Fiona Kennedy runs Red Ruby Rouge, a boutique store which supports emerging international designers and sells unique womens’ clothing, jewellery and beauty products in Holywood, Northern Ireland, and online at redrubyrouge.com.
What led you to set up Red Ruby Rouge?
I lived and worked in New York for many years and whenever my husband and I decided to move home to the UK, the type of work I was doing in the legal field, simply didn’t exist over here in Northern Ireland. I had always harboured more creative ambitions.
Having spent much of my NYC free time trawling the Lolita boutiques and young designer markets, I felt compelled to bring a little of the international shopping experience home with me.
The idea of Red Ruby Rouge (RRR) grew from there.
How did you decide on the name of your shop?
The name Red Ruby Rouge came from a very special childhood toy I had always loved and I was attached to the alliteration of the three variations of one colour. I suppose it’s meaningless apart from to me but now it has a life of it’s own!
How do you go about sourcing items for RRR?
I’ve long been a collector of beautiful things and without realising it I had curated a list of inspiring emerging designers from my travels well before RRR came to fruition. Once I realised I already had a wish list to start with, I just continued my habit, collecting as I travelled, visiting young designer markets and exhibits, trawling online design blogs and keeping an eye on inspiring creative sites.
I’m always surprised at where the most wonderful products pop up in my life.
What is your favourite piece from the current RRR stock?
I’m currently a beauty-obsessor – maybe it’s my age, or climate or simply what I’m inspired by at the moment but we’ve tracked down a few really holistic, natural beauty ranges from small scale apothecaries and I just can’t get enough. Aster + Bay is my personal favourite and their Glow Body Serum is one thing I can’t live without. It has the most beautiful scent and truly does give such an emollient glow to your skin, it deserves a place in everyone’s beauty cabinet!
What are your own shopping indulgences?
I’m a real foodie and as a result, I have a serious cookbook problem – I’m going to have to start culling soon… On the fashion front, I don’t think I will ever have enough soft menswear shirts, crew neck layering jumpers or statement necklaces. Ever.
What do you love most about running your own business?
Above all, I love that I’ve created something I believe in, that my customers love, that press have supported and that every day, I feel proud of.
It’s easy to get caught in the daily to do list, financials and difficult decisions, so I do stop every so often to remember how far we’ve come.
What do you find most challenging about running your own business?
I would say the most challenging thing can be having faith in your own decisions – it’s tough working alone and knowing mistakes are going to happen, but having the drive and commitment to see your vision through and take the bumps along the way can be a tricky process.
Who or what inspires you in your career?
I’m inspired by working women – whether in my field or in something completely different, I find women juggling families and business incredibly inspiring, reassuring and a constant driver in my life. I’ve also been inspired by my former boss who had so many words of wisdom (and criticism!) for me during the years I worked with him, that I constantly find myself thinking, what would he do in this situation….
Do you have a motto you live by, and if so what is it?
I’m a packhorse by nature so this mantra always seems to fit for me: ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done’ (Nelson Mandela).
How do you like to spend your down-time away from work?
Away from work, I love to spend time with my children, husband, and our extended families. I try to make sure some good food is always involved and at the moment, maybe a sneaky nap here and there (I’m pregnant with my third baby). Very rock and roll I know, give me a year and I’ll be back to doing much funner things!