By Laura Mallinson, Style Digital Editor
The Croft Magazine // That Thing is a fashion hotspot which celebrates the independent design for Bristolians on the hunt for unique and colourful garments. In conversation with founder Joh Rindom, we uncover That Thing's journey to independent success.
The first glorious rays of spring sunshine pour their way into Caper and Cure, reflecting off the sequins in Joh's fabulous statement neon earrings. The creative whizz and founder behind That Thing, Joh Rindom, sits down for a coffee with Epigram Style to reflect on of her fashion collective and what it is like to be part of Bristol's independent community.
Beginning life in 2008 further up Cheltenham Road as Shop Dutty, Joh has been stocking independent designers, hand-picked vintage and unique garments for over a decade. 'From the beginning, it has always been about doing what we're doing now, stocking and celebrating independent designers', starting with 7 budding designers, That Thing has grown to now support 60 incredible designers.
Joh still gives each designer and new item the same love and attention as those first products, ensuring top quality for the That Thing brand. 'More now than ever, I am sourcing design through social media. I always set up a meeting to see the person and the product to check the design in person and check the quality', the importance of That Thing's brand image and quality is evidently worn with pride by Joh, and I can see why! With a spectacular range of sustainable fashion, vegan-friendly style and well-designed pieces, That Thing's ethos of style and substance runs through Joh into each product decision.
Part of this strong ethos is celebrating home-grown Bristol design. 'First and foremost, I'm focused on stocking local designers', Joh says with a grin of pride. 'I'm aware that I'm now one of the most longstanding independents, having been in Stokes Croft for around 11 years - which is a really long time!' Joh's aim of celebrating local talent has not gone unmissed, with their annual Festival Edit event being a date in the diary for Bristol's fashionistas.
'First and foremost, I'm focused on stocking local designers' - Joh Rindom, That Thing
That Thing's success has clearly been built by Joh's determination and creativity as a key part of Stokes Croft's cultural community which has grown into what we know and love today. 'When I first set up in this area, it wasn't what it is today,' Joh candidly tells me, 'Stokes Croft was fairly in demise, filled with old men's drinking holes and very few shops. Bringing a bright shop to the area was quite a bold move, but the location was relatively close to the centre, and I had a good feeling about it.'
As Stokes Croft and That Thing developed, Joh expanded and moved into the gold polka-dotted shop she's in now; 'I've always wanted to have a business on a corner, when I saw builders working in the premises I straight away knocked on the glass to ask 'what's happening here!?' They said they were getting it ready to rent and looking for a tenant and I took it there and then, I had a meeting with the landlord the next day and the rest is history. That Thing has been there since 2015, and we've made it our own.'
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So many lush new things have gone online these past few days! Especially in our homewares section! Looking for a gift? We’ve got you! Looking for a card? We’ve got you! 🌻 -and if the name of the recipient is different to yours on your order, your purchase will automatically be gift-wrapped and sent as a gift from you! 💕🐆✨ We can even write a card on your behalf - simply pop the text in your note on check-out 💌 Potage is FREE! Thank you so much to everyone who have supported us over this past month - it’s meant we’re still here! So THANK YOU ❤️ Link in bio to browse - no obligations! See you on the flip side! 🙌 #thatthing #shopsmall #actlocalbristol #interiors #funkyinteriors #coolinteriors #giftidea #freegiftwrapping #bristol #unicorn #celestial #moonchild #moon #bioglitter #pineappleobsessed #kitsch #kitschhome #homewares
As an integral member of the Stokes Croft independent community, Joh has helped in the efforts to make this cultural quarter of Bristol. 'We have a good community amongst ourselves, from fashion shops to cafes and workshops, there's a fantastic independent community which helps us support each other.' The success and developments in Stokes Croft are clearly down to the drive of the people, from the People's Rebublic of Stokes Croft to the area's vibrant independents, these are the treasures of Bristol's unique high-street of creativity.
For Joh and That Thing, the support for independents is cherished now more than ever. COVID-19 has thrown a spanner in the works for countless businesses, Joh and I met on the cusp of lockdown, before the full consequences were fully known, and Joh was concerned for the future and implementing plans to safeguard the business. That Thing is a brand which ordinarily trades at festivals and summer events, with this now stripped away, how can we support Bristol's much loved independents?
Fortunately for us as customers, That Thing has an incredible website, stocked full with the same vibrant fashion, accessories and homeware you see in the colourfully dressed shop. So, during the lockdown, when friends' birthdays come along, or graduation gifts need buying - think indy. Not only will you be gifting something entirely unique, but you'll also be playing a part in supporting the independent community we hold so dearly, to ensure we have a cultural quarter to return to.
That Thing has bought colour and fun to Stokes Croft for over 11 years, and with a dedicated customer base and innovation from Joh, I fully expect it to continue thriving 11 years from now.
Featured: That Thing / Joh Rindom
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