Irish makers are stepping into the light with strong design and great ideas for gifts.
Badly Made Books’ name is tongue-in-cheek; the notebooks are, in fact, expertly crafted from recycled coffee cups, pizza boxes and other post-consumer waste paper. Based in Cork, owner Seán O’Sullivan uses production methods that are low-impact, and has customisable books for gifts, too; badlymadebooks.com.
Belgian Julie Vandingenen set up her business at a traumatic time. By the age of 26, she had cared for her fiancé who subsequently died from cancer. In her time of deep grief, she saw how people struggled to console, “Other than sending flowers, which are nice, but they don’t really help.” Over time, she developed what has become Lovingly Box — specially curated care packages with names like ‘It’s OK to stay in bed all day,’ or ‘It’s OK be angry,’ which is a top seller. Business took off during Covid-19 when we needed to show care, but under restricted circumstances. Ninety per cent of the boxes’ contents are artisan, Irish products. They’re stocked in Arnotts and online from €30, see lovinglybox.com.
Vintage is fashionable and beneficial for the environment. Caroline McBrearty at Vito Vintage (Fridays and Sundays, 10am-3pm; Saturdays, 8am-3pm) in Limerick’s Milk Market brings her skills from LSAD Fashion to her boutique, where she sells hand-sourced items, from leather bags and boots to kaftans and kimonos. She styles people of all shapes with vintage pieces that make a bespoke fashion statement, and can be loved for many more years. See vitovintage.ie.
Anyone who has an eco bone in their body or loves plants, will love a gift of a SeedBomb or two. Wildflower meadows provide habitats for insects and wildlife, promoting biodiversity and helping the planet. Containing only 100pc Irish wildflower seeds and no grasses, these seed bombs also help bees, and give the gift of beautiful flowers to come. For kids, or anyone, really. See seedbomb.ie.
Now in Brown Thomas, the new Fiadh collection, Taobh Cnoic, is inspired by the plants and rocks of the Dingle peninsula. Using yarn from Ireland, the UK and Italy, Fiadh’s stunning pieces are practical and high fashion. See fiadh.ie.