Happy New Year everyone! To kick off the new year (and new decade) this week, I chatted with the co-founders of Rockett St George about all things interiors.
Rockett St George is an online homeware emporium that channels quirks and brings personality to your home. We hope you enjoy the conversation with Jane Rockett and Lucy St George!
Welcome ladies! To start, could you tell me a bit about your childhood and how you feel that has influenced you today?
Lucy: My childhood home was fabulous; my parents were antique dealers, hippies and great fun. Our house was filled with amazing objects and our playroom housed a vintage pinball machine and a swing hanging from the ceiling! I also had Liberty fabric curtains in my bedroom and a matching dress made with the remnants; very House of Hackney, but also great for hide-and-seek.
Jane: My Mum was always experimenting with our interiors. My favourite room was our bathroom which involved an incredible avocado corner bath with deep pile shaggy white carpet…this was well before the days of fake tan! I was always given free rein and allowed to do what I wanted in my bedroom. I changed the colour regularly and even had a Ziggy Stardust lightning strip painted across one wall!
It seems like the instinct was always there for both of you. So, how did you actually get started in the home industry?
Jane: My background is in PR and photography, but Lucy and I have always shared a passion for Interiors. We would spend hours poring over magazines and trying to get the look, but on a very small budget. This is where our training came from. Without realising it we knew where everything was from, where it was made and what we would like to pay for it as customers.
Lucy: I was a florist for 10 years and worked all over London for an events company that used to host celebrity parties and corporate events. This gave me the passion and ability to transform a room with flowers, foliage and props. Sometimes the venues were the same, but you could create a different look and feel to the space with a few’ wow-factor’ items.
So, when did you decide to start up Rockett St George and why?
Jane: Lucy and I spent a lot of time at antique and car boot fairs, finding treasures for our homes. Friends and family would ask us all the time to find exciting items for them, so we had that lightbulb moment and decided to open Rockett St George as an online store. Our original purpose for starting Rockett St George was to break free from chain stores’ offerings by sourcing unique, quirky and authentic pieces, bursting with individuality. This remains true in everything that we do and, is as important now as it ever has been.
Lucy: We were buying and selling items bought from eBay and car boot sales and selling one-off items, but we would end up making one person happy and disappointing more. So, we decided to visit markets, designers and manufacturers on the hunt for lovely unique items. We quickly realised that a traditional shop wouldn’t work for us with the commitment of our families, so we decided to go online and set up the Rockett St George website. Ten years later, our passion project has grown beyond our wildest dreams into a fully-fledged business!
That is so inspiring to hear. Has working with influencers been key to the brand strategy?
Yes, influencer marketing has grown massively across all sectors in the last few years. For us, it’s a really exciting opportunity to work with creators and to see how they would style our products in their homes. Our customer home posts are always really popular on our Instagram, and so similarly, influencer marketing is a really effective way to introduce our products to new audiences and to offer unique styling ideas and interior design inspiration.
What is your favourite thing about having started Rockett St George?
Lucy: We have been on an amazing journey and it has completely surpassed my wildest imagination of what we thought we would achieve! We have met and worked with the best people over the years and have created a workspace that feels like a family. We also have the most loyal customers; we meet them regularly and they are simply wonderful.
Jane: I agree with Lucy. We also get to work with each other every day and have travelled the world searching for treasures and gaining inspiration!
That sounds incredible! So, what would you say is the best part of your job?
Lucy: The people; we are blessed to have a great team working with us. I also love meeting our customers as they are a great source of inspiration! Apart from all the exciting jobs that come with running an online store and having a concession at Liberty London, we often work on collaborative projects, host events, meet with suppliers and attend trade shows. No two days are the same!
Jane: The creative element of selecting and designing products. I love seeing an idea come to life and it is incredibly satisfying to make beautiful things.
I bet! So, what is your absolute favourite product within the range?
Lucy: I’m currently loving our new hand-painted furniture range. It’s part of our own-brand collection, which we will be expanding over the next few years and is simply stunning.
Jane: For me it’s impossible to pick just one. At the moment, we have an influx of beautiful rattan furniture with earthy tones and natural materials that I love and know would sit well within my own home. Natural textures have been a top trend in interiors for some time but as we look to increase our connection with the natural world around us, we’re expecting to see more and more of these beautiful organic influences in our homes.
I love the idea of using natural materials in homeware too. What were your biggest challenges in starting up a homeware business?
Lucy: All of it! Beyond knowing the products that we loved, photographing them and writing copy for the website; the rest was a steep learning curve! We did it all ourselves, so we needed to learn on the job. From talking brands into letting us become a stockist, to branding, web design, SEO, sorting payment gateways, tax and VAT, stock control, packaging, negotiating with couriers and learning the legality of selling online and customer returns policies. These are all things you need to have in place before you can even sell one product!
There’s so much to think about…What would you say makes Rockett St George stand out?
Lucy: We have always had a bold look that our customers love and have gained an amazing, loyal following over the years that we’re really proud of. We are fast-moving and always looking for standout, showstopping pieces that are unique and add personality to your home. And if we can’t find it, we’ll design it!
That’s so brilliant! What has been your biggest “pinch me” moment?
Lucy: Having a concession at Liberty London. It’s a dream come true and I still get giddy with excitement every time I enter the store.
Jane: It has got to be launching our concession at Liberty and publishing our first book, Rockett St George: Extraordinary Interiors. We are also super excited to have launched our second book, Extraordinary Interiors in Colour, in October of last year!
I love your books. They are gorgeous! What inspires you?
Jane: We are inspired by travel, history and other people’s homes. Whilst writing our books we were lucky enough to spend time in such stunning and inspiring homes and, were bursting with ideas after shooting them all! We also love an old film or well styled TV programme; I am currently obsessed with the kitchens in The Handmaid’sTale and, the house in A Single Man has to be one of my all-time favourites.
Lucy: Vintage items mostly; things I lust after but know I will never own. Antique items are often super expensive, and one-offs mean only one lucky person can have one.
I’ve always been drawn to antiques and vintage as well. Do you think you have a work/life balance?
Jane: Yes, however, it is a constant juggle!
Lucy: Yes, this hasn’t always been the case but currently, YES!
That’s great! What words do you live by?
Jane: I Can, I Will, Watch Me!
Lucy: Work hard… Play hard.
Yes! So, what’s next for Rockett St George?
Jane: We are focusing all our energy on designing our own products. We want to offer our customers really unique and beautiful products for their homes at the right price. We have lots of exciting pieces in development and can’t wait to show them!
Lucy: We are moving to a permanent concession space within Liberty London, working on a very exciting mews housing project development in London and, will be holding a series of exciting events to meet more of our lovely, loyal and fantastic customers.
Like what you read? Head to Rockett St George to shop. Or if you fancy checking out some previous interviews you can find them here. All images are via Rockett St George.