June 17, 2020
Luxuria Lifestyle interviews Mark from Bark & Rock
WHEN WAS THE COMPANY STARTED AND WHY?
Bark & Rock is a family-run business that started up in 2018. Mark Gosling, Managing Director for Bark & Rock currently working in the bespoke personalised gift industry before deciding to move into the high-end stationery market, working with the world’s best and unusual woods and stones. He comments: “Working with these wood veneers is like working on a piece of art. It is challenging because no two pieces are the same.”
WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM?
Managing Director, Mark Gosling, comments: “We were making wire-bound wood covered notebooks under our Proper Goose brand. We found that our customers requested refillable notebooks if they were to spend more than £30.
“After considerable Research & Development we decided to concentrate our journals and notebooks on the world’s best and unusual woods and stones, which not only increased the material costs but the craftsmanship and time it took to make one.
“We had to engineer our own fittings to integrate the refillable paper notebook together with the cover that can be as thin as 2.8mm. We had to make sure the spine of the books could move easily but be sturdy enough to last a lifetime.
“We now sell luxury bark and stone stationery items such as notebooks, journals, photograph albums and guestbooks. Special editions include silver and 24-Carat gold personalisation and wood inlaying or those with covers that include personal, intricate carvings. There are various sizes available from A6 to A4 and paper refills can be plain, lined, or set out in a diary format.
“Bark & Rock works with over 40 different luxury wood veneers, sourced and handpicked from reputable wood veneer suppliers worldwide.”
WHO ARE THE MAIN BUYERS AND WHAT IS THE TARGET MARKET AND WHERE AND THE AVERAGE RETAIL COST?
Bark & Rock has been selling to international retailers in Japan, Russia, Monte Carlo and in the USA. The target market is upmarket gifts and stationery with an average RRP of £260.
WHATS THE PRODUCTION PROCESS AND WHERE ARE THEY MADE?
Bark & Rock’s stationery items are made 100% in the UK, at the family-run workshop in Surrey. The process of how they’re made is as followed:
• Mark and his team select each bundle of veneer to find the best grain patterns. Each bundle normally has 24 leaves and from that, the team, including Hungarian head craftsman, Tamás Gál, can make 12 books from a bundle. None of the books will be identical, so each one is unique to the customer and when the bundles change the pattern can change considerably.
• Some of the wood veneers, for example, is not flat so to avoid the cracks and splitting the tea soak the veneer and leave it under pressure for days to dry
• The veneer is then cut to size and bonded together to create a double-sided panel
• Any of the natural holes in the panel can then be filled and sanded, the wood is sanded after each process
• Then the team laser cut the book out of the panel
• Each book is then sprayed each side using ecological oils, then sanded this can be repeated one or two times with drying taking up to two days
• The internal papers, leather and pocket is then cut and assembled, using the Bark & Rock engineered fittings
WHAT iS THE FUTURE FOR THE COMPANY / PLANS?
We plan to promote more bespoke work including inlaying with Stirling silver and Gold.
Once the retail sector recovers in the UK we hope to establish more trade sells and launch a range of wood inlay books.