Door knockers and House Numbers are the topics of this week’s interview! I’m chatting to Rebecca, owner of Gipsy Hill Hardware – her background is in fashion but currently her attention is on the humble door knocker. She has some fabulous designs for door hardware made from recycled brass – and I caught up with Rebecca recently to find out more about her company and her designs. Hi Rebecca and Welcome!
Hi! I’m Rebecca OKeefe, the owner of Gipsy Hill Hardware. We design unique and characterful door knockers and house numbers that are handmade in UK foundries from solid recycled brass.
What inspired you to launch Gipsy Hill Hardware?
When renovating our home, I struggled to find hardware I loved and it occurred to me that just because an item is an everyday functional item, why can it not be joyful and even a touch whimsical? Through researching how to create my own door knocker, designing it, and finding a way to get it made, the idea for the GHH was born (although it took many years to go from that first thought to launching!).
You have designed a range of unique door furniture – I particularly am fond of the Apex Style house numbers, the Amphibia Door Knocker and the Padlock Heart Door Knocker you recently unveiled on your Facebook page – what are your most popular products?
Our ‘Knock Knock’ is our most popular door knocker to date and the Apex house numbers sell very well. However, the Padlock Heart and our Amphibia Frog Knocker launched in June and August and the response to the sneak peaks has been incredible, so they may well overtake Knock Knock!
On finishes, the unlacquered raw brass finish is definitely the most popular across all pieces.
Have you got a favourite product out of everything you have designed?
Amphibia is my nemesis but also my baby! It was the design that sparked the idea for the business, and it has taken 5 years to develop. If I knew back then, what I know now in terms of technicalities, I would never have designed it! However, I refused to give up on him and the response he has received has made it all worthwhile.
When designing products to add to your collection, do you consider current trends, product use, customer requests, your own ideas or bits of all those?
My background is in fashion and trend so I do try to stay ahead of the trends and foresee what emerging themes will appeal to our customers. This inspiration comes from many areas – including fashion, jewellery and interiors. However, the aim is always for longevity and creating pieces that will be loved for a lifetime, so I try to maintain a timeless quality.
Have you any other new products in the pipeline to add to your range for 2021/2022?
Yes! We have so many ideas and plan to add consistently to the door knocker range as well as expanding into other door related items including letterboxes, centre door pulls, coat hooks and door stops. Watch this space!
Have you always been interested in designing gadgets or did your career aspirations lie elsewhere?
I was a fashion Buyer for many years but originally studied design and love creating something that resonates with people.
However, this is my first-time designing hardware and while the process of taking an idea and turning it into a saleable product is something I’m used to, working with metal casting is a whole new ball game! It’s been very exciting and fulfilling though – plus, I get to work with amazing craftsmen and highlight this wonderful age-old casting industry we have in the UK.
As you are based in the UK, are your products available to purchase worldwide?
Yes. We ship Worldwide and love getting orders from abroad.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I’d love to say something more glamorous but since working from home, I’ve been living in Birkenstock Amsterdams, Oversized Skater Tees and leggings. I tell myself that I’m trying to channel the Olsen twins but really its all about comfort!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Liberty homeware is really gorgeous right now. It was my first post-lockdown real life shop visit and it’s got a very uplifting mix of product. Otherwise, it’s trawling ebay for vintage clothes and a sneaky browse on Net-A-Porter.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Arket have a lovely pair of flatform thong sandals which are calling me.
Boots or Shoes?
Shoes – and they need to be flats as I have 3 kids and heels are just not an option these days.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Gipsy Hill Hardware
My thanks to Rebecca for chatting to me about her range of delightful door hardware.
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Gipsy Hill Hardware.