Behind the Business: Rose & Fitzgerald

4/02/2014


For our third installation of our Behind the Business series we're chatting with Courtney Poole, who founded Rose & Fitzgerald with her husband. Courtney and I met a few years ago when she was living in San Diego and I've been following her travels (she nows calls Uganda home) ever since. 



What: 
Rose & Fitzgerald, which is a combination of my husband and I’s middle names, is a design and craft studio based in Kampala, Uganda. Being from California but living across the world, we wanted to merge our sense of coastal living and contemporary style with the beauty of the indigenous materials and craftspeople we encountered in our adopted home of Africa. Rose & Fitzgerald works with talented artisans to create unexpected, beautiful house wares and jewelry, mixing traditional craft with a stylish flair. Our products are designed for those who seek uncommon products that carry with them a life and a story from far-away places.

Who: 
Courtney Poole (you might recognize her from the TOMS catalog)

What were you doing before you launched your company?

Prior to launching Rose & Fitzgerald, I had been working at a boutique-advertising firm in San Diego, and although it was a creative, fast-paced environment, I constantly dreamed about spending my time doing something I was truly passionate about – work that gave me greater purpose and fulfillment. Our move to Africa was the perfect opportunity for me to start fresh, be open to anything and allow myself to discover my talents, passions and dreams. I spent those beginning days wandering through my new city that was full of newness and excitement. I didn’t force myself to find a job right away to just fill the time. Rather, I decided to explore what made me happy, and to spend my time doing those things. Very organically, in markets and at small craft stores and boutiques throughout the vast city, I met artisans and small business owners that had a true knack for their craft. For the first time in my life, I had the confidence to begin designing products, specifically to decorate my home and compliment my lifestyle. And that’s when my dream for Rose & Fitzgerald was born.

What would you say are three keys to success for an emerging brand to get them on people’s radars and up the awareness factor around their company?

Have an authentic voice. Maintain a strong and consistent online and social media presence full of fresh content. Share your story and your process, being relatable, real and completely unique to your audience.

If you could describe the brand in 3 words, what would they be?
Rare. Adventurous. Design-driven.

What do you see as the greatest opportunities for your brand? What about challenges?

Even though Rose & Fitzgerald is so young and so very new, I am excited about many opportunities we have, both big and small. I believe we have an amazing opportunity to grow our online store, roseandfitzgerald.com, by continuing to offer new collections of unique, high-quality home goods and jewelry. We have an opportunity to continue seeking out retail partnerships and brand collaborations. We have the exciting opportunity to design and source products from countries all over Africa, allowing my husband and I to travel and expand our artisan base.

However, creating high-quality goods in Africa, where most goods are created quickly and cheaply for the local markets is a challenge. Finding authentic, local materials that meet our quality standard proves to be challenging as well. Because all of our items are handmade, it can be challenging to meet fast-paced production timelines. Yet, these challenges are what make Rose & Fitzgerald so unique, and I believe people recognize the hard work, time and patience that is behind each and every product -- giving the pieces a soul and story from far away.   

What is the biggest goal for Rose & Fitzgerald in 2014 and beyond?

My biggest goal for this year is to offer several new cohesive collections of home goods and jewelry, as well as to grow our retail partnerships in The States. Simply put, I want to continue growing my brand and following! I’m learning that the only way to reach my goals is to truly believe in myself. This means believing that I can be the change I seek, that I can inspire others and that I can surprise myself. It’s been such an amazing journey so far.  

In case you missed them, check out our other Behind the Brand interviews below:
Solswell
TheStylist LA

13 comments:

Molly {Dreams in HD} said...

i read about rose & fitzgerald a few months ago, what an amazing company! courtney seems like such a wonderful spirit...thanks for the awesome feature.

birdie to be said...

Wow... great company and products!

Ana Degenaar said...

Beautiful story and couple!

Ana Degenaar said...

Beautiful story and couple!

Jillian Manesh said...

what a cool company! thank you for the introduction! xo jillian

Rakel said...

lovely post!

Meg {henninglove} said...

love these behind the brand posts you do and what a great company!

Christine D. | The Plumed Nest said...

wow, their products are beautiful. i love the clean lines paired with the organic materials. just gorgeous.

Alison Dulaney said...

What a great company with such beautiful pieces!

Jaime @ laviejaime said...

very cool! the wine holder is beautiful. off to see their site!

Rema said...

This is SO inspirational!

Leslie said...

Their products are stunning. Thanks for sharing.

Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

Very cool! Great story indeed!