Rouge shop was established by Yang Lei on Stoke Newington Highstreet in 2005. The shop brought unique oriental homeware and vintage furniture to London, mainly from China. Over the last 5 years the business has gone through a dramatic transformation in response to both personal and wider social upheaval.   

In March 2020 the pandemic began, and the first lockdown gave an opportunity to stop, regroup, reorientate the business. The shop’s closure enabled a major remodel of the interior, this became a 2-year project.  

2018-2022 saw huge shifts in the retail economy and Rouge was no exception. Winter 2021 Hackney Council launched its Highstreet grant scheme. After a successful application we were awarded a grant that allowed us to pilot a series of new workshops.Throughout 2022 we put lots of energy into our workshop programme, hosting 29 events with 195 attendees. We hired out our space 5 times and welcomed in 134 people. We also hosted 3 community events for 42 local people.  

Lei's vision is to offer a unique experience on the high street, beyond just consumption of food, drinks, and shopping. Doing, making, creating with others, in community. In doing this we are using creativity and community to heal. Looking forward we are excited to continue our programme of events and workshops. Expanding on the most popular food and wellness events but also developing new collaborations. We will continue to promote East Asian culture and have launched a Small Business Coaching Circle.