Lucy Uren, along with her partner Graeme Purdy, opened their online store Rowen & Wren back in 2011. With their combined working backgrounds in retail and design, they decided to harness their experience and create their online emporium. Sharing a love for homes that are lived in, with pieces to treasure that tell a story, they also champion new talent and artisans, and have worked collaboratively to design and develop unique and covetable collections.
Genre? We are an online shop selling a collection of homewares.
Why did you start Rowen & Wren? We have a passion for everything to do with the home, and a desire to design and make beautiful, timeless products.
Who designed the site? Myself, and my partner, Graeme.
What are you best known for? We are known for our selection of lighting and hardware, English upholstery and home accessories.
Where are your products made? Around 80% of our collection is now our own brand, which we design in-house, and have it made around the world depending on the product type. For example, our upholstery is handmade in England, whereas our hardware is all handcrafted in India. We also source around 20% of our range from other brands and craftsmen.
What makes your shop unique? Our individuality – although it’s challenging when you sell online, we’re constantly striving to design and produce unique products and collections.
Who are your customers? We find customers often come to us when looking for something a little out of the ordinary. The Rowen & Wren shopper is an individual that enjoys having unique pieces in their home, that won’t necessarily be found on the high street. Our customers expect high quality pieces and efficient service.
Who inspires you? It’s very hard to pick any one person as we seek inspiration from everywhere and everyone, but as a textile designer, I would have to say Lucienne Day, for her originality.
What inspires you? Our garden, although it’s far from perfect! It’s a great source of seasonal inspiration, whether it’s the height of summer or a frosty winter’s day, and a couple of hours in the garden is guaranteed to ease my creative block.
Before I was a shopkeeper, I was…A textile designer. (Lucy)
The hardest lesson learned in starting a business? You will never be prepared for the amount of hours that you will have to, and want to put in, so the lack of time, and sleep, is the hardest lesson!
What tasks do you like to delegate? Anything to do with logistics and accounting!
The best lesson you have learned opening a shop? You’ll get out exactly what you put in.
What would be your advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? Consider it a lifestyle rather than a job because it is all encompassing, but, at the same time, it will be the most rewarding thing you’ll do.
If you weren’t a shopkeeper you would be…A gardener.
What is your perfect day off? No surprises due to the previous answer, it would be spent in the garden pottering and planting.
What is you favorite neighborhood restaurant? Our local pub The Hawk Inn, it’s a little too close for comfort – three doors down!
I wish I could…switch-off, occasionally!
On the Future of Retail
“The importance of provenance will continue to grow, and customers will want objects with a story. We also believe, and hope, that the throw-away culture will fade, and customers will seek products with longevity and timeless appeal.”
By Stephanie Bateman Sweet The Lifestyle Editor
Photography: Emma Lee