Liz Wellstead, Co-Founder
Hi I’m Liz, co-founder of Rock Paper Scissors.
This time last year I was in three pop-ups and juggling life like you do when you are a designer, a mum and a lecturer, but I was enjoying every minute of it. I was preparing for a collaboration with Jonathan Lawes and was in talks with Dreamland in Margate to design a collection for their 100 year anniversary.
But Covid hit and like a tsunami it ripped through my world - it hit me hard professionally and the opportunities I was excited about ground to a halt. I took some time out and spent the lockdown doing up my house and thinking about the future. At the same time my cousin who lived in the States had decided to return home with his family. This was the first time in many years we could spend quality time with each other. One particularly sunny day we were walking through some fields and he asked me something I had never considered before: “if I could do anything, what did I want to do?”. I told him I wanted to open my own print studio and lifestyle shop. The more we talked we realised we could build something special that also supports the amazing creative talent we have around us in Kent and the South East.
Fast forward seven weeks and that conversation has become a reality. Rock Paper Scissors is now so much more than a shop. I’ve been thinking about the Lion the Witch and Wardrobe. Our hope is when somebody walks through our front door, like the wardrobe, they are entering an exciting new world.
My other passion and drive is young people. For the last 20 years I have been teaching art two days a week at Canterbury college. I see how the lack of opportunities can be such a barrier for FE students looking to move into the creative industries. I want us to pioneer a way to support young people by providing apprenticeships and hands-on experience for young people so that they can follow their own dreams. So come and meet us and be a part of our vision - walk through the wardrobe door with us. See you soon, Liz!
Charlie Wilkie, Co-Founder
Hi, I’m Charlie. Co-founder of Rock Paper Scissors.
After nearly a decade of living in New York, I recently returned home to my hometown of Canterbury during the pandemic. I was shocked to see independent shops like Nason’s had closed and the seasonal markets that hold so many cherished memories for me getting canceled one after the other. I heard some heartbreaking stories from my cousin, Liz, a successful screen printer who teaches at Canterbury College, about talented makers producing extraordinary things but unable to make a decent living during these times.
Liz told me all about the challenges for makers like herself, who are forced to spend so much time on the business side instead of focusing on their art. This is especially difficult in 2020, when the avenues they usually rely on keep disappearing. The festive period, when many creators make the bulk of their income for the year, was looking grim.
With my executive experience building successful businesses across the pond, I grew obsessed with the puzzle of how to help brilliant creatives in my community succeed, by growing the market for art and design in the South East. I wanted to use my business expertise to take on the daunting task of opening a new business, and we could offer space, at an affordable price, for makers who could then focus their talents on creating exquisite work. Liz, with all her art knowledge, her vast local contacts and of course her excellent taste was the perfect partner to join forces with.
So that's what we've done – we’re building a community passionate about helping makers learn, create and succeed. We're delighted that such amazing and diverse people -- designers, artists, ceramicists, illustrators, jewellers and more -- have signed up. I can't wait to see what you think as our community grows!