Tuesday 6 December 2016

Having a partner makes everything easier, all the scary things just become funny

Jennie Flynn, owner, Designist

Jennie Flynn

Published 13/11/2016 | 02:30

Designist owner Jennie Flynn
Designist owner Jennie Flynn

While it's never wise to start with a cliche, the thing I wish I'd known most is to trust your instincts.

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There were only eight weeks between when we decided to start the shop - in September of 2010 - to when the doors opened in November. It was incredibly fast but we knew we had to be open before Christmas.

As it happened so quickly there was no time to second guess any of our decisions, however six years later, many of them still stand.

For example, we don't put prices on our pieces, instead each of the products has a price card that tells you the story of the product. We came up with the idea for the cards about two hours before our launch and still use them today. It's the same when it comes to choosing products, your initial feeling about whether it will work is usually right.

A lot of what you think are limitations on the business are actually strengths. Being small, lean and flexible allows you to react to changes in the market. In 2012 things were so tight we couldn't order anything that we couldn't sell within 30 days or we might not be able to pay for it.

It also meant we could change the entire stock in the shop every month and keep trying new products without being weighed down with loads of inventory. We're no longer under the same pressure, but continuing the practice of turning over the stock frequently makes us more dynamic and interesting.

Having a partner makes everything easier. All the scary things just become funny when there is someone else to share them with. I've had two amazing partners so far; Barbara Nolan, who I started the business with, and Anne Lynott, who joined as a partner in 2014.

Also, packaging matters. Particularly when it comes to gifts. It gives context to a product and gives us visual cues about what's inside the packaging. Gift-giving is a complex social interaction fraught with possible pitfalls.

We used to stock a game that was the exact size and shape of a laptop when it was gift wrapped. It was a truly excellent game but no matter how good it was it was hard to make up that gap in expectation when you open the parcel!

Sunday Indo Business

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