Tuesday 26 September 2017

A vintage tale

Dirty Fabulous sisters.......Kathy Sherry and Caroline Quinn with two of their favourite outfits at their Dirty Fabulous shop. Photo: Ronan Lang
Dirty Fabulous sisters.......Kathy Sherry and Caroline Quinn with two of their favourite outfits at their Dirty Fabulous shop. Photo: Ronan Lang
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Not all sisterly collaborations are easy to predict. "It never occurred to us that we would end up working together," says Kathy Sherry, who co-owns Dirty Fabulous vintage fashion and accessories store on Wicklow Street in Dublin with her older sister, Caroline Quinn.

There is an eight-year gap between the siblings, who grew up in Co Monaghan, but when Kathy, a qualified care worker, went to work at the Pia Bang Home interiors shop – where her ceramics-trained sister was the manager – they experienced the 'sister synergy'.

Caroline says that they took as much business and mentoring advice as they could get – from FAS, banks and enterprise boards – before going into business together six years ago.

They also factored in the 'what if' question – what would happen if they didn't get on?

"We knew we could work really well together, but in our business plan, we put in contingencies on what would happen if we fell out and if someone wanted to do this or that," says Caroline.

"We talked about everything and were planning for about a year. I knew that I was going to have children, so we talked about me taking a step back."

Both sisters work in the shop and take care of buying and merchandising. Caroline makes bespoke headpieces and works full-time in the store, while Kathy does accounts and looks after the website, blog, and Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts. These can be done at home; fortunate, as Kathy has a young son.

It's ideal, too, that they have different vintage passions. Caroline likes the 1930s and 1940s and wears more tailored, pencil silhouettes from those eras, while Kathy is a 1950s girl and prefers the more fitted-waist, big-skirt look.

"Talking work is not a chore to us. We set time aside for business meetings, but because of our love for shopping and being surrounded by beautiful things, we inevitably find ourselves talking shop a lot of the time," says Caroline.

The sisters move in the same circles outside work and holiday together with their husbands, so being together 24/7 on buying trips in LA and New York is never a problem.

"There's very little that we don't agree on buying. Sometimes there can be a little cajoling, but it's never, 'I'm just going to buy it and you are going to have to put up with it'," laughs Kathy.

Irish Independent

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