Let's Chat: Room Shop
"Room Shop is a trend forward small batch accessory brand...we believe fun and whimsy should be key ingredients in personal style. "
If you have spent the last few years in Philadelphia, or on TikTok for that matter, you would’ve been hard pressed not to notice Room Shop-even passively. The iconically oversized Cloud Scrunchie quickly inspired a following and even some mass produced knock-offs. By the time we moved into our showroom in The Bok building(Where Room Shop also lives) last November, They were at it again with the viral Bounce Bag and we were all in. A venture that began at home, like MC, Room Shop has evolved into an intimate and expressive brand with an ever growing following of “Roomies”. We love the mix of fun, sustainable and vintage inspiration, and are so happy to have Shelly Horst as our first rug diary interview, from one woman owned business of the Bok to another.
Describe Room Shop to us literally, and then again (figuratively, conceptually or in mood, energy, idea, ethos)
Room Shop is a small batch accessory brand produced and located in Philadelphia, PA. We believe getting dressed should be fun and whimsy is an integral part of every look.
What ties all of your customers together?
Room Shop customers, or Roomies as we call them, are into fashion but don't take themselves too seriously. They love dopamine dressing and see dressing up / having fun with clothes as an escape.
Have you always wanted to own a business? How did you name it?
I grew up in a household where my father owned his own business and my mother was an artist/ free spirit who wasn’t afraid to try new things or learn new skills. So it was in my DNA and my upbringing. Room Shop started out as a pop up vintage shop in the back bedroom of our house. So Room Shop was a kind of literal name and it stuck.
Who/what do you go to for inspiration when you’re in between ideas?
Vintage fashion always inspired me. Vintage pieces or magazine spreads. There’s a lot to be learned from vintage from construction, details, styling, and even function.
( See Room Shop socials for some clues into how Shelly uses her vintage pieces to inspire her new designs)
When did you know you were ready to open your business or take that next big step like renting a showroom etc? What were you doing right before?
We basically had a retail shop in Old City - a month long pop up that was extended to a year. During that time I learned a lot about what I wanted from the future of Room Shop. I was building our Instagram community, our website and working irl in a shop and was able to envision a future for the brand. Right as we moved into our space at Bok is when I started designing our own products. I knew we needed a more stable and consistent product source than vintage to be able to float the brand.
I also knew that a traditional retail space wasn’t right for us. We needed a beautiful space that we could shoot products and give a vision to the Room Shop aesthetic, that people could visit, but would not be the same financial and energy burden of a retail shop. I’m an introvert so I have to protect my energy, running a full time store wouldn’t allow me the time and capacity to run Room Shop digitally in the way that I have.
What are some surprises that have come up for you or pivots that you have made, willingly or not?
Pivoting from vintage into our own product was a strategic and needed move but I think it was surprising for our customers. We pivoted [again] into masks pretty early on in the pandemic. That was a strange time but ended up being a smart business move.
What are your favorite aspects of running your own business? Which aspects do you least like or have the hardest time with?
I love being in control of my time and my projects. Being able to determine where I’m at each day and what projects will be the most fulfilling or best use of my energy.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I wouldn’t haha. She wouldn’t listen to advice anyway. But seriously if I got her to listen without being defensive I’d tell her to trust her instincts and to always be kind. I’d tell her she’s going to love how things turn out.
We can’t wait to see where Room Shop takes us next, make sure you’re following along for the ride and check back for more interviews with small business owners and creatives!
- Minimal Chaos