WITH two young children, one of whom she home-schools, starting an online store was a no-brainer for Dorset entrepreneur, Robyne Irish.

“The whole thing works much better round family life,” she says, explaining how the packing, ordering and customer liaising for her lifestyle site roccoandrosehome.co.uk fits in round her other commitments. Which are considerable.

In addition to running the website she helps husband, Andrew, a graphic designer and property developer, run their successful holiday let the Shepherd’s Hut: “It’s been almost fully booked since we opened it,” and renovating their other venture, three holiday cottages in the West of the county, which are showcasing Rocco and Rose’s top products.

“It sounds hectic and it can be but none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the internet,” she says. “It has transformed the way you can work.”

She’s used the internet to research niche products from Scandinavia and even further abroad. “It’s great for finding really unique little companies who you might not have necessarily heard of,” she says. “It gives shop owners the chance to bring something new into their stores.”

It’s also allowed her to research the provenance of her suppliers, striving to ensure as many are fair trade and eco-friendly as possible. “I noticed that customers increasingly want to know more about a product; who made it, where it came from, that sort of thing,” she says.

Her store stocks a carefully curated selection of homewares and gifts, including distinctive linen cushions by Lelingne and the Jay Street Block Print Company, luxury hide rugs and unusual ceramics and furniture pieces. “We support the Woman’s Adobe in Mexico by giving a portion of the selling price of each of our Orikomi folded pendant lights to them, to teach the women how to build their own homes, and a number of our products bolster fair trade initiatives in Rajasthan and encourage traditional artisans to keep age-old techniques alive,” she says.

The end result has a pleasing, global feel and you don’t get the feeling that your best friend or next door neighbour will be rocking the same cushion or rug as you.

As Robyne braces herself for their first Christmas – her products already feature in the prestigious Country Living Store – it’s doubly impressive when you realise that her company only launched in March.

After choosing the name (“My grandmother was Italian so it’s her name back to front!”) she started building the website herself using the Big Commerce platform, after taking advice from a web designer friend.

“It sets up the whole structure for you, then you add in your own description, pictures and logo and completely customise it, the platform’s all there,” she says. “If you’re running an online shop you can’t afford to have a breakdown and you need something that’s simple and reliable to use. It’s working well so far.”

But she’s not sitting back. She just launched a personal shopping service and is happy to source for customers, too. “I want our service to be as personal as possible,” she says.

Once the Christmas rush is over, Robyne is planning a number of pop-ups, as well as selling children’s furniture and accessories, under the label Little Rocco and Little Rose.

“Sometimes you can be up at 1am, sending orders or sorting things out but I love, it, this job is my true passion and I can’t imagine ever getting bored with it,” she says.