“We always intended to just be a website”, says Jane Rockett of online interiors emporium Rockett St George, “we couldn’t see the point of having a shop when you have an unlimited market online - and sitting in a shop all day was not feasible in our lives at that time”. With roots in PR, Jane and her business partner Lucy St George have always worked with the press - the first bit of coverage when they launched six and a half years ago was in Vogue, something she puts down to “sheer luck”, but which conveniently put them on the map very quickly.
Selfridges have since asked whether they want to do a concession in the lower ground floor of the department store, but the duo decided the time and energy could be better put to use in doing a catalogue. So, this spring they produced their first catalogue - having always said they’d never do one as they’d previously put all their budget into PR and promotion - and found it “thoroughly enjoyable”. Photographed by Jane and styled by Lucy St George and Annie Redfern, all in-house, it is more of a styled look-book than a catalogue as it doesn’t feature everything they sell. It got a huge response from both customers and press.
Their dark and moody look is distinctive. In a sea of all-white websites their black background - which they were advised against doing, but did it because “if Chanel can have one so can we” - stands out. It’s become their brand colour to the point where items not shot on a black background don’t sell as well. And, yes, for the record, Jane’s sitting room walls are a very dark charcoal grey, but her kitchen is white.
Who are you? Jane Rockett & Lucy St George of online shop 'Rockett St George'
Where can we find you? www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk
Describe your store in five words: Dynamic, unique, strong, edgy & seductive.
What makes you different? We stand out from other high-street shops because of the products we have on offer. We source and buy unusual and often bespoke items that are out-of-the-ordinary and make a statement. It can be risky choosing a really quirky product, but our vast customer base seem to love it and usually its a case of the weirder and wilder the better.
How you decide what makes the cut? If we love it, and it's priced well - then we go for it. we try to be as diverse as possible in choosing the right products for our customers.
What were you doing before you did this? Jane: I used to work in PR before I had children. The industry has changed a lot, but it still helped us a lot when Rockett St George really started to take off. Lucy: I was a florist for many years and loved it.
If you were starting again what advice would you give yourself? Jane: I would say life is what you make it.
What are you most proud of? Lucy: There have been many proud moments in the past six years, from seeing our name on 100 rolls of packing tape to travelling the world in search of unique products for our online collection. Team that with working with my best friend and its been a great laugh. Jane: Our meeting with Selfridges also sticks in my mind as a very exciting and proud moment.
Do you have a favourite thing in the store right now? Lucy: Definitely the Leather Dining Chairs, they're amazing. Jane: This time of year I love buying tea light holders - my favourite at the moment is the Little Silver Tea Light. Oh and I also love the Star Studded Stool.
What's hot for 2014? Anything metallic - copper, bronze, silver & gold will be winners for SS14 - try our Metallic Side Tables, a beautiful Bronze Swan Vase, or Copper Light Fitting with flex. Neon is also staying strong for next year - our neon pink candles look really amazing on a dinner party table.
Every Wednesday 'Indie of the week' celebrates the best independent stores around. These places sell interesting and varied collections of design-related things you don't see everywhere else. They may support young or local designers or be great at finding unique things from around the world. By thinking a little more creatively about what they stock they are fighting the bland homogenisation of so much of the high street. And since I'm down with the realities of modern life, online only stores count too, because a beautiful and easy to use website is just as delightful an encounter in cyberspace.
Do you you have a favourite store? I'd love to hear from you.