With six children between them and a background in interiors, Katy Higginson and Wendy Cooke know a thing or two about how to strike a balance between style and practicality when it comes to interiors. Their business, Reroom, offers complete ‘room packages’ for children’s bedrooms, so that you once you’ve picked a theme such as ‘Fairies’ or ‘Dinosaurs’, they’ve done all the hard work for you. Sara Walker finds out how it’s done.
SW: So how did it all start? How did you get the original idea?
WC: I have worked in interiors in various capacities since graduating with a business degree in the late 1990s. For the 15 years before starting Reroom, I worked at a company who designed interiors for the mass market. The competition was fierce, so we had to make sure we had our eye on the high-end trends at all times and try to spot which would be commercially viable and have some longevity. We then had to interpret these for various interiors products to try and make them work for our commercial client.
The design team there were amazing and I had the pleasure of covering for the design director while she was on leave with her two lovely children. Since having my own three, I took things a bit easier until they were old enough for me to be able to focus and commit time to the Reroom project.
KH: My background is in marketing. I left school and went straight into work while studying marketing with the Chartered Institute of Marketing. In those days online marketing wasn’t even a consideration. I remember someone mentioning email and it taking an age to get my head round how that could possibly work! I moved fully into online marketing 15 years ago and have been working on websites ever since.
I love the dynamic nature of online business and the speed at which it evolves. It’s always interesting! I have worked for web agencies as a project manager and SEO specialist as well as helping local businesses with pay-per-click advertising and social marketing. I started working for myself five years ago, mainly to give me flexibility to work around having three very active children.
Wendy and I met eight years ago when our daughters started at school together. We always got on well and have skills that complement each other. (Wendy is very organised and efficient, I am a bit scatty but quite creative and know the ins and outs of website design.) We have always got on really well and have a similar work ethic as well as a similar home life. Both of our husbands have their own business and we both have three children.
We also fully understand, appreciate (and often forgive) each other’s quirks which always helps when working in close proximity to each other. Our youngest children are also best buddies. My little boy and Wendy’s youngest daughter are both eight and are both typical third children and they get on wonderfully. We are hoping that one day they’ll get married!
SW: Right, so how does it work? Do you have to order a whole package, or can you pick individual items?
WC & KH: We want our customers to be able to come to us and buy items for their rooms by theme rather than hunting around. They can also purchase by type. If they love what we’ve done they can buy the complete room as an item and add on extras required such as an extra blind.
The customer needs to make sure the products fit the rooms, although we do have plans to ease this process in the future and we are very open to requests for different sizing, colours etc. We have started with a few rooms so we can test our supply base delivery partners etc before we grow further.
We have tried hard to design the rooms so that they will last a number of years and where we didn’t find a perfect item from our supply base, we found local suppliers to have the items made for us. Whenever we can we try to source from UK manufacturers.
SW: How do you come up with the room theme ideas? Do your children help with ideas? What themes have they chosen for their own rooms?
WC & KH: When we decided that we wanted to start with a certain number of rooms we chose to keep them timeless. Rooms we felt were something we would have loved as children as much as our children love them. Our youngest two were the reason we started the business, trying to decorate their rooms in a style that was neither matchy or uncoordinated because the pieces were by different designers. So far, the mermaid room seems to be popular with our customers. Our fairy wall mural is also popular, especially in the States. In fact, we’ve seen a lot of orders from America.
SW: I really like the ‘one stop shop’ approach – as far as you’re aware, are you the only people doing this at the moment in the UK?
WC & KH: When we were deciding on a business name – which took longer than any of the designs – we were looking at the ‘room in a box’ approach and obviously did a lot of research into this. We are the only company at our price point who offer this service at the moment.
SW: Could you tell me about one of the products that you’ve had made specially?
WC & KH: This is a hard one to choose, we love the guys who make our shelves – their reaction to our ideas on the shop floor is hilarious! They are used to more standard shelving as you can imagine. The upholsterers are the ultimate professionals and make such beautiful products but we think it’s going to have to be the rugs. The thought of having a personalised rug really made our day!The rugs are made to a really high standard at a local factory and then hand carved in house by someone who has worked there for about 40 years. Being able to choose colours, see our designs coming to life and then seeing the finished product in a room is such a good feeling.
SW: Would you eventually like to roll the concept out to other rooms?
WC & KH: We are brimming with ideas and have to rein ourselves in! We are currently trying to bulk up our offering as we have found some new suppliers who offer the loveliest products. It’s quite a job adding products so we have sectioned off some time to get the site to a stage where we are happy with the choice on there. We’re also bundling up some items to give discounts if people are buying multiple items.
We absolutely intend to go into trend-led rooms, such as Glam Luxe lounges for adults or Urban rooms for teenagers. And we keep seeing llamas – now that’s a tempting one too!
For more information about Reroom and their products and services, visit www.reroom.co.uk.
All images (c) Reroom 2018; main image shows Space Launch bedroom.5