Rou Products started with a mission to create high quality home accessories and art pieces for everyday use with unique, personal character. “The new objects have to make sense and be meaningful to the customer”, her inspiration describes Alicja Pałys, the creative force behind the brand who puts a lot of thought into creating timeless items that will serve generations of owners. Artisan knowledge is consequently the hallmark of the Rou collection. “All the pieces are handmade with meticulous attention to detail by the local craftsmen in Katowice, Poland and fully recyclable,” adds Alicja, who recently took time to answer some of our questions about her inspiration, sustainable practices and favourite pieces in the collection.
Can you tell me more about yourself?
I’m a product designer conducting my own design practise and Rou Products brand founder. I live in Katowice, but it was not a short way to choose this place as a place to live and work. I studied industrial design in Warsaw because I always wanted to study it and I just felt it was my destiny, so that choice was so obvious to me. I have always been interested in objects, their beauty, I observed the surroundings through the filter of the form. In the meantime I spent a lot of time in several design studios in Poland and Sweden, gaining skills, experience and inspiration, but also confidence. Then, surprisingly, I moved to Katowice, just to try. And here I am. I don’t know if this city is the last place I will live and work in, but I like it so far.
Why have you decided to start your own brand and a company?
It was a moment when I was thinking about starting my own design practise but rather as a studio than a brand. I had some designs „hidden in a drawer” and after research of polish market, I have come to the conclusion there’s a place for a new, fresh and original home accessories brand. There were not many such brands at the time and I believed that my things would add something special to people’s homes, give them a moment to rest their eyes, a moment for reflection and a little smile. And that’s how Rou was created.
“I always pay attention to details, quality and sense. The new object has to make sense and be meaningful to the customer.” – Alicja Pałys, founder of Rou Products
What were the biggest challenges on your way and what are you most proud of?
The biggest challenge was to find professionals to cooperate with, to find the best in their field and the most reliable people who will be able to carry out my projects. It was more difficult because all my products are designed from metal, and the process itself has to go through not one, but several stages (e.g. metal cutting, welding, grinding, painting, marking). Now I am proud when I see how much I have learned in this short time. I am proud that I established a network of contacts, found great people to cooperate with and made sure that the final result is satisfying. That makes me happy.
What inspires you to create? What is the driving force of your inspiration when you create new products (what do you pay attention to)?
Nature, surroundings and observing everything around me have always been my inspiration. I think that thanks to this I can make all subjects understandable and timeless. This is very important to me, not only as a brand owner, but mainly as a designer. I always pay attention to details, quality and sense. The new object has to make sense and be meaningful to the customer.
What is the favourite piece you’ve ever created?
My favourite product created for Rou Products is Soll Mirror. I like the fact that the parts of Soll are the result of conscious and economical material management. By minimizing metal waste, a consistent form was achieved, where one element is a continuation of the next. I am also glad that this product is loved by customers who often don’t know what process behind it and only look at the final form.
All the pieces are handmade with meticulous attention to detail by the local craftsmen in Katowice, Poland and fully recyclable.
A hot topic right now: sustainability. How do you integrate sustainability practices into your design, production and business processes?
Rou Products creates products that are going to accompany their owners for many years. We focus on responsibility and create timeless, durable objects that will hopefully serve also future generations. We strive to consciously and sustainably manage the used material and always think about minimal waste and 100% use of material. Each of our products is also fully recyclable.
How do you go about choosing the materials you use and your suppliers?
As I mentioned, the selection of suppliers and materials was a long process because I did not know anyone in here to cooperate with. Great people have been found through trial and error. The main criterion was the quality obtained.
What is next for ROU? What are your plans for the future?
Our plan is constant development of the brand. We observe what is happening around us and try to keep up to date and even overtake certain facts. You can see that our offer includes mainly metal products, it has become our domain and we are associated with metal. We plan to continue it, but we don’t rule out adventure with other materials :)
Your idea of happiness?
Happiness is a satisfied recipient of my projects. When I see that my projects make people smile, that people get attached to them – this is a huge reward. In addition, happiness is health, everyday little reasons to smile, great people around, fulfillment in private and professional life.