Meet the Maker ~ Gemma Picker of Ruffets & Co

Our second Meet the Maker interview is with the gorgeous Gemma from Ruffets & Co! Gemma's sense of style and point of view are beautifully unique. Her designs are tailored to perfection and embellished with plenty of sweet details! We have loved and admired this label for years now and have so many pieces in our daughter's wardrobe! So without further ado, let's get to know a little bit more about Ruffets & Co!

Q. Please start by telling us how Ruffets & Co's story began.

From a very young age I would always create designs, in fact I had over 500, but in a teenage rage I threw them all out. Regrets! So as you can see my love for fashion has always been with me. Whilst I was pregnant with my daughter Halle, I started helping my friend with her girls clothing range. She would ask for advice and suggestions, and it got to a point where she no longer wanted to continue but was concerned for the woman making her clothes as that was her sole income. So out of the blue I find myself drawing up designs as I had the means to get fabric and someone to bring them to life. It took quite some planning before the first release. Thus Ruffets & Co was born and I haven’t looked back since.

Q. Where do you find inspiration for your beautiful designs?

Like most people, inspiration comes from many aspects of my life. Seeing styles that you think would look better a certain way, or colour tones you come across. Personally, for me, it’s usually based on a colour I like first and I work from there.

Q. Can you tell us a little about your design process? Or about the timeline of a collection from start to finish?

The design process is more complex than I imagine people would assume. Now that I am 4 years in, I have pieces that are a staple in my collection which helps ease the burden of a constant new collection. It takes roughly 6-9 months from start to finish which is difficult as you have to think ahead all the time. I base my styles around colours I select first. I then see which colours work best with my staple pieces. From there I work in prints and patterns, hunt for fabrics I love which can take some time. I design my own floral prints which is the next step. Once I have those all together I can work in which new styles I’d like to create. These are drawn up and re-worked until the fit is perfect. The fun part can begin now with samples bringing the art to life. Models are organised and a photoshoot is prepared. Don’t forget all the behind the scenes like a lookbook and order form, sending information to stockists, promoting etc. Then the wait comes for the collection to arrive!

Q. Which is your favourite piece that you have created?

This is a difficult one as I don’t base it all on the design but the print and fabrics too. My first ever Willow romper in my florals (unfortunately this fabric I sourced was then sold and distributed in Australia by online fabric sellers so I discontinued using it). There are so many now to choose from! {We have shared some of Gemma's favourite pieces at the end of this blog}.

Q. What is one business achievement that you are most proud of?

Wow when you put it so plainly like that it really makes you think. It’s a difficult question to answer. Honestly I’d have to say seeing a child outside of my group of friends wearing a Ruffets piece and knowing that it's my creation and I’ve spotted it on someone randomly.

Q. What has been your favourite part of this journey so far?

This is most definitely drawing my designs, there is something so calming about this step that I don’t think I’d ever get bored of it.

Q. How do you balance work and mum life?

With great difficulty! Running a business is hard, running one when you don’t have a background in it is even harder. I am still learning with every collection and I’m sure there will always be something I miss. I used to cry ALOT when the kids were younger and feel very overwhelmed. Now it isn’t too bad as I have both kids in full time school so I tend to do my work 10-2 Monday to Friday. During Covid lockdown though again I had lots of tears. It’s all worth it in the end. I think as long as you're honest with your customer base, then they are understanding if you aren’t available to them whilst kids are on school holidays.
This summer I know I will struggle as I usually have my mum to help for 3 months. That obviously isn’t an option with no travelling. So maybe ask again then. I may have a different answer.

Q. What do you think the future holds for Ruffets & Co?

To continue forward with Ruffets and have a balanced life, I will be doing smaller collections but more often. I want to keep the buzz happening and get everyone excited with new stock!

~

I hope that you have enjoyed getting to know the story behind Ruffets & Co! I always find the backstory behind a brand so interesting and I think it should be brought to the forefront more often, as each story deserves to be told. 

You can shop our range of Ruffets & Co pieces here: thelittlevintagewardrobe.com/collections/ruffets-and-co

Ruffets & Co's new spring/summer collection is online now! Most pieces have already arrived, with the swimwear range arriving very soon {they are available for pre-order}! Happy shopping!

Charis x