It’s occurred to me that a lot of our loyal customers and followers don’t know how we started Deja Ooh or why we do what we do, so I thought I’d put a little colour into the picture…
Katy and I have been friends for a long time, we met through our husbands who grew up together. We seem to have had a fairly parallel life hanging out in the same spots, at different times, and both following our loves for interiors and all things bright and colourful. We had many chats over a pint (or two) about everything we loved and picked each other’s brain about the things we had and were making for our homes.
The spark was ignited (as most are) in a pub in Stoke Newington during a conversation with my husband Simon who was pretty exasperated with the amount of slightly broken furniture that inhabited our 2 bed flat. All of which had been plundered from the streets of East London and none of which seemed to be moving out any time soon. Pete (Katy’s husband) rolled his eyes and they chatted away in mutual understanding. Katy looked at me and smiled ‘I’ve always thought it would be cool to create a company that takes old stuff makes it new and call it Deja Ooh, you know De ja oooOOOooh’.
My eyes widened and heart jumped and Deja Ooh was born! However, three months later, so was my son so I asked Katy to hold that thought for a short while Simon and I settled into being a family of four (plus all the slightly broken furniture). Then in February 2013 we started meeting to hatch a plan!
The decision to do our own thing also came from an overwhelming desire to spread our creative wings. We had both had different jobs within the creative industries and set up a few little projects on our own that we felt equipped us pretty well. We also had a huge amount of passion for crafting useful and beautiful products and a needed to create careers that we were in charge of that could work around family life.
Our workshop often spills out into our gardens when the weather allows……..
The key thing was to be viable. Create products that were needed, versatile, environmentally conscious and that were accessibly priced yet ensure we could make a profit and our business could grow. We were two women creating a career, not hobbyists giving ourselves pocket money.
The next key thing was product selection. We brought together all the things that we had made or re-vamped. From chests of drawers to deck chairs and stools, shelving, boxes and decorations. We both had a house full and a 15-year back-catalogue of items we had made for others.
The selection was made through elimination. There were some beautiful pieces that financially just didn’t work and others that we didn’t think would be durable enough. We also had to take into consideration the fact that nearly all our sales would be online so we had to be able to ship it all, across the UK and potentially the world.
The thing we lacked most was sales and marketing experience so we have had a steep learning curve. We have also added a few babies into the mix and had to snatch working hours during nap times or when super-grans come in and scoop up toddlers.
Our products are always a family affair!
Katy taking product photography
Slowly we have grown and developed and we continue to do so. We still go through the same selection process we did in the beginning and we’re still developing products first for our own homes before we bring them into production for Deja Ooh and of course, we design and make everything ourselves. We have a wealth of personal experience building numerous home spaces, first small and slowly getting bigger, and love the challenges that it all brings to the table.
So if you have a project, small or large, that you’re not sure how to start or where to begin please do not hesitate to get in touch.