We catch up with indie clothing outlet and fashionista Roo Cross, owner of Roo’s Beach.
Hi Roo! Thanks for being our My Cornish World, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your connection to Cornwall?
Hello! I have three children – well they’re pretty grown up now, aged 23, 21 and 17 and have always had a career in some form of design. Having been lucky enough to travel extensively throughout my life, we nearly ended up living in New Zealand, however we settled on Cornwall with its rugged coast and laid-back open mindedness. We started visiting when the kids were little and as my husband and son became addicted to surfing, the pull got stronger and stronger to the point that we had no choice but to move here for good.
What inspired you to start Roo’s Beach?
I’ve always been slightly obsessed with fashion and loved shopping, wherever I go I always hunt out independent little gems and find new brands. I love seeing how different people curate their shops and merchandise them. Having moved to Mawgan Porth I felt there was a real gap in the market for a shop selling the things I wanted to buy so I thought, why not start one myself? I had no retail experience, so it’s been a very steep learning curve. It’s evolved as the years have gone by and changed considerably from the first little shop in Mawgan Porth. We no longer have that shop and all our efforts are centered on Porth and our website. It’s exciting finding new brands and a unique edit of products to bring to Cornwall and also to share our take on how to dress to the rest of the UK and far beyond.
Tell us about some of the most interesting collections or new items you’ve got arriving for spring?
We believe our brand mix is unique. Customers are making a special journey to come and find us and once they have, they are loyal and invested, being able to continue their journey through our online store and social media channels. We are excited that we will be introducing some new brands into the store this year, such as L.F.Markey, Swildens, IVY Copenhagen, Stripe & Stare, Indie & Cold and Nümph. These will join the current roster which includes American Vintage, Wildfox, Free People, Bellerose, Veja, Levi Strauss, Mads Nørgaard, Saucony, Leon & Harper, Ottod’Ame and Hartford amongst many others.
Fashion has seen a huge rise in ethical and environmentally focused campaigns and collections, how have Roo’s Beach responded to this?
Being based on the coast, we unfortunately are always reminded about the downside to single use plastics and we are all fully aware of the changes needing to be made to the throw-away society we live in. We all need to take responsibility; the fashion industry is beginning to listen and there’s a growing shift to using organic and recycled materials. Here at Roo’s Beach we offer a mix of natural, recycled and sustainable products from candles made from soya, underwear crafted from beech wood, vegan leather trainers and reusable drinkware to name but a few.
As for clothing, I like to take a leaf out of my husband Ian’s book and take on his mantra of ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’. I have been married to Ian for 25 happy years, and this is one of his long-standing sayings. It comes down to cost per wear. Save up, invest in pieces that you absolutely love, wear them and enjoy them over and over and over again!
What do you love about your work and what do you find challenging?
I absolutely love the way that people feel when they enter the shop. I also love more than anything seeing women feeling empowered, confident and beautiful from finding anything from a new little top, a gorgeous slouchy jumper or an amazing new pair of jeans. It can really transform the way they feel about themselves and this is so inspiring. The challenge is getting the buying right. We do make mistakes but we’re getting much better at it! The winter is challenging, especially as we’re so exposed to the elements, the wind and rain has been relentless this winter, however having the online side of the business has really transformed our all-year-round trade.
When you’re not busy, what do you like to do to relax in Cornwall?
I absolutely try to run or walk most days, we are so lucky to live right by the sea so I run along the coast path which is the best stress relief and great for thinking time. I always have my best ideas when I’m running! I love to walk on the beach with our silly Jack Russell terriers – Edna and Walter. Other than that, I’m really a home bird when not at work and love to cook, entertain and I’m rather addicted to a Tarquin’s gin and tonic or two!!