Boutique Of The Week: Five Go Mad

04/03/2011 17:35 | Updated 22 May 2015

Nostalgic, certainly, but also proudly packed to the rafters with fresh new homegrown design talent, Five Go Mad is both quintessentially British and a real find. With felt food sculptures, apple green cake pops and a best-selling range of Elizabeth I adult gym knickers, you know it makes sense to read on and find out more.

We spoke to co-founder of Five Go Mad, Clare Ronay, about how her brilliantly British boutique was born:

If it's cool and it's British, chances are it's available at Five Go Mad. Pic: Five Go Mad

Can you tell me a little about your background and what inspired you to launch Five Go Mad?

My background is pr (fashion and Interiors). I also did an interior design course at KLC school of design when my twins started school. I have 3 kids - Alfie, 11 and twins Betty and Lola, 9. My business partner Simon Pugh is a photographer, specialising in food and often shoots products for our site. I tend to do all the sourcing and he is great on the technical and financial side.

We decided to launch FiveGoMad with the idea of bringing together the best in contemporary and classic British design in one place - to act as a showcase and cheerleader for the products we believe in, and to broadcast new talent to as large an audience as possible. I always wanted a lifestyle shop and wanted it to be best of British. I wanted it to range from fashion and interiors to food, across the whole lifestyle spectrum. I also insisted that we sell cakes!

Apple green cake pops by Rhubarb & Rose. Pic: Five Go Mad

What would you say is Five Go Mad's unique selling point?

We sell lovely British products which are not too expensive. We have spent a great deal of time sourcing them. We want to promote up and coming designers as well as the more established ones. We want to appeal to all ages and be a warm and friendly site that encourages our customers to come back. This was why we went for a warm cosy retro design instead of a cool contemporary one. It was done by Frank design.

You describe the site as "Quintessentially British". Are all of the designers featured British?

Yes they are.

I'm looking for a Mother's Day present – what would be your top three picks from the site?

Well I guess it depends what your mum is like. Rhubarb and Rose's cake pops would be one of my picks as they make a lovely gift. She does them in lovely sorbet colours and decorates them beautifully. We also sell candles by Pure Light, which you can't really go wrong with. We love the geranium and sweet orange scent . Finally, perhaps some tea by Sherston Tea. They do lovely gift packs and all mums love a good cuppa!

I have to add one more as I love them so much - the Sarah Hough notebooks. Especially the urban bracken notebook for £5.95.

Which of the brands that Five Go Mad stocks are your current favourites?

I love most of them of course as I have sourced them all. I simply adore British Cream Tea's felt food sculpture - especially the boiled egg. They are real collectors items. My kids love all the traditional sweets by Suck And Chew, (well they would wouldn't they!) especially the packs of flying saucers and the gift jars of fizzy lemons! I also can't help but like the fly mugs by The Natural History Shop. I drink my morning coffee out of one and call it my 'Buzz off' mug! The kids know not to bug me then!

How do you decide what to stock?

We go to all the trade shows and I am always reading interiors and fashion magazines for sourcing ideas. It's a negotiation between the supplier and us but it is important the products reflect our site and what we are about.

Queen Elizabeth I pants by Twisted Tee. Also available in Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Pic: Five Go Mad

Which items are your best sellers?

The Queen Elizabeth I pants by Twisted Twee. A bargain at £19.50 We sold out over Christmas and had customers ordering them from all over the world. The Banana Man badge by Hanna Melin. Also the delicious salamis by The Real Boar.

What next for Five Go Mad?

We are holding supper clubs. We are about to do our second and we are having it at a lovely British café off Columbia Road in East London, called Jones Dairy. It is so sweet and quintessentially British. Simon does all the cooking and I organize them and become the chief bosser and washer upper!

For more updates on future supper clubs and to see what we will be serving on March 2nd please visit our blog.

We plan to offer more courses as the craft courses by Hope And Elvis sell out really quickly. A pop-up shop would be fun too -maybe we will do one at Christmas.

To check out everything that has to offer, visit


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