also allows for a bit more creativity and colour!
Has working with influencers been key to the brand strategy?
My business only launched officially six months ago so I’ve been trialling a few different marketing areas since then, but yes; it will definitely be key in my marketing going forward. I will be looking to build relationships with a range of influencers and not just tablescape influencers either.
What is your favourite thing about having started Rebecca Udall?
Doing something that is so “me” that I am so passionate about. It makes for a much more fulfilling existence, even if the hours are longer, with a lot at stake. I’ve also met so many other incredible founders already, which I never expected, and it is a complete bonus of the job. Not commuting three hours a day is also bliss!
Absolutely! What would you say is the best part of your job?
When people get genuinely excited about your brand, are delighted with your product and service, and take their time to give feedback. Otherwise, the variety of work: styling, product sourcing, finance, strategy, to the various areas of marketing: PR, digital marketing and working with influencers.
What is your absolute favourite piece that you have ever created?
Something that I can’t announce just yet… I’ve been having it sampled for a year now and I’m hoping to finalise it very soon; ready for next Summer.
I can’t wait for that! What were the biggest challenges you faced in starting up a fashion accessories homewares business?
It’s hard when it’s just yourself and you have so much on the priority list.
What makes Rebecca Udall stand out?
Design, customisation, value, ethics and quality. Plus, customer service with a smile and genuine appreciation, always! I try to bring a personal touch to online retail, as best I can.
What has been your biggest “pinch me” moment?
So far, being featured in House & Garden magazine. It is one of my favourite publications and was definitely on my “wish list” when I launched.
It’s one of my favourite publications too! So, what inspires you?
So much: fashion and interior designers, the countryside in North Yorkshire where I live, flowers, antiques, the seasons, even my client’s homes; interiors that are different to your own can be so inspiring. Travel is also key! I think when you work in a creative environment you do see the world differently, in a really positive way. You’re always seeking new inspiration.
Definitely! Can you walk me through a typical day in your life?
It really does differ so much that I couldn’t describe one! I could be doing anything from packing and posting out orders, bookkeeping, product development and sourcing, researching packaging, content strategy, photography, website development.
A real mix! Do you think you have a work/life balance?
At the moment, no. But I don’t think any new business owners can truthfully say that they do at the six-month mark.
What words do you live by?
Always follow your passion. If you are the best baker, gardener or dancer in the world, for example, you will do well. Enjoy it!
Always have integrity and gratitude and be optimistic. I couldn’t run a business unless I knew it was doing something positive for my makers and customers. I want to look back and be proud that I did things fairly.
I love that! So, what’s next for Rebecca Udall?
A larger product offering within current categories and new ones. Bolder and more original designs now that I have built my confidence and attained more detailed customer feedback. I am also looking at some collaborations for next year. For the rest, you’ll have to wait and see!