Ruth Jones opened Rococo in Kendrick Street in September 2011 as a pop-up shop to sell bankrupt stock for her husband, Rod, who is an Insolvency Practitioner.
“We had loads of glass vases, boxes and boxes of candles, and enough artificial flowers to fill a florist’s shop several times over” recalls Ruth, whose retail career began as a store manager for C&A in Hereford and Swansea and then in Kensington and Oxford Street in London.
As the bankrupt stock sold it was replaced with new stock sourced by Ruth herself. The business proved so successful that she decided to stay on considerably longer than the initial 5 months she had planned.
Over time the nature of the goods sold at Rococo changed and Ruth now stocks her favourites – ladies’ clothes and accessories. The range includes ponchos, one size sweaters, handbags, scarves, and gloves – and, of course, jewellery.
In May 2016 the local agent for one of the brands Ruth had been stocking – Kate HH Studio which made jewellery from upcycled biscuit and cake tins mounted on silver chains and ear-wires – told her that she would not be able to buy any more as the business was closing down.
Sensing that there might be cheap stock to be had, Rod drove up to the jewellery workshop in North Wales. He did not find the cheap stock he had hoped as everything was made to order but he did find a fully equipped artisan workshop, a store filled with thousands of biscuit and cake tins used to make the jewellery, and an active database of 300 stockists around the country.
To cut a long story short, deals were done with the landlord, the Liquidator, and 5 members of staff who were re-employed. The website and facebook page were taken over and production started once more. The business is still going strong and produces about a thousand pieces of handmade jewellery each month.
Ruth and Rod now find themselves designing jewellery and attending trade fairs at Olympia, Harrogate and Glasgow as exhibitors of KHH Studio jewellery as well as buyers for Ruth’s Rococo shops in Stroud and Cirencester.