Pillow Talk: String Ting founder Rachel Steed-Middleton’s night-time routine

We sit down with Rachel Steed-Middleton, the founder of viral phone accessories/jewellery brand String Ting, to discuss all things sleep and her night-time routine. Middleton began working on her brand in 2020, starting with £70 worth of beads and has now had her trademark sparkly wristlets endorsed by some of the world’s biggest celebrities, including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa. Here, we unwind with the founder...

Sum up what you do in five words? 

Design, frivolous, necessities, spark, joy. 

Why did you start String Ting, what gap in the market did you spot?

String Ting started as a happy accident, I wasn’t thinking about a market or a business, I was at home during Covid and wanted to keep busy and also teach my children the value of giving back. We had a beaded bracelet sale (like a lemonade stand but for beads) and gave the proceeds to charity and then I started futzing around with the beads that were left over. I was posting what I was making on Instagram and one thing just sort of led to another and the rest is history.

String Ting has grown exponentially and cultivated a dedicated fan base of collectors – how did you scale up and cope with the demand?

The first year was crazy, I think we rode three or four nationwide lockdowns I was really lucky in the sense that I live in Peckham, South East London and a lot of my neighbours are creative. When the demand started to outstrip what I could make myself (whilst working my other full time job! I started with £70 of beads the business is entirely self funded through reinvestment of revenue) I asked a few neighbours if they would be up for making the Tings with me from there we began working together in my living room (when we were allowed) and beaded remotely from home when the lockdowns came into effect. 

After about a year, there were six people in my house, beading in my kid’s rooms, in the living room, in the garden it was crazy, the whole house was taken over by beads! We just sort of learned as we went, I sourced suppliers, we innovated our production, and just kept going.  At the beginning, I could never have imagined I could grow enough to support myself it felt like an impossible dream but I wanted it so badly. Today we are in our second studio, about to move to our third space and we are a team of 10 freelance stringers, 1 packer and one full time employee.

Can you describe the String Ting girlie?

She (or he or they) could be anyone, what they share is an appreciation for the little things (or Tings) in life they get the fun and colour of accessories, and have a strong sense of personal style. It’s not a trend, it’s style and a way to add jewellery to your phone and to accessorise your outfits to match each individual personality and mood.

What’s next for String Ting?

Continue having fun, loving what we do, designing original pieces. We have some really exciting collabs and product developments coming up think the world’s sweetest Korean American bunny, vintage clothing and some super cute keychains.

On a scale of 1 – 10, how much do you love your sleep? 

5? I’ve never been a good sleeper. I weirdly enjoy being up in the night, alone in the dark. Bad habit!

What time would you ideally like to go to bed, as opposed to what time you really end up in bed? 

We run a tight ship. It’s 9PM Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and 10:30PM all other days. 

What’s your usual reason for going to bed late? Work… scrolling through Instagram? 

Doesn’t happen. But if we make it through straight till morning, that is a miracle. 

What side of the bed do you sleep on? 

Right side.

What kind of sleeping position do you normally find yourself in? Do you sleep on your back, or are you more of a fetal position kind of person?

Haha this question. I cuddle my husband to fall asleep and then move to a pillow between the legs, sleeping on my side situation in the night

What is your bed setup? Silk / bamboo sheets or something more simple? 

All about the thread count and raw linen bedspread.

Light sleeper or heavy sleeper? 

Lightest sleeper of life It’s ear plugs and a sleep mask every time.

Morning bird or night owl? 

Morning bird. 

How do you unwind before bed? Can you walk me through your routine…

I’ll be honest, I’ve got a six year old and my husband doesn’t get home from work until 7:30PM – we train three days a week at 5AM which means we need to be asleep by 9:30PM (tragic!) So, if I manage to remove my mascara, that’s pretty good going (kidding but also not haha). For makeup remover, I use Province Apothecary Moisturizing Oil Cleanser + Makeup Remover, it’s my best friend’s organic skincare line and it’s AMAZING – I love the way it smells. My biggest luxuries are my Sulwhasoo products, particularly their First Care Activating Serum and Concentrated Ginseng face cream – I’d say 50% of the time, it makes it onto my face. Korean skincare is the best.

What products/items are on your bedside table? 

My bedside table has a lot of deeply sentimental objects, they are the first and last thing I see in the day and they give me a sense of comfort. I have a beautiful ALIESIN® 1 TABLE By Yamagiwa and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, a large Oyster shell from my grandmother that holds my wedding bands and earrings, and a pair of tiny bronze shoes that my grandfather kept with him during the holocaust. 

What’s the weirdest thing next to your bed? 

Wouldn’t you like to know.

Do you sleep with your phone next to you? 

Yes, so bad!

What can’t you go to sleep without doing? 

Kissing my husband goodnight. 

Do you always take off your makeup before sleeping? 

I wish – it’s a 50/50 situation but I don’t wear a lot of makeup. 

Favourite way to remove your makeup?

Province Apothecary Moisturising Oil Cleanser + Makeup Remover and a face cloth.

Favourite products to use before bed? 


What do you do if you can’t sleep? 

A healthy combination of Melatonin and Instagram :s