Theresa Trykowski, owner of The Rocc tells Miranda Jessop why her beautiful shop in Church Street is one of Twickenham's best kept secrets.
Prior to opening The Rocc, I owned two shops in Church Street, one was a baby shop and the other sold handbags and shoes. In 2004, I decided to close them both down and open up one new shop in slightly bigger premises, just down the street.
I named the shop after a rock near St Mary's Church, just by the slipway to the river. When I lived above my friends' shop in Church Street, we didn't have a garden so, in the summer, my son and I would often go and sit on this rock together. Sometimes girlfriends would come too and we would have a glass of wine, putting the world to rights. Later, when I was desperately trying to come up with a name for my new shop, I told some friends that I wanted customers to walk in and experience the same peace and tranquillity I felt when I sat on my special rock. At that moment, I realised I had hit on the perfect name for the shop but I decided to vary the spelling a little bit.
Over the years our range has gradually grown. We now sell a wide variety of unique gifts, designer clothes, exquisite jewellery, gorgeous baby products as well as delightful greetings cards for every occasion.
People often say that my shop is like an Aladdin's cave. Until they get inside, they don't realise just how big it actually is. I get such lovely comments from my customers; they keep coming back because they know they will find something a bit different and we always have brand new products coming in.
Everything in the shop is handpicked by me. I go around the country, visiting all the exhibitions and I come across so many new ideas and innovations, it never ceases to amaze me. When I am choosing a product, it has to be different, attractive, useful and ideally affordable.
A long time ago a wonderful accountant gave me some fabulous advice which is always in the back of my mind. She said to me, 'Theresa, if you see something that hits your spot, buy it because you are the shop and that's what makes your shop tick.'
I couldn't be without Sandra, my right-hand lady. She was a regular customer from the very beginning and, one Christmas, when I was really busy, she walked in, took off her coat and said, 'What can I do?' Sandra has become a really good friend who helps me because she loves the shop; she comes in every Saturday as well as accompanying me to exhibitions.
I never take a lunch break. But I always find time to pop out for a coffee from either one of my two favourite Italian restaurants; Masaniello, two doors down and Osteria Pulcinella, just across the street.
My son says I should take The Rocc online but, apart from being a technophobe, I didn't open the shop to do that. I started the business so that people could come in, look at things, touch and feel them and I could give them advice. I have every intention of carrying on with the shop as it is for as long as I can.
The Rocc, 24 Church Street 020 8744 1221
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