It’s in the bag for Helen
WORKING from home, Helen Rochfort juggles motherhood with designing handbags for an international clientele. Having worked in London for seven years on her creative company Scrumptious Design, Helen moved to Hitchin in 2004 with husband Julian to look aft
WORKING from home, Helen Rochfort juggles motherhood with designing handbags for an international clientele.
Having worked in London for seven years on her creative company Scrumptious Design, Helen moved to Hitchin in 2004 with husband Julian to look after her daughter Poppy and start afresh.
Her career has gone from strength to strength and from her spare room turned design studio she has created handbags which she now stocks and sells all over the globe.
"There are various exciting things which have been happening in my business," Helen, 31, said.
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"I am now selling and stocking my handbags all over the world including Japan, Australia, Italy and the USA.
"I am very excited with all the things going on at the moment and that are in the pipeline."
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As well as having her handbags stocked across the globe, Helen has had them featured on US TV show Talking with Tami. Her relationship with the show does not stop there, however.
"Another very exciting bit of news has come to light only this week. I will be presenting and covering red carpet events in the UK for the talk show, mostly London premieres and, music awards, commenting on fashion and what people are wearing.
"I do work full time from home, be it irregular hours, fitting it in when I can, in between watching cartoons and retro reruns of The Flumps or Bagpuss with Poppy.
"I have converted the spare room into a work and design studio where I am surrounded by fabric, ribbons and my collection of my inspirational bits and pieces."
The process of getting the perfect bag is made up of lots of experimenting with colour, fabrics and materials, and looking for ideas that have not been tried before.
"I like to design handbags that look and appear to be something else for example the TV Oz handbag, the Wonka bar handbag, the chocolate box design and the guitar handbag.
"I have been designing these particular handbags now for only two years. Before that, from 1997 to 2004, I had a whole range of stationery, fashion accessories, handbags, adult T-shirts and baby T-shirts.
"I will be showing a collection of baby T-shirts at the Baby Show at Hitchin Town Hall together with my handbags on Saturday November 18."
Rachel Hunter and Jamelia both have one of Helen's T-shirts and some of her handbags are owned by various footballers' wives.
"My ideas come from all over; music, films, delicious snacks, humour. I may see something while walking down the street which triggers a design thought process, something really quite mundane.
"I do this all the time. I like to break the mould and not follow fashion."
Between getting an idea to having a finished design it can take a few days or a couple of months, depending on what it is.
"I make the process fairly straightforward. I just wish I had the money to do all the thousands of ideas whirling around in my head. I have to eliminate lots of ideas then pick out the best."
When she ran her own shop in London Helen had six staff to work alongside her.
"Since I have moved to Hitchin it's just me, the dog and Poppy, and my husband. I quite like it at the moment like this, but will soon have to look at taking staff on again if it gets any busier.
"I am waiting for the right moment, perhaps when Poppy starts nursery, to take the next step up again. I am just enjoying looking after my two year old and working around that."
To look at Helen's work, and to find out how to order, visit www.myspace.com/helenrochfort