Shop Talk: REby Niamh McCooey
RE opened in 2003 as a shop (and catalogue) in Corbridge, a small village 20 miles or so from Newcastle, selling a range of REally unusual homeware. Jenny Vaughan and Simon Young, both recovering fashion professionals, met at Newcastle Polytechnic where they were both teaching. They quickly became good friends, discovered tastes similar to each others, and one day decided to take a leap, and set up a new business. RE was then formed soon afterwards and placed in a garage space behind a petrol station.
RE, when it began, was very much about recycled furniture and lovely “just rusty enough” objects. Over the years many recycled and found objects have gained the status of RE staples. Alongside these treasures, many other pieces have also come on board and, capitalising on their creative backgrounds, Jenny and Simon are increasingly concentrating on exclusive, self-designed REgistered Products. Because of the internet, as Jenny explains, “everything now is available to everyone, and if you sell what everybody else does, you just become a price check.” This business duo aren’t scared of manufacturing at RE, working closely with a neighbouring woman who crochets for them, as well as manufacturers as far away as India. Highlights from the self-designed RE range includes a hanging rusty arrow, linen laundry bags and all sorts of graphic-led products.
Ultimately, to make it on to the shelves at RE ‘it has to be a fabulous thing,’ says Simon. They like their products to have integrity, to not just be trending items seen everywhere and sold everywhere. They want to sell objects that will stay in their customers’ homes for a long time. Having fashion backgrounds has made Jenny and Simon wary of the disposable cycles of consumerism. They love things that have a story…
You can read this article in full in Selvedge issue 75.