When did you set up Rebecca Udall and why?
I was struggling to find contemporary, high-quality linens and was inspired to create a lifestyle linens brand – traditionally linen brands are very white and feel quite serious. I started out with some small Christmas fairs from October 2018 and launched the website the following April. Tablescaping was beginning to generate interest around that time, so it was a good time to seize the trend!
The business was successful almost straight away with your pieces featured in House & Garden. Why do you think this is?
When I started the brand, I felt there was a real gap for high quality homeware. I recognised the power of Instagram and worked hard to build an online community with our customers. We have also been lucky to be supported by some key influencers and press, who have championed the brand from our early days.
What have been the surprises along the way?
A pandemic and a looming recession! Besides this, some lovely surprises such being stocked in Liberty – one of my favourite stores – and having orders from people I would have only dreamed would like my brand. I pour my heart into each collection and dedicate my time to designing and sourcing pieces I hope my clients will love, the thrill of seeing them well received doesn’t go away.
What is your Christmas table going to look like this year?
I am going for a botanical Christmas table this year that feels very organic – lots of seasonal fruit, foliage and moss, adorned with lots of candlelight. The centre pieces will be potted paper whites with moss. I will opt for either our Hellebore or burgundy ruffle linens, I can’t make my mind up which at this point! I will then have little gifts wrapped in beautiful paper on the table to add additional pattern and as a treat for my guests.
What tips can you give us for making a room and table look particularly special at Christmas?
The little details I think make the room. From lit pillar candles in lanterns, festive scented candles, poinsettia and potted hellebores – combine to make a room feel wonderfully cosy.
Where do you buy your flowers, wreaths and floral decorations from for Christmas?
I have a lovely lady local to me in North Yorkshire called Kymm (Queen Flowers) who sources her flowers as locally as possible and is plastic free. She champions the seasons. Previously she has made me some small honesty wreath bows for my place settings and they are beautiful.
Where do you get your Christmas tree from? And Christmas decorations?
We invested in an artificial, pre-lit tree for simplicity last year so this will be our main one, but we add a smaller real tree in the entrance hall as I know you can’t beat a real tree. I am slowly building up my collection of decorations and try buy a new addition each time I travel at this time of year. I like each piece to tell a story and have a memory of somewhere we have visited.
What are your earliest memories of Christmas?
Being made to wait until after the Queen’s speech to open presents which was the longest wait in the world! Also, having around 16 family and friends at the dinner table – it’s a wonderful feeling to have so many together.
What’s your favourite part of Christmas day?
Waking up to a stocking and having a lovely breakfast. I think breakfast is seriously underrated and it’s the one time of the year you can go all out! I also enjoy getting out with our dogs after lunch for some fresh air.
Which business person do you admire and why?
Oh gosh there are many. Chrissie Rucker for her commitment to her creative vision and Trinny for her tenacity and personality. The Rixo founders, Orlagh & Henrietta (left). They were a similar age to me when they launched their brand and they have done phenomenally without external investment which is an incredible achievement and very inspiring. Whitney Bromberg-Hawkins has disrupted her market with huge success and to me is an example of faultless branding and communications.
What advice would you give to somebody setting up their own business?
To always prioritise customer service – so many brands don’t and to me it’s paramount. To listen, especially with feedback from customers and your team – but to trust your gut when you need to. To not let your ego get the better of you – I do have a strong mind but I really encourage open feedback from my team, I don’t mind someone disagreeing with me. Network and collaborate where you can.
What are your plans for 2023?
It is going to be a very busy year for me personally, I am getting married and celebrating my 30th birthday – so they’re biggies! With the brand we will continue to expand our in-house designed range, alongside launching a wedding registry. There are lots of exciting things to come in 2023.