Monday, 30 January 2012

**EXCLUSIVE** interview with Jenny, the founder of Ruby Rocks.

So, to kick things off, can you tell our readers a little bit about you and your brand Ruby Rocks? How did the name come about? Who is Ruby?

I was pregnant at the time and we weren't sure it was a boy or girl on the way and we had a list of possible names. Ruby was one of them, probably the favourite, had it been a girl but we had a boy (our 2nd, called Lewis), so Ruby was still out there waiting for us. When we decided to start the brand it seemed the obvious choice, and "Rocks" just seemed to go well with it…Ruby certainly does Rock ;-)

I have worked in fashion for years, starting out in Harrods in the buying offices, then merchandising for department stores and window displays, then buying for independents sourcing in London, Paris, the shows and distribution for various brands until I met Izzy. Izzy is a designer who I'd seen at the trade shows over the seasons, hers and the brand we were working for had run their courses so we decided to start as a team and create our brand Ruby Rocks. We sent Izzy to Bali in Nov 2006 to create the first collection, we showed at Margin Feb 2007 and off we went and haven't looked back since.

What did you do before Ruby Rocks? Did you go to Uni?

No, I didn't go to Uni, apart from the “university of life” through all the different work experiences along the way which have all led to where we are now, and having gone through them all kind of kept us on the right path.

Your SS12 collection is now out, and I must say some of the pieces are amazing. Obviously, coming from an accessories background I went straight to your accessories collection. A favorite of mine is the crystal skull ring. It’s beautiful. And totally Emi…

Glad you like!! That crystal skull story was based on a print of ours that we did in the clothing and we translated it into wearable pieces of jewellery; along with the charm bracelet, choker necklace, and the peace ring. We sometimes team up with other product manufacturers and produce lines that sit along our main clothing line.

One thing that strikes me, is that compared to your clothing line your accessories range was quite limited. Do you have plans to expand this in the future? Your leather tassel bags were so on trend this season! I am vegetarian, so wouldn’t use leather, have you ever thought about more natural fibers? If so which?

We do use recycled materials for our tote bags, we will look at sourcing alternatives to leather, good idea! I was vegetarian for 5 years, and totally respect your comments.

My brand was launched in 2009, and I know the difficulties faced when launching a totally new brand – especially online. What advice would you give aspiring fashion designers looking to launch their own labels?

Believe it will work, don't give up! Get some advice on SEO optimization, and stick at it. It's very tough in the first 3 years, long hours and commitment are needed to get to the next level, almost where you don't have to keep rolling the snowball, it's gathered enough and can roll on it's own, just needs direction.

Always look back every half-year and see how far you've come – to build your history. It’s always good not only for you but for the buyers to look at too, and great to see your growth and development telling a story about you, the brand and what you've done along the way.

If you're lucky enough to have a good bank manager that also helps immensely. The key things we did when starting:

1. Design a collection
2. Book a tradeshow
3. Invite the trade press and hope for a feature or picture in the trade press!

Doing all of the above spring boarded the brand and the phone started ringing…

I think the most exciting part about owning your own business is that you can run things how you want to. I love it when a collection finally comes together and you shoot your look book for the season. What is it that you love the most about being your own boss?

Being able to decide where the brand is going and how you want it to be perceived - from the styling to the product, to the customers to the associated products, and licensing and future opportunities of franchising etc.

Saying that, being in the driving seat of a brand can be difficult. What do you use as inspiration for your next collection? What style would you say is carried through from season to season?

Izzy does our designing mostly, I do know she doesn’t like to look at what any other brands in our genre are doing, she almost closes off when she is in Bali to outside influences, we decide to run with themes for the prints and the shapes/silhouettes are down to Izzy and our team in Bali. We know what kind of works now, we are in our 6th year and there are old fav’s that our customers ask for so we offer them in new prints, and we have new shapes and prints every season.

We always think about the ethical side of manufacturing and try to reduce our carbon footprint as mush as possible. What do you do with excess material left over from a certain line? Have you thought about recycling this fabric and turning the unused garments into something else?

We do, our tote bags are made from recycled materials. We hate any waste and never throw anything away. We always try to re-use everything somehow. Any end of line fabrics we offer to customers in styles that no body else has. Due to us using our own print designs, and printing our own fabrics, there's not so much left over as we plan to order and make according to these. We just think of it like bespoke tailoring.

What is it that keeps you going? How do you stay motivated?

I just love it. I love seeing the growth of the brand, meeting new customers, seeing the press coverage, there's always something different to be doing, and running your own business means you have to do everything! I get great satisfaction in getting done what has to be done.

Being nominated and reaching the finalists for Best short order brand of the Year two tears running is amazing, to be recognized by the industry experts makes you realize that you must doing something right, and you are not going unnoticed, and it really does spur you on to achieve more. It’s such an amazing feeling to be there on the night with all the other brands and buyers, it brings us all together for an evening to celebrate fashion and all the hard that we all put in over the years.

I know you currently sell via concessions; do you have a vision for your own store? If so, where would it be located and why?

Well, we've just opened in Great Portland Street, so that's our showroom and we retail from there also.

That’s great, I will have to pop in and see it one day! Finally, looking forward in the future, can you tell us a little bit about what is in-store for Ruby Rocks? And how do you plan to grow the brand even further?

We have just given the license for footwear to a company specialized in high street footwear manufacturing. We are launching that range at Pure this Feb. There is no point trying to produce a product that you are not expert in, it eats up all your time and resources and is great risk, so teaming up with a company who believe in your brand and will work along side with you on the designing seems to be the perfect option. We hope the showroom will help Ruby Rocks to grow further as the location is window to the world. We will also be looking at other licensing opportunities later in the year.

Check out the rest of Ruby Rocks on their website and shop their latest collection which has just landed now!

Happy reading,

Love Xander. x x

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Outfit buiding with Emi♥

This season, Navajo inspired outfits are all over the high street. Go for mixed patterns, layered knits, bright colours and feather & fur.

Finish off with antique inspired accessories and a good pair of heels or boots.

As featured above, the Feather Necklace & Feather earrings all online now.

Get into the Indian spirit of things, but a drum & a didgeridoo (we already have ours, seriously!) Make a healthy jug of Pimms and enjoy with friends around a camp-fire on the beach. Ideal.

Love, Your Emi. x x x

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

There is beauty where ever you look in the world...

I have always lived in the city, and many people would argue that it can be a really, really ugly place to live. I on the other hand feel you just need to open your eyes a little wider. Take this photo our photographer, Steven took a quick shot at just as he was walking back to the office.

OK, so some may think yeah it just looks like a real eye sore, but you have to look beyond that. Inside this "mess" and great pile of rubble some unknown graffiti artist once brightened up the room with their work.

Just look beyond the rubble...I love the free flowing use of the spray paint and the contrast between the two walls. On one wall, the paint is reminiscant of Tim Burtons work (I know I seem to go on about him all of the time, but he really is one of my favourite director's of all time) I guess you could even go as far as saying the surrealism reminds me of Picasso's work. And yet on the other wall, it has an almost child-like quality to the work with the innocent colourful circles and repeat pattern squares.

I have always been a fan of surrealism and have been inspired around the world around me. One of my favourite pictures I have ever drawn when when I was 16 and doing my GCSE's. Feeling inspired by nature and the idea that everyone holds a door to their mind, I created this piece from pastels. it took me 14 hours to sketch and then colour back in all the detail, but I am really proud of it.

I don't ever really show my drawing to others, I like to keep them to myself. Out of all there work I have ever drawn this is the only one I have hanging on my wall in the house.

I guess some could look at it and say, that piece is screaming out the angst of a teenager but to me it's all about keeping a part of yourself to yourself which is represented by the half open door with the black misty background...

What do you think?


Xander. x x

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


Its been a while now since we have run one of our we thought we would kick off the new year by giving away a piece of jewellery from a brand that we love.

Wanna WIN this fab ring from Stolen Thunder? (RRP £41 and online now at It simple.

1. Go to our FACEBOOK page & LIKE us.
2. Tag "Check out the new SS12 collection online now at Emi - An Ethical Company" in your status.
3. Cross your fingers and you could WIN this beautiful ring.

Good luck!


Your Emi. x x x

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

After a busy morning at the office, I thought sod it, I’m going out to treat myself for some toff-toff style dinner. After all, we all deserve it once in a while.

A friend of mine found this quaint café called Time to Teatox based in the center of Manchester, close to Piccadilly Gardens.

Picture – home made cakes, treats and THEE biggest selection of tea I have ever seen.

I finally settled on a parsnip soup & falafel flat bread combo with some Raspberry tea. It wasn’t cheap at £11 odd for dinner, but my god it was worth it.

I thoroughly recommend the place. The staff were friendly and the food all home made which I find is the icing on the cake. Ok, so it did take a little time to arrive, but hey-ho when your having food made to order, its well worth the wait!

Love, Xander. x

Monday, 16 January 2012

Behind the scenes at my day job...

So, as most of you already know, I also work a day job for a new fashion brand based here in Manchester called Mee Mee.

Seeing the array of colours which arrived at my desk this morning, it really got me in the mood for SS12 and this stock lends it’s self so well to the key trend colour pop which is all over the highstreet and as seen in the SS12 fashion shows last year.

From chunky knits, so acid bright skinny jeans this season is set to be all about colour (which is a bit of a bummer for me, seeing as I mostly wear black!)

Check the over-sized tops, the coloured knitwear and uber bright jeans. These are priced at a modest £34.99 for a pair of jeans and from £24.99 for one of these fab bright knits.

They will be online from next week, so keep on checking back!

Love, Xander. x

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Under That Cloud - Jewellery in Manchester's Art Gallery

Under that cloud was an exhibition of jewellery by 18 international artists produced in response to their experience of being stranded together in Mexico City in April 2010 under the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.

Their enforced stay became an exciting opportunity to make new work inspired by their impressions of Mexico – the vibrant colours, the traffic chaos, the architecture, the ancient heritage, the music and the people.

This was one of my favourite pieces. It was created from wires which were found along the streets of Mexico and transformed into wearable pieces of jewellery. Totally impractical, but what a statement piece of jewellery!

This 5 set necklace was created using very strict techniques. The first piece was created using 2 finger tips, the next 4 finger tips and so. Each piece was slightly bigger than the last but all are to be worn together.

This piece was quite futuristic. It was made from gold and suspended in air. The wearer wears the bracelet quite high on the arm and ties the lace around (or so i imagined)

These bracelets were really quirky. Each one was threaded by hand by the artist.

These pieces excited the eco side of my brain. They were made from plastic found in Mexico, off cuts and scraps stern across the street. I loved the idea of up-cycling material which would have remained on the streets, and turning it into wearable pieces of jewellery.

These brooches were really cute. Loved the colours and they are totally SS12! I would have had one in every colour but I was too afraid to ask the price!

This pieces was another one of my favourites. It was made from copper and had ruby and sapphire gem stones suspended within the copper. I could only imagine what this piece will look like in time if it gets left outside.

Totally statement jewellery, but maybe a little too in your face for my liking. Although the detailing on the plane was fantastic and really inspiring for me.

I have left this one for last. It was a gold ring, encased in a spanish novel. Subtly placed on a page in the book with powerful text.

I think it's really important for me as a designer/buyer to keep up to date with what is happening in todays jewellery market. These pieces were very unique, and I think a little too "out there" for the brand but I have had some amazing ideas from today which I plan to take forward into the AW12 collection.

I loved how free the pieces were, and some of the more unusual materials which were used - especially the copper brooch. Quite a few of the pieces were gold plated with the odd gemstone concealed within. As for a good day out on a Sunday, today has been amazing and I recommend everyone in our field to take a trip to the gallery. Whats even better, is that is it free!

Photographs from today were from the brands photographer, Steven. To view the full collection, just go HERE.

Hope you have all had as much fun as we have today!

Love, Xander & Steven.

x x x

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Emi♥ + Kpop = Heaven!

So, as you all may have heard, Emi♥'s name came about from us travelling in Asia. We have always been a huge fan of Asia, I swear in my previous life I was actually Asian. I think I was a little Japanese woman but that’s another story!

Not many of us here in the UK will have heard of 4Minuite but they are one of my favorite Kpop bands. 4Minute (Korean: 포미닛) are a popular five girl group band straight out of South Korea. They were created by Cube Entertainment in 2009. The band consists of:

Nam Ji-hyan
Heo Ga-yoon
Jeon Ji-yoon
Kim Hyun-a
Kwon So-hyan

Their official fan name is 4Nia which is a combination of 4Minute & mania. Their newest single "Heart to Heart" is out now! I love the girls website as you can download for FREE band artwork and wallpapers for your Mac.

This is me, Xander Kostroma

I have always looked to Asia for inspiration for my own fashion sense which I know lends its self so heavily towards my brand. I love how the girls mix different types of fabric and layer up so effectively which is typical of Korean fashion. Its the quirkiness and the ability to be free to express yourself through fashion which is what I feel the west lacks.

Here in England, there is still to this day a sense of stereotyping where everyone must fit into a specific conformity, into a type of box, which has to be said I feel is totally wrong.

Emi♥ is about losing this negativity and dressing how you feel for a particular day or just how your mood takes you!

I have always believed in equal rights for men and women, some may even go as far as call me a feminist, but I do believe in strong & confident women. I mean we are not back in the 1800's in the years of oppression. Rosa Parks didn't stand up for her rights for nothing on that landmark day back on the 1st December 1955!

4Minute for me, is about being who you are, dressing how you want and enjoying yourself. It is this philosophy which I strongly believe in and I believe translates into my collections I produce for Emi♥.

Have a great day!

Love Xander. x

PS - Check out one of my favourite songs by 4Minute HERE.

Images courtesy of:

Thursday, 12 January 2012

New jewellery pieces just landed!

The Silver Wing Necklace £9.50

Purple Flower Bracelet £9.50

Bug Ring £6

Swallow Ring £5

The Handbag Necklace £12

New lines are being added daily to our online shop. SS12 has never been so fun & care free for Emi.

Happy Shopping!


Your Emi. x

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

We just love the artist Scott Radke

These bizarre but interesting creatures come from the mind of Cleveland based artist Scott Radke, who lovingly creates them from materials such as clay, fabric and human hair.

Some may call Radke’s sculptures macabre, but however weird one may find these creatures they also have a playful quirkiness which is what we fell in love with to the work of Tim Burton. (who by the way, is my top director by choice!)

I have always been interested in Burtons work - even from a little boy when I got capsulated by The Nightmare Before Christmas which I have no qualms about singing at the top of my voice along with.

Helene Bonham-Carter by the way in another one of my favourite actresses. When she teamed up again with Tim Burton for the hit film Sweeney Todd I fell in love.

Helena has always been somewhat of a trend setter when it comes to going against what is considered "in" right now. With her bohemian inspired choice of clothing and (some may say) crazy hair is what we love the most. It's this care-free approach to live which fits in so well with our brand!

Why not steal a piece of Helena's style with ourBoho-inspired jewellery If you love anything quirky and unusual, then our SS12 range is sure to be a winner for you!

Happy Wednesday!


Xander. x

Images courtesy of:

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Say "Hello Mr Fox" with this cute rhinestone encrusted ring!


ASOS New season trends just arrived!

Thanks to the press at ASOS for sharing these images with us!

With spring in full swing, I couldn’t help but check out to see what the bigger brands are doing for this new season trend. One of my favourite collections so far for the season (and I know it has only just started, but when I love something…I REALLY love something) was what ASOS have produced.

From Navajo inspired key pieces to ice-cream coloured jeans, their new in collections are just beautiful.

ASOS really have covered all of the key trenmds this season, and as usual have put their own stamp on the collection (which is what we love the most here at Emi HQ)

Why not preview our NEW IN section for some extra special jewellery to match your brand new ASOS dress?


Team Emi. X x