Collector Karl launches new antique and decorative item business


A Soham man who started his own online antique and decorative item business says it is booming – despite only being launched a week ago.

Karl Rutterford, founder of Ralph & Co, launched his online venture last Monday, and is overwhelmed at the response it has received.

Mr Rutterford came from humble beginnings – working in the Ely branch of Tesco – but his passion for collecting and branding recently saw him leave the company and start a business of his own.

Karl, 38, says his collecting obsession began with glass Coca Cola bottles, then progressed to toys and finally antiques, which inspired him to begin his own business.

“When I was 16, I started off working in Ely Tesco and playing football for the county,” he said.

“We travelled to Germany and other European countries and that’s where I was given my first Coca Cola bottle.

“That’s where I really caught the collecting bug and got into branding and it’s something I’ve always been interested in since then,” he said.

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Karl’s company specializes in antique and original decorative items, such as fairground-style signs and mannequins which can be bought or hired in the Cambridgeshire area.

Ralph and Co’s website was launched last Monday and amassed an impressive 3,000 page views in its opening week, with orders being made on its very first day.

“We’ve had amazing levels of interest,” said Mr Rutterford.

“We took orders on day one and we’ve received lots of publicity.”

Karl is aiming for his company, named after his one-year-old son, Ralph, to branch out in months to come, but is aiming for success closer to home in the business’s early days.

“I would love to branch out eventually, but for now I’d like to get going in the Cambridgeshire area. We provide quite a unique service and I haven’t seen any other websites like it, so I’d like to become Cambridgeshire’s number one destination for original decorative items.”

For more information on Ralph and Co, visit their website on