Over here at Craft Candy, we have discovered the most amazing new online indie shop this week, which we just have to tell you about! And the name of that shop is HOWKAPOW!
Howkapow is a vibrant showcase, focussing on emerging independent designers and illustrators, and run by husband and wife team Rog and Cat How.
Rog and Cat believe in investing in ‘quality, creativity, community and fun’, and this is reflected in the range of hand selected products available at Howkapow.com. An array of innovative, unusual and eclectic pieces are featured on the site every season – all chosen for their stand-out style and affordable prices.
The collection is regularly changing, but always features cutting-edge products, from illustration and jewellery, to homewares, accessories and furniture. Howkapow is packed full of desirable design gems which will both delight and inspire you!
The lovely Cat How has given up a little of her time to have a chat, and tell us a bit more of the Howkapow story, and her plans for the future…this will be liberally sprinkled with some imagery to tempt you straight to the shop! As if you are not tempted already!
CC: Hello Cat! Thank you for chatting with us, it’s lovely to talk to you! So…we know you and Rog are a team, but who does most of the Howkapow work? Do you split things equally?
Cat : We both do! Thankfully we’ve been able to cover most bases with the things we both feel we’re strongest at. I source new designers, write and design the press releases and newsletters and manage the stock as well as being in charge of sending out the orders. Rog is ‘operations guru’ and runs the website and all our accounts alongside handling all our wholesale and international orders. He gets the fun jobs like sorting out postage rates and filling out the tax returns!
CC : What is the idea behind Howkapow?
Cat : We wanted to create a colourful shop which would support and promote emerging designers and illustrators, offering them a platform to showcase their work – often for the first time. Alongside this we wanted Howkapow to also act as an agency where we would help designers with their press and PR and get their work to a wider audience.
CC : When was the Howkapow idea born, and long did it take to go from being an idea, to actually becoming the fabulous online shop we see now?
Cat : The first spark of an idea came when we were doing a market stall (selling my jewellery) in Melbourne in 2006. We did it to meet new, like-minded friends as we’d just moved from the UK and it became a huge part of our social life. We LOVED it and met so many amazing people. There was such a strong sense of community, that we wanted to do something like that ourselves when we got back to the UK. We also had a market stall in Brick Lane every week and similarly found some amazingly creative people, who just needed a bit of a hand getting their work out there. After many different possible incarnations we found that the online shop would be the best place from which to start, branch out and grow…
CC : Where are you based, and what is your workspace like?
Cat : We’re based in – arguably – the most wonderful city in the West: Bristol! We work from our home studio which means coffee breaks in the garden and extravagant lunches… but it does mean we’re running out of space! We’ve been on the hunt for a shop / studio / gallery space in the city centre for us to make our second home soon.
CC : Do you and Rog both have creative backgrounds?
Cat : Actually, no! Rog was a radio producer for the BBC and I only came to design quite late on although I’ve always painted and loved to design things. We both met at Bristol University about 10 years ago when Rog was studying Electronic Engineering and I was reading English Literature. After we finished our degrees we both got jobs within the subject fields we’d studied in. Rog went into radio and I was a staff writer – specialising in art and theatre – for Metro newspaper. It was only after we moved to Australia in 2006 that I re-trained in graphics and realised I couldn’t go back to journalism. After two years we moved back to London where I did an MA in graphics at Central Saint Martins. I finished last June and a few weeks later we bought a house and moved back to Bristol.
CC : Do you still design jewellery?
Cat : Yes, I design my own range of jewellery under the Howkapow label. We are also collaborating with some of our favourite young designers on a range of exclusive Howkapow products – these include tea towels, mugs, birchwood trays, cushions and possibly even deck chairs.
CC : How do you choose the designers to be featured in your store? Do you accept applications, or do you hand select?
Cat : We hand select designers, but have quite a simple selection process. Designers need to be emerging, independent and be making and / or designing the products themselves. Their work also needs to match at least one of our core brand values of colour, humour, uniqueness and fun!
CC : Do you have any plans for a real life shop?
Cat : Yes, absolutely. We’re already looking into spaces in Bristol as we really want to have a physical manifestation of the shop and to start curating exhibitions as well as hosting more events.
CC : What are your other future plans for Howkapow?
Cat : We hope to build up the agency, which is still in its infancy, but as we’re only six months old we’re going to give ourselves another few months to try to get our name around a bit and celebrate our ‘newness’!
CC : And lastly…who are your personal favourite designers, makers or illustrators right now?
Cat : have always been a huge fan of Scottish illustrator Eleanor Meredith‘s work, and I also love the jewellery made by Fred Butler and our very own Eleanor Bolton. Rog loves anything by Elvis & Kresse but is also a fan of Bristol-based furniture designer, Charlie Crowther.
CC : Thank you for chatting with us Cat!
To finish up, here are some personal Craft Candy favourites from the shop – I NEED all of these!
There are so many amazing things in the Howkapow shop, it is very hard to select just a few favourites – I recommend a visit and a good look round! You will see something you want for sure!
To find out more about any of the designers featured here, or to discover more amazing stuff, visit the Howkapow Designers area over on the website.
Here are some more links -
And, our new favourite blog – Rog and Cat’s design blog. There are some seriously nice things featured on here, you must take a look!
Have a happy Friday, shopping and reading!
Until next time, Janine x