Sisters Sisters Becca and Jess Stern always dreamed of starting a business together. So when, in 2017, their eureka moment came, the small matter of Jess living in London and Becca being based in Australia was hardly going to stand in their way. The lightbulb moment had hit when they were walking together by the ocean, pondering over the things that they loved most in the world and what was particular to each of them. That ruminative conversation set Becca to thinking about her fondness for collecting the old, often flaky, metal lockers that populated her studio, some of which she’d found discarded by the side of the road. And, just like that, the kernel of a concept took root, and Mustard Made was imagined into existence.


Just four years on and after much product development and research, their locker company, Mustard Made, is now a multi-million-pound global business. And not even an ongoing global pandemic has stymied their progress. Rather than being swallowed up by the wave of panic and economic uncertainty, the sisters have powered on, adding more and more products in new colourways, and even launching their business in the spiritual home of the locker room: America. They are, it’s safe to say, a force to be reckoned with.

They tell us how it felt to quit their careers to chase a dream, and about their next big goal for Mustard Made. With this duo in the driving seat, it is surely only a matter of time. Next stop: world domination.

Follow Mustard Made on Instagram here.

Favourite place in all the world?

Jess: Home. After three lockdowns, a six-month renovation and a long stint at my in-laws while pregnant, I really appreciate our little flat. It finally feels like home.

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Becca: India! I first went there when I was 19 and have been back twice since. I love the colour, the chaos, the incredible history and culture, the kindness of the people and, of course, the food.

Dream holiday?

J: Right now, I would love to go anywhere where the sun is shining – a white beach, blue sea and a cocktail in hand. Maybe a kids club. (Never thought I’d say that!)

B: I’m dreaming of being with my family in London. It will be two years since I’ve been ‘home’ and I really can’t wait!

Most coveted item right now?

J: An Ergobaby carrier. My two-month-old daughter will always fall asleep in it, so we don’t go anywhere without it!

B: Jess sent me the most beautiful soft red cardigan from Sezane and it makes me feel so happy whenever I wear it.

Proudest professional moment to date?

J: Quitting my ten-year career in fashion to start a locker business. Two months afterwards, I found myself standing at a trade show in London with retailers knocking at our door. At the time it felt scary, but I haven’t looked back.

B: I was invited to speak at the opening of the Facebook HQ in Sydney. It felt like a big moment, recognising how far I’ve come and that I have a story to tell.

Your dream future project?

J: A shop. I really want to have our own Mustard shop, selling lockers, baskets and hangers of course, but also showcasing lots of our favourite small businesses, too.

B: We’re planning a house renovation. With three boys, we’re in need of some extra space – and a place to hide from them!

Who has been your most inspiring mentor, professionally or personally?

J: My sister. She inspires me, acts as my sounding board and pushes my buttons!

B: Other than Jess (thanks sis, you too!), I’d say our Dad has been someone that we both turn to for advice professionally. And our Mum for a personal pep talk!

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

J: My dream is to one day own a townhouse in Chalcot Square in Primrose Hill. It’s a little corner of London that is colourful, full of good pubs, beautiful Georgian homes and green spaces.

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B: There’s a beautiful strip of old homes right near the beach here in the city I live in (Newcastle in Australia). They have the perfect mix of stunning character and a perfect location. I’ll take one of those please!

What book is on your nightstand/ kindle right now?

J: Cribsheet by Emily Oster. But I have to admit, with a two-month-old keeping me busy, I haven’t actually opened it yet!

B: I picked up a book about the Dalai Lama’s life while away on holiday and I’ve been enjoying (slowly) finishing that.

Best film you’ve seen recently?

J: I can’t remember the last time I sat down to watch a film. I don’t think I would be able to stay awake for the whole thing!

B: I recently watched The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind. It was beautiful and inspiring.

Best binge-watched TV show?

J: Downton Abbey. I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I just finished it and I am gutted. I just love all the outfits.

B: I loved watching This Is Us – all the tears and emotions.

Top podcast of the moment?

J: How I Built This by Guy Raz. I just listened to the episode with Ben Chestnut, the founder of Mailchimp. His journey was really inspiring and transformative. I love hearing first-hand about the mistakes and achievements made by businesses that are part of our everyday lives, especially the ones we just assume have all their shit together!

B: Esther Perel’s Where Should We Begin? I always feel like I learn something about myself or my loved ones.

Your hero?

J: My mum, she is pretty amazing. She’s taught me a lot about how to look after myself, give myself what I need and listen to my instincts. I’m really grateful for that.

B: Ditto.

Favourite dish to cook?

J: Click the Deliveroo app and pay! Haha! I am very lucky to have a partner that loves cooking. But when it comes to me cooking, it is always Deliveroo.

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B: Pesto pasta with broccoli. It’s my go-to quick meal that makes everyone in the house happy.

Favourite café/ restaurant?

J: Palomar, London. It’s modern Israeli food with so much flavour and spice. It is where we go to celebrate.

B: Flotilla is our favourite treat date night spot here, but I always look forward to Dishoom when I’m back in London.

Most useful thing on your desk?

J: My laptop.

B: A MiGoals Daily desk pad. I’m always scribbling notes.

Which five people, dead or alive, would you find most interesting to be stuck in a lift with?

J: David Attenborough, Louis Theroux, Jimmy Carr (although that laugh may start to get a little annoying after a few hours), Yves Saint Laurent and Marc, my fiancé. He would definitely keep me calm.

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Image: John Cairns, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

B: I’ll join Jess’s lift party!

Favourite building?

J: Liberty London, one of the best places to shop in London. The building itself is just as stunning as the homewares and fashion inside and the flowers outside. It is somewhere I have loved going to my whole life. And now they sell our lockers too!

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B: I worked at the Hayward Gallery many years ago. I always loved the thick concrete walls and Brutalist simplicity.

Favourite Instagrammer

J: Too hard to pick a favourite but I love to follow @heartzeena for all things joyful; @sarahshermansamuel for my dream interiors; and @katherine_ormerod for her wardrobe.

B: Same, that’s hard! @alannanicolex makes me want to go shopping; @celestebarber makes me laugh out loud; and @charlottejacklin is always making great content.

Your screensaver?

J: A moody looking mountainous island.

B: A sneaky photo of me holding my youngest, Otis, which was taken during a work shoot.

What would be your epitaph?

J: I have no idea!

B: Mum, you can nap now.

By Nancy Alsop
January 2021

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