Talking business with Rockahula Kids founder Harriet Jones

    Founder Harriet with her two boys

    The creative director of Rockahula Kids talks family life, business goals and her passion for design

    Why did you set up Rockahula Kids?
    I have been in retail all of my working life – it’s definitely in my blood. From university I went on to work for a few large high street brands, starting as a buyer’s assistant to running the kids’ department at an international retailer – it was here I discovered that working with children’s products was my perfect fit. After having my first child, Jesse [now eight], I struggled to find a balance that enabled me to look after my little boy and also work. I had always dreamed of running my own business, so after having another baby boy [Luca, six], I decided to take the leap.

    What sparked your passion for children’s accessories?
    Children express their individuality without inhibition and there is so much scope to be creative with kids’ accessories – anything goes! I love anything quirky, cute or kitsch, so it suits me down to the ground.

    Describe a typical day for you.
    As in most working households, it has to be planned with military precision and can be thrown off balance by the smallest thing! I do the morning school run three days a week, after which I race to the office, which is in the same town we live in. I pick the children up from their after-school club and get them home for tea and bed. On Thursdays and Fridays my husband does the school run so I tend to go in early and work a little later, but I’ll always aim to be back for bedtime.

    The brand is known for its cool and kitsch retro designs

    What’s the best thing about your job?
    Having a sense of fulfilment from my work is very valuable to me. I feel lucky to be doing something I truly enjoy. I also like the fact that my children can get involved in my work life a little bit – they are my guinea pigs for testing new products and they often come up with their own designs.

    What’s been your proudest moment?
    To have got to this point with Rockahula Kids, where I’m able to work on my own terms in a company that I built up from scratch feels like something to be proud of, and thankful for.

    What advice would you give to others wanting to launch their own brand?
    The most important starting point is to have a clear vision that you really believe in – if you are passionate about your brand then other people will be too. Also, be prepared to make mistakes, learn from them and move on.

    What can we expect from Rockahula Kids in the next 12 months?
    We have a number of brand collaborations coming up for next season and beyond, so watch this space! Long term, as the company grows, I would also like to focus on doing things a bit differently behind the scenes, and work out how we can make positive differences by running the business in a more thoughtful way. For example, right now we are aiming to make the business 95 per cent free from plastic packaging. I was feeling more and more uncomfortable with the increasing quantities of plastic bags being used to ship our goods, so have made the switch to paper. It hasn’t been without its teething problems but we’re well on the way to phasing out plastic, and our stockists have been amazingly positive about it.

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