The White Company
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The White Company

Beautiful, stylish and affordable designs for every day

2019 was a vintage year for The White Company.
Not only did its founder, Chrissie Rucker OBE, receive a highly coveted Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award in May, but the brand also secured a new partnership with prestigious US department chain Nordstrom, as well as opening a summer pop-up in the Hamptons. Quite something for a lifestyle brand launched from a kitchen table 25 years ago. Since its beginnings as a 12-page mail-order brochure, The White Company has grown into one of British retail’s great success stories, with 1,600 employees and 60 stores across the country, two in Ireland and two in the US. In peak periods the brand processes up to 10,000 orders a day.

 

In 2017 The White Company opened a flagship store on
 New York’s Fifth Avenue, selling a curated selection of homeware, clothing and lifestyle products. A few months later, the company joined other global brands in New Jersey’s exclusive Short Hills shopping mall. Chrissie explains: ‘We are constantly inspired by the warm reception and love for the brand when we expand into new areas and we have actually found that our American customers have the same wants and tastes as our British customers.’

Since its beginnings as a 12-page mail-order brochure, The White Company has grown into one of British retail’s great success stories with 1,600 employees and 60 stores

The White Company

If the US had to wait rather a long time for the brand to arrive, that’s because The White Company is not given to rash moves – after all, it didn’t open its first physical store in London until 2000. As Chrissie comments, ‘My motto has always been “strong and safe”. The business remains 100 per cent privately owned, which means we’ve grown more slowly than if we’d had outside investors, but I’m really glad we’ve done it this way. It’s about keeping the brand’s integrity intact.’

 

For The White Company, integrity means retaining Chrissie’s original, kitchen-table core values: to sell beautiful, simple, stylish designs in a white and neutral palette that are great quality, really work and are affordable. Chrissie says, ‘It’s crucial to stay true to your brand’s DNA. The market is very cluttered and noisy and the world of retail is changing so fast. You have to have a “customer first” approach and surround yourself with the best people for your business.’

It’s an ethos that clearly works, and having been awarded an MBE in 2010, in 2018 Chrissie Rucker received an OBE for services to retail. Equally close to her heart is The White Heart Foundation, which Chrissie launched in 2014. The foundation splits ten per cent of the profits from a selection of The White Company items between Refuge, Place2be and The Prince’s Trust where she is founding patron of the Change A Girl’s Life campaign for Women Supporting Women.

As for the future, continued expansion is very much part of the plan: the company is looking to double the size of the business over the coming five years, with Europe and Australia next on the ‘to-do’ list.

Chrissie says, ‘I read a great piece once which said stop trying to achieve a perfect work/life balance because it doesn’t exist. Instead, create a handful of goals for the year ahead; do them, enjoy them and know that is success.’

The White Company
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