Theres no doubt about it sunglasses have certainly established themseleves as a prominant statement to any outfit and were all always looking for the perfect pair as summer approaches but with so many different brands and styles you need one place you can rely on to bring you stylish and affordable pairs year in, year out... and we've found them for you ladies. Ruby Rocks brings statement peice sunglasses to another level and we sat down with their founder to talk about where it all began and how the designing process goes.
Tell those who are reading this that might not have heard about Ruby Rocks, who you are. We started in 2006. I was pregnant with our second child. We designed the collection and showcased our collection at the Margin tradeshow in London in Feb 2007. Drapers Record were there and took some photos and the phone started ringing on the day the magazine was went out. We started with clothing being our core product, we have added sunglasses, scarves, fascinators, bags, footwear, & jewellery to our collections over the years. Ruby Rocks has never been shy but always bold and brave. As a brand tend not to follow trends but we set them in order to stand out from the crowd. We thrive on being creative with our prints & silhouettes & through being fashion forward & adventurous we have great customer feedback & many fans. We love reading all the positive reviews from our customers especially online and from emails about how impressed they are with their new wardrobe additions. We like to promote a joy and zest for life through quirky fashion that’s affordable and most importantly wearable!
We have decided to open our store up to some other lovely brand who we know and have worked with over the years.
Our inspirations... Ruby Rocks main inspiration is in making beautiful pieces that bring joy to our customers. We try to incorporate ethical and fair trade principles in our production and we use traditional methods of printing such as hand batiking which gives Ruby Rocks collections that individual look. Classic tailoring is given a modern twist and inspiration is drawn from vintage and folk pieces from around the world mixed with an intuitive grasp of future trends and modern culture. Ruby Rocks as a brand and on a personal level values and promotes ethical practices in all its endeavours, we have a sense of responsibility and culpability towards all our employees as well as our environment and of course our customers. We are not mass producing throw away items but making to order high quality products in an environment that is pleasant to work in and nurtures creativity. We are delighted to say that we are PETA approved. Not to mention...we've also been nominated for the Drapers Awards "Best short order brand of the year" for many years as well as Footwear Finalist. What was your reason behind launching Ruby Rocks? We had been agents and distributors for other brands over the years and we had a passion for the products and wanted to create our own range. Things just fell into place and the opportunity arose and we jumped at it.
Where did your influence for designs come from when you started out? We designed everything form scratch, we designed our own graphics, taking inspiration from the world around us, nature mostly using florals, plants and animals in our graphic prints. We carried these through to the accessories. Do you still find influences for designs in those same things or do you find they've changed? We still use some of the graphics we started with, it's nice to reflect back and rework some ideas as they were favourites and we get asked about them by the customers who are looking to buy the prints they bought from us before. Sometimes we add new colourways with existing prints and sometimes we bring in totally new ideas. How do you make sure you're keeping your designs up to date? We try not to follow what other brands are doing as it can cloud our own creativity. We make what we feel is right for the brand and hope it will work. So far, that seems to work. Trends are all around us all the time in everything we do in all products, so we probably incorporate our day to day experiences into what translates into our designs. What do you do to ensure Ruby Rocks is always ahead of its competitors? We are not worried about being ahead of anyone, there are millions of brands out there. It would be impossible to monitor what everyone else is doing. We just do what we can do and serve the customers we have as best we can. The world has been turned upside down in the last year, everything has changed and there are many more digital opportunities now for all brands to join up to.
What's the process from thinking of an idea in your head or within your team and getting it in your shop? The designers present drwaings / CADS, we all review and if agreed we proceed with the design, it goes to sample stage and then is adjusted as necessary and then it goes to production. We shoot the production samples and then the products are loaded to our web store and also to the various B 2 B and B 2 C sites that we are partnered with. What criteria are you looking at when a new design gets brought to life? It has to fit the brand feel. If it doesn't fit in with the brand look, we don't proceed with it. The brand feel is fun, colour, individual, feminine, strong, bold and creative. Are there any new collections you can tell us about? Our sunglasses are once a year collections. We will be working on 2022 collection from July, so we'll know then what the next collection will look like. The other products in our range are developed season to season with the designers. Looking back over the last 12 months, how much would you say the pandemic affected business for you? It has made us look at everything in a different way and adapt. We rebuilt both our webstores and installed all sorts of apps and softwares. Everything seems to be digital now, no tradeshows means the retailers have had to source products in other ways and there are many B 2 B sites that provide such a great way for retailers to search new brands and products all on one web store. Yes business was very slow during the hardest times, as it was for everyone, and now that things are improving, everyone seems to be emerging from this terrible time with new ways and ideas for trading in ways that people had not taken seriously or really trusted before. Do you imagine the next 12 months will be substantially better or is it too soon to tell? We can already see a huge increase in sales on all platforms. We hope it will be the same for everyone all round, online retailers and bricks and mortar stores too. And now that things have become so much more digital we are seeing more international sales from stores and customers in USA especially. What advice would you give as a business owner to someone who's just starting out? Don't give up. Talk to some people in the business who have been in the business for a while and ask them what they would have changed knowing what they know now.
Simple mistakes / oversights can take a long time to fix and work your way out of. But everyone has to follow what they feel and their own journey. I would say if you are starting a brand the most important thing is to get your brand name registered as a trade mark, this will protect your name from others using your name, sometimes this happens by accident and sometimes not, either way, you will own the IP. Register as many territories as you plan to trade in and also as many product categories as you wish to produce, whether it be clothing, accessories, sunglasses, homewares etc, they all come under different trademark classes, easier to do it the beginning and then renew them all at the same time when it comes to renewal at 10 years, than having to add more and more as you go along and pay to renew them all at different times.
What do envision Ruby Rocks's future looking like? Hopefully we will continue to grow and we can add more to our ranges in designs and options available. We hope to have our products selling with lots of different retailers too. We will always aim to work with businesses who have the same values as we do. We aim to provide lovely products and hope they are loved and appreciated by the customers who buy and wear them. Thank you for your time. Thank you so much for featuring our brand in your lovely magazine.
You can shop the full range from Ruby Rocks over at www.rubyrocks.com now!