The cult online interiors brand Rockett St George has made their highly anticipated launch in Yorkshire this season. Bethan Andrews finds out why the county was chosen for one of their flagship store
Given that Jane Rockett excitedly beams as she tells me how wonderful and inspiring Yorkshire interiors influencers are, it’s perhaps no surprise that the leading cult interiors brand Rockett St George recently chose Yorkshire as the location for one of their few bricks and mortar stores.
Set up by Jane Rockett and Lucy St George 15 years ago, the brand’s ethos is to always provide inspiration for customers to be brave enough to express themselves creatively in their own homes. And inspiration is something that comes naturally to the duo, with their own founding of the brand an inspiring, homegrown success story. “Jane and I had been friends for a long time, we were originally mum friends, and after years of hanging out together and always discussing our own homes, interiors and ideas, we decided to pool our resources and start a business,” explains Lucy.
“We went online and I don’t think we realised quite how bold that actually was 15 years ago – it was quite early in the online shop world. Jane has a background in PR and marketing and I had a background in retail, so we pooled our own financial and personal resources and gave it a go. Fast forward to now and we’ve got 50 staff, six warehouses in Sussex, our store on Neal Street in London and our new store in Yorkshire. It’s been a wild ride!”
From the early stages of the company, it’s clear that passion for interiors and a hunger for thrifting and creativity was something that came naturally to the pair. “We both worked, had young children and had our own homes, but we didn’t have a lot of money, so we would spend our time moving our furniture around, poring through Living Etc and going to car boot sales,” smiles Jane. “We wanted to make our interiors stand out from the crowd and we noticed our friends were asking us to source things for them. There were not a lot of interiors shops out there at the time and I remember thinking, unless you’ve got an awful lot of money, where do you go for exciting interiors things? We did everything ourselves, we got SEO for Dummies, Websites for Dummies, and rang everyone up asking for advice, and we just went for it. I’d love to say we had a big business plan and investment, but we didn’t!”
It’s fair to say that the duo didn’t see the monumental success they’ve achieved coming. But Rockett knew how to put a good press release together, and their first call was from none other than Vogue. “From that point on, we bent over backwards for magazines, and we became a bit of a go-to because we were efficient and we never said no – pre smartphone, that was huge,” says Jane. “We will be ever grateful to the support from magazines.
“Our first catalogue was a real thrill and our first proper warehouse was really exciting, but being asked to write two books has been amazing,” Lucy adds about highlights from the past 15 years. “We’re really grateful for the success we’ve had and a real highlight for us is meeting our customers – we’re all like minded people, it’s like we’ve found our team. Having a concession at Liberty and being asked to do that was a really big thing for us, too.”
But it’s the new Redbrick Mill opening that the pair are desperate to shout from the rooftops and are most excited about at the moment. “Before lockdown, we did a book tour, and we were so overwhelmed by the reception we had in Manchester and Edinburgh that we said we need to be more up north,” explains Jane. “We don’t want to be faceless, we are real people and are a real brand and we want to meet customers face to face. Our launch was so amazing and was so well attended. What a great bunch of lovely, positive people in Yorkshire!”
What made the location perfect for the store? “We love the Redbrick set up and it’s a great destination homeware place,” says Lucy. “It’s unique and there’s nothing else like it in the whole country, as well as being such an amazing building. It’s like the perfect day out, you can browse round the shops and have some lunch in a really lovely environment.” For Jane, too, the opening has an added personal touch to it as well. “I’ve got a soft spot as my parents were both born in Huddersfield and my grandparents lived there so I used to visit a lot and it’s quite special for me,” she says.
What’s lovely is that the new Redbrick Mill is a constantly changing destination of inspiration for those interested in unique interiors in Yorkshire. No two months will ever be the same and the founders are incredibly involved with designing, creating and being there in person to pass on their wisdom. “We launch new products on a weekly basis on the website, so we want to reflect that,” says Jane. “We also want to make sure we hold lots of events in Yorkshire, so workshop events such as our ‘How To Decorate Your Fireplace’ that we have on in December. We have plans for talks, too, and for us to interview influencers live.”
Being close to their customers is clearly something that is incredibly important to both women, so I couldn’t help but pick their brains about the best interiors for Christmas. When it comes to decking the halls for the festive season, what would these two interior design aficionados offer as tips for decorating? “My style is probably quite maximalist, but I would say a tree with lots of baubles on, so the more the merrier is a good way to decorate,” smiles Lucy. “Fill the tree with inexpensive baubles and then splash out on a few iconic ones you love, but fill the rest with tonally coloured decorations.” For Jane, it’s all about the dining table this year. “Why not put a Christmas decoration on everyone’s plate and write their name on it. Or, get some amazing concertina paper trees and put them down the centre with some fairylights. Basically, pick a theme and go for it – but incorporate Christmas into every room in the house!”
And their favourite Rockett St George products to look out for this season? “I love our decorations, they are so unique and so fun,” says Lucy. “I love seeing people picking them up in store and squealing with delight because they are just so unique. We have a range with people like Madonna, David Bowie and Elton John, so if you can imagine having a Christmas tree filled with icons!” For Jane, it’s about the more simple decorations. “We’ve got these honeycomb ball decorations and stars and they are quite inexpensive, but they are big, bold and bright so you can get carried away for not a lot of money. I love fairylights too, I think the more you have, the more Christmassy it feels.”
Finally, what do the duo foresee happening with interiors trends next year? “I think we are going to see a lot more colour next year,” says Jane. “We need to create cheer and happiness. People are finding things hard at the moment and colour helps with the mood and promotes happiness, so I think there will be lots more rich colours as opposed to the neutrals. I’m excited for that, I like change!”
Redbrick Mill, 218 Bradford Road, Batley, WF17 6JL