Q – Give us a quick description of your business.
A – Findings is a gift shop where everything – yes, everything – in the store is designed and made in the onsite workshop.
Right now, Jewellery, Art, Stationery, Greeting Cards and other gifts are Findings’ main products, but the range will be growing all the time.
Q -Where are you based?
A – Findings is located on The Square in the heart of Blarney Village, beside the Castle Hotel. It’s a lovely location. In wintertime, when the trees are bare, I can see the Castle from the shop and, all year round, it’s lovely to be able to look out at The Square, at the trees and grass, and at people enjoying this beautiful amenity (or even dancing in it– see below).
Q -Tell us about your role in the business.
A – I initially started Findings as a temporary pop-up shop but that experience showed me that there could be a sustainable business in what I was doing. Ever since I’ve been refining the products, and the shop itself.
From the outset I knew exactly how I wanted Findings to look and feel. I wanted Findings to be a little bit quirky, but cool and different. Like, when a customer walks in, I want them to feel they’ve stepped into an inviting and thoughtfully created space. Similarly, I wanted everything on sale in the shop, to be unique and distinct. I think I’ve achieved that.
The next step is to launch the store website (hopefully in August), which will very much have the same feel as the shop.
Q -How long have you been involved in this work?
A – My background is as a writer. However, I’ve always loved making things but purely as a hobby – until I opened Findings. To decide to sell my own creations was, to begin with, very nerve racking, a little, ‘who’d want to buy stuff I make?’ But, over the last two years, I’ve built up my confidence and my skills, and am now very happy to welcome people to Findings.
Q -Tell us about your offerings.
A – So, jewellery is a big seller. Finding’s jewellery is colourful and distinctive. I also make jewellery to order, to (for example) match a wedding outfit. We’ve even made jewellery for entire bridal parties – different but complimentary sets for the bride and for each bridesmaid and flower girl.
Artwork is another big mainstay. Nature, dance, music are my staples. I also specialise in work that celebrates life’s big moments – weddings, engagements, new babies, graduations, etc, etc. I love working with customers to make a truly individual memento which tells a unique story. It’s a privilege to be entrusted with creating these pieces.
Q -What do you consider to be one of your works best features- what are you proud of?
A – From the start, I wanted the business to be as ‘green’ as possible. For the artwork I use – wherever possible – recycled materials and I buy my other art supplies as locally as possible. I try to keep packaging to a minimum and avoid plastics. The shop itself is outfitted with up-cycled vintage (and very beautiful) furniture – all painted in the store’s signature blues and golds.
Q – Any funny anecdotes?
A – So, so many! Like, the other day, two middle-aged American ladies were in the store when one noticed an artwork that featured a huge colourful peacock. She and her friend, she then told me, were part of an amateur dance group that were travelling around Ireland, and dancing in every place they visited, just for fun (as you do!). One of the dances, she went on, was called ‘The Peacock Dance’. Jokingly, I asked could she show me. Being an American she wasn’t shy in coming forward and, next thing I know, both ladies are linking arms and dancing around the circular table in the middle of the shop – step, step, step, and wiggle-wiggle your ‘tush’, step, step, step, and wiggle-wiggle your ‘tush’.
Would I like to join in, they asked. Ah, no, you’re grand, I said. For a full five minutes, around and around they went. Step, step, step, and wiggle-wiggle your ‘tush.
Next morning when I was opening the shop, I noticed the two women and about twenty others, in the middle of The Square, in the rain, some in bright yellow ponchos all dancing their socks off.
When one of the ladies from the day before spotted me, she beckoned me to join in but I cowardly declined.
It’s another day, another funny anecdote.
Q – Any Highlights?
A – Again, so, so many. But, on a daily basis, it’s meeting and talking to customers. What’s really heart-warming is when someone pops back in to tell me that a gift they bought in the shop turned out to be just perfect; that the recipient absolutely loved it.
A – Once again, so, so many. I guess figuring out how to manage the business going forward. Keeping up stock tends to be all consuming and it’s easy to neglect the bigger picture.
Q -Any advice for Joe Public?
A – Shop Local! And not just in my shop (!) but support all local businesses. Blarney is a great village with great amenities!
Oh, and to paraphrase someone or other, “Be grateful for what you have and work for what you want.”
Q -Any new ideas in the pipeline?
A – And once again, so, so, many. Watch this space.
Q – How does Blarney Chamber membership help you/what do you like most about your local chamber?
A – To be honest, at the beginning I was hesitant about joining the chamber. I guess, I didn’t really know what it was about. But I’m delighted I did join. The Chamber is made-up of truly inspirational people, who are extraordinarily generous with advice and with practical help.
The Square, Blarney, Cork T23 K236
Phone: 086 814 5419