With a decision to take their friendship and passion for creation to a new level, Julie Schell and LaTasha Warren opened up Rose and Peddle, with a unique specialization in handmade, wooden, laser cut jewelry.
When did you guys start your company and what made you decide to open?
Rose and Peddle started as more of a hobby about four years ago. We both have creative backgrounds: LaTasha is a graphic designer and I was working in architecture, so we were in really creative environments in school and then we got out of school and started working jobs that were not as creative. We felt like we needed this outlet and we just decided to go for it.
What kind of products do you guys sell, and which ones are the most popular?
We started off with laser cut jewelry, and we soon branched out and started doing more home goods: trivets, coasters, planters, etc. We also started making products that aren’t strictly just laser cut, that way we could explore different crafts and broaden our offerings. One of our most popular things has been the honeycomb necklace, it’s a wooden, laser cut statement piece and we feel like that it is really popular because it’s so lightweight and eye-catching. Everybody comes in and comments “oh, honeycombs!” or some people think it looks like molecules. I guess it depends if you’re a scientist.
What is your guys’ favorite thing about your company?
We’ve been friends since eighth grade, and it’s really fun that we can get together and make something and hang out more. Also, having full creative control over what you’re doing as a designer [you don’t always get to do that.]
Why is St. Louis the home of Rose and Peddle?
We grew up in Illinois, near St. Louis and realized that there is a really good crafting and maker community here and there’s a lot of people who appreciate handmade and local made products here. I think it works well for us because there’s the audience and we get support from other crafters and makers here.
Are there any challenges that you guys had to overcome within starting?
Well, we didn’t really know very much about the business aspect before since we come from creative backgrounds. So figuring out the business side of things is always challenging.
Rebranding was another challenge. We used to be called Julia With Love, so when we changed it, we had to find a name that fits us now as well as whatever might want to grow into in the future.
We’ve also had some technical difficulties as laser cutters can be temperamental machines.
Who buys Rose and Peddle?
Well it is easiest for us to just make things that we are excited about and assume people would like them too, but we’re working now to branch out a bit more; we’re trying to make things that are more interesting to men or more gender neutral pieces so we can expand our audience.
What do you guys see for the future of your business?
Growth. We’ve taken a lot more time to focus on the business and push it forward more. We’re trying to expand the type of products we have and reach more people. Since we have our own laser cutter now, there’s like a million different things that we can try. It’s been a fun year.
Is there anything unique or special that you try to promote?
Laser cutting isn’t really that popular in St. Louis yet. It’s a nice mixing of technology and design and so that’s something that’s pretty unique. We try to keep a raw wood feeling somewhere in there with the design.
What are the pros and cons of just you two running Rose and Peddle?
Being a partnership, good communication between us extremely important, but it is nice to have someone who shares your goals; we both want to do our best to continue to grow. We each have strong suits that we bring to the table, and know when we need to push each other. Of course, during crunch time it would be helpful to have more hands.
How do you promote your company?
In addition to craft shows we’re trying to be more present on social media; we’re working on a website so that we can have a place to show people all that we can do. Another way that we’re hoping to grow is by working on building more business to business relationships and helping other artists make their products. We’re always trying to network and go to events to get to know the community more and more.
If you could describe your business in one word, what would it be?
“Maker” because we enjoy the aspect of making things and we are trying to just explore and experiment with different things – not necessarily limiting ourselves to one medium.
What do you guys see moving forward for the future of your company?
Well, we’re going to be at Craftoberfest on Thursday, Oct. 11th at Urban Chestnut in Midtown and beyond that, we’re working on more products and more collaborations. We’ve been making a few St. Louis themed products for our St. Louis Proud fans. We have also been talking to one of our illustrator friends about working some of her illustrations into products. We love St Louis and the craft world. We’re glad to be part of it.
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