Residing on the historic streets of St. Nicolas Market is Rag & Bone, an emporium for offbeat and charming antique furniture. Despite the growing trend for minimal home interiors, Rag & Bone make a convincing case for a maximalist approach, filled with rich colours, bold prints and lots of charisma. The assortment of stock balances precariously against each other, but there is a method to the madness here.
Rag & Bone was started by Arthur Hodder and Mollie Riach four years ago after meeting in Arthur’s original shop on Chandos Road, also in Bristol. Having both worked in the antiques business for a while, they knew what kind of shop they wanted Rag & Bone to be.
“We knew we didn’t want this to be another stuffy antique shop. You can touch and pick up anything in here” says Mollie.
“A lot of places have doorbells when you go in, I’d never want that. No matter how fancy the stuff inside may be, I want everyone to feel comfortable to just come in and have a look around. Quite often people come in apologising saying that they aren’t planning on buying anything, but we really don’t mind. We really are happy for you to come in and just have a nosy” Arthur insists.
They claim the shop has no strong theme connecting the pieces together, but every item is handpicked by the two of them. The whole shop is linked together by their personal style and taste, every item complimenting each another.
Arthur explains: “It’s a weird and eclectic mix of items. There’s no real specialism. If we see something we like, we’ll buy it. A lot of other businesses specialise in one look, one era, one thing, but we kind of have a really open mind with what we stock. People do say we’ve got our own look, so it’s not completely random.”
Their favourite piece is a glass, triangular coffee table. It is the unique shape that appeals to them. “I like that it’s an unusual shape, very angular. Most coffee tables are square or rectangular, so I like that it’s a bit different. You can also slot the tables together to make a bigger table or you can leave them separate” says Arthur.
Finding antiques to stock their shop is not always straight forward and can involve travelling a little further afield than England, Arthur explains.
“I tried to find some stuff in India but it’s actually hard to find antiques that aren’t in really expensive shops. Some people you ask promise to take you to find some and then you end up in factory where they’re mass producing ‘antique’ furniture.”
Despite having to deal with some hits and misses, Mollie explains that when they do find a hit, it makes everything worth it.“It’s quite funny, some of the barns and other dodgy places you end up can actually have some really good finds. You’ve got to get your hands a bit dirty but that’s what’s exciting about it.”
After a few years exploring and experimenting with Rag & Bone, they are coming to a place where they want to finalise what their business is, and only then will they begin thinking about future plans, but Mollie assures it is all very exciting.
“Once we get this shop to a place where we’re super happy with it, then we can see what’s next. I can’t wait.”
Rag & Bone
11 St Nicholas Street, Bristol, BS1 1UE, 0117 329 040
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