When did you set up your business and why?
I became self-employed during the end of the last recession out of necessity, as our design industry was really not in a good place at that time in terms of employment or job opportunities.
I had initially done a commerce degree in UCD and after working in business for a few years, I went back and studied fashion and textile design at art college in Edinburgh.
After college, I worked for various designers before needing to become self-employed.
During those early years, I tried various things - clothing, illustration - testing the market through a stall at the weekly touristy Cows Lane Market, then renting a retail space in Temple Bar with a few other designers, but I didn’t really have a viable range of products yet.
I was really just trying to figure out how I might be able to make a living creatively, what could I do, what might sell.
It wasn't until 2016 when I brought my new jewellery line to a wholesale trade show that my wholesale business was born and the business that is Scribble & Stone truly began.
I‘ve always been in interested in business and entrepreneurship and the idea of building something from the ground up is very exciting.
What I love about jewellery specifically is how, in a sense, one size fits all, so it’s a lot more inclusive to all women than clothing and I love that.
Can you explain your process?
The first part, generally speaking, would be research and trend analysis.
We tend to look at what’s going on across lots of areas, from exhibitions to films to what’s happening on the catwalk. I’ll also look at things I’m interested in personally from architecture to interior design to natural landscapes.
From there, we‘ll collect lots of visual research and make beautiful mood-boards to use as reference points.
I am also a total magpie collector of things. So, if go anywhere, I will hunt out a bead or supply shop and bring something back we might use in a collection.
Once you are surrounded by things like this, the rest just flows. Materials and colours will suggest themselves.
You sort of get a feeling for what combinations of things might work and then you start to play about draping on a mannequin or drawing elements that you can get 3D modeled. From all of this, a collection will start to evolve.
Then, it’s just about refining the ideas and, of course, costings. Sometimes you just can’t make the things you want because they’ll be too expensive, which is a shame, but is the reality of the industry.
What is your best seller?
In recent years, we have become known for our delicate 14kt gold-filled pieces that are designed to be layered and last well over time.
They are classic designs that you can build up and add to. They look great on their own or stacked for that on-trend layered look.
If you want a piece that still looks gold after multiple wears, but you don’t want to spend on pure gold, then our range fits that niche!
Our statement earrings are also very popular. We did a collection a few years ago called 'The Stem Collection', which is a modern interpretation of a floral theme.
It's kind of a graphical, geometric take on florals, but with black (the antithesis of typical floral colours) and gold and is consistently popular.
What is it about your business that brings you joy?
There’s lots, but one fantastic thing is that I get to work with amazing, creative business or retail professionals who are experts in their fields.
I’ve learned so much from them about things I can apply to my business. We’ve been lucky enough to work with some great retailers here in Ireland: The Kilkenny shops, Avoca Stores and the iconic Arnotts, not to mention all the fab indies we supply!
I also get a lot of joy from meeting the customers we sell to. Often, they are here on holidays and want a piece of contemporary Irish design to commemorate their trip or are buying for a special occasion, birthday or whatever.
I get real joy out of meeting people from lots of different places and backgrounds and soaking up a bit of their holiday or special birthday buzz!
What are your hopes for 2023?
We are moving to a new premises in The Digital Hub, which we are so excited about! This will allow us to take on some additional staff and really improve our offering in the digital space.
We have also been asked by a major retailer to do a concession in their store, so I am hoping 2023 will bring this to fruition. Launching our own concession with a major retailer would be a long-time dream come true!
What advice would you give to another start-up business?
Just start. Don't wait to have everything figured out, you will always be learning. Figure it out as you go and don’t let your inner critic talk you out of trying.
Remember, stores need new products, so be confident in your offering, but be critical too. Be realistic about whether there is really a market for your product and whether you will get a scalable business out of it, if that’s what you want.
Don't be afraid to try new products too. You don't have to stick with the thing you started with, you can test the market and change what you are doing anytime.