21 Entrepreneurs: No. 8 Irish Design Shop

I discovered the Irish Design Shop before I even moved to Ireland while I was doing some feeling around and looking into the design scene. I was immediately drawn to their focused approach & well curated store, focusing on strong, minimal design that’s funky, yet lasting!

TITLE: Irish Design Shop

1. ) How did your business/blog/website come about? How was this idea born and what lead you to do what you’re doing now?

We were both sharing a jewellery studio and selling our work at weekend markets back in 2008. Ideally, we wanted to sell our work through a retailer but couldn’t find a suitable one which specialised in design-led craft, so we decided to set up a shop specialising in Irish design ourselves. We saw a wealth of talent from our peers who were also selling at markets but were unrepresented in any retailer, so we began initially, selling our own jewellery and the work of about ten other designers.

2.) Tell us about your morning routine. Any specific rituals / productivity aspects etc

We have very similar tastes and a pretty identical morning routine which begins with a swim in a very convenient swimming pool located around the corner from our shop. It’s a great way to start any day. A quick catch up then over breakfast before we start the working day.

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3.) What inspires you?

We have always been hugely influenced by Irish heritage crafts, be that in the products we sell and the atmosphere we have created in our small shop on Drury street. Craft is such a strong element in Irish culture. Its accessibility and association with everyday use is what appeals to us. Beautifully made, functional pieces which quietly reference the Irish landscape.

4.) Biggest lesson you’ve learnt?

Think things through before committing to projects. Don’t work for free!Remain confident and positive about what you’re doing, even during difficult periods.
Enjoy a work/life balance (we’re getting there!)

5.) Biggest failure so far?

We see failures more as ‘life lessons’. There’s no failure which we haven’t learnt from. We used to have two shops, we are so happy to just have one shop now, but learnt a lot from being in different locations, and a lot of what not to do. I think when projects don’t work out, you can look back on them and feel really grateful for what you do have.

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6.) Biggest Success so far?

Launching our collaborative jewellery brand Names. It was a year in the making before we launched it last Autumn. We were totally overwhelmed by the response it got! This year is all about focusing on the jewellery and developing a new collection. Our range of cufflinks will be launched at the end of May, so that’s keeping us busy! (namesdublin.com)

7.) Your work space? Clean & Minimal or Eclectic and colourful – what would we find on your desk?

Organised more so than clean and minimal. We work in a shared studio with machinery & chemicals. If it weren’t an organised space, it would be pretty hazardous! We work at a shared, large desk. You’ll find jewellery prototypes, saws, files, emery paper, sketches and lots of metal filings. Biscuits and mugs of tea feature too.

8.) Top 3 entrepreneurial tips?

Contact your local enterprise office to what mentoring and workshops are available, and of course financial assistance.

Spend time on a business and marketing plan, it gives you a clear direction.

Have a good support system of friends and family, you’re going to need them!

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9.) Who are you currently listening to?

Lisa O’Neill, her new album is really beautiful.

10.) Your best marketing tool?

We find Instagram is really great as it’s so visual.

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11.) Dream Big Right? What’s next for you?

We don’t necessarily dream big. We stay focused on our online and physical shop, sourcing new products, thinking of new displays, how to improve the shop fittings and appearance, basically how to best run the shop. We are lucky in that our customer base has grown substantially in the last two years. To maintain this growth, we need to always come up with new ideas. We are currently working on a range of specially commissioned homewares which we will launch in late May. Products will be added bi-annually to this brand. The first selection of products are almost complete, and it all looks amazing!

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For more info:

Website / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest 

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