Fashion that’s functional is what Rosie Roo Designer Wellies are all about. Unable to find a gumboot that was practical without being daggy or just plain boring, Jacqui Wallbank decided to make her own.
This month we went behind the scenes with Jacqui, to find out all about the popular brand and how it all began:
B&L: How did Rosie Roo get started??
Jacqui: I had a bad back injury about six years ago and this left me unable to do physical work. I soon realised that if I ever wanted to work again I would have to have my own business at home and this would need to be something that I was able to have control over.
I already had a business background so the thought of starting my own business wasn’t a problem for me. I was seeking innovative products to merchandise and saw designer Wellington boots overseas but they looked rather dowdy.
My daughters are involved with horses and have always wanted some colourful wellies. The idea came to me to give my own sense of aesthetics a go at developing my own patterns and taking inspiration from some current patterns and current colour palettes, or from patterns that struck me as exciting, and working them into a range of styles with more wow.
B&L: What makes your boots so different?
Jacqui: When designing our wellies my whole desire is to make the somewhat gawky gumboot into a fashion accessory that expresses a sense of fun, colour and groove.
I think that these days women want to make almost every article they wear or use a fashion accessory that will coordinate with their clothes and other accessories.
We have some really different designs and styles in our range. Our lace-up wellies have been very popular and they have a real feminine touch to them, they look so good put with a pair of blue jeans or cute shorts and top. My girls will often wear them this way.
We have a leopard print with red trim, to die for, so cute and we have a very cool retro swirl style – this design has lots of fun colours to it, just what you need on a rainy day.
We have also extended the sizes our wellies to fit the ladies with larger feet.
B&L: Where did the Rosie Roo name come from?
Jacqui: [too many drinks on a Sunday afternoon] no, don’t put that.
My husband thought it up by combining my maiden name” Rose” with Roo to emphasise the designs as Australian and to make it sound fun and kind of pink.
B&L: Did you expect your gumboots would become so popular?
Jacqui: No, I had no idea that our Rosie Roo wellies would be received so well into the Australian fashion world.
It has been very exciting to see the enthusiasm for my first style range, both in Australia and overseas. Just the reaction and the interest of the public and the people in the fashion world excites me.
B&L: Did you always want to start your own business?
Jacqui: I love having my own business. I work hard and long hours, but it’s all doing what I want to do. Seeing Rosie Roo grow so fast is such a buzz!
I have had a small business background so starting Rosie Roo didn’t scare me too much. I have never manufactured my own products/ designs before and that has been a challenge to have my designs and styles made the way I want them in China. I am getting better at dealing with the factories.
B&L: Which is your favourite design?
Jacqui: Wow, that is so hard; it really depends on what I’m wearing. I have a very cute Wayne Cooper dress that goes really well with the “Angie” wellies.
I like to wear the” Abbys” a lot; they look great with white pants.
I often wear the Leopard print with red trim with my denim jeans, looks great with a white top.
B&L: What’s next for Rosie Roo?
Jacqui: We have a new style range coming soon. I’m really excited about it; our new range has a great sense of fun, style and colours.
We are also expanding our range with a few new products that complement our wellies.
B&L: What age group would most likely buy Rosie Roo wellies?
Jacqui: We have just extended our size range to meet the demand from our younger buyers, i.e. the tweens. We now start at size 4 and go though to 12. Our smaller sizes have been very popular in the tween / teen market and our larger sizes are selling really well with ladies with large feet.
The older ladies love to wear them in the garden. We also sell a lot to mums chasing kids around sports fields, they don’t want to get there feet wet while watching their kids play sport, and then there are the dog walkers. So you could say that all ages buy our wellies. It’s too hard to tell who is the biggest market segment!
B&L: Were can we buy Rosie Roo Boots?
Jacqui: We have 150 stockists across every state of Australia. Have a look on the Rosie Roo website to find a stockist near you. Some sell online too.
B&L: What does being a woman mean to you?
Jacqui: Lace, pink, perfume, soft fabrics, tulips, I love feminine things around me.
Visit the website: www.rosieroo.com.au