Fiáin co-founder, dog lover, foodie & Gaeilgeoir.
In this months blog post, I got to catch up with Luke & Maggie from Galway’s new design focused store 2 Wild Geese, which boasts a new Irish made experience.
Why do we say a new Irish made experience?
Well, over the last few years we've seen a noticeable change in peoples buying habits in Ireland, a strong movement toward authentic Irish goods. Products that are actually designed & made here in Ireland. Ranging anywhere from locally produced artisan food, to art and design led craft.
This pokes a finger in the eye of disposable ‘fast fashion’, soulless high street chains & the glut of lazy drop shipping websites. Instead, this brave movement stands for ethically sourced, high quality goods that are made by real people, locally.
It’s true that in some cases, not all components in small batch production can even be sourced locally & the cost in general can be a little higher (for reasons requiring a whole other blog post).
The repercussions however, for buying locally extend far & deep, bolstering the communities in which we live, often in unseen ways.
It’s this movement that Luke & Maggie have well & truly bought into, putting their money where their mouth is so to speak & establishing not just a new shopping experience, but a platform for emerging & established designers.
...so, on to the interview:
'We both have many years experience in diverse sectors of retail in the States, Australia & UK. More recently we worked at McCambridge’s (a land-mark convenience store/deli/restaurant on Shop Street, Galway since the 1920’s) in management roles.
During our time in McCambridge’s we worked hand-in-hand with local farmers and artisan food producers to create and develop products until they were ‘shelf-ready’. This was at the cusp of the local artisan food movement. We would go on road trips across the country, visiting farms and kitchens to source new products and ideas - along the way advising many of these small producers in practical ways.
As the local artisan food movement took off, many small producers started coming in to the shop with nearly finished products looking for advice on one aspect or other. So in the end we used our combined experience to act as mentors, guiding and advising on anything from brand development to barcodes and packaging. All those nitty gritty details that need to be done right.
We also worked as consultants in partnership with retail businesses - mainly kitting out interiors and designing layouts for cafes and restaurants.'
'We were working as judges for ‘Blas na Éireann, Irish Food Awards’ in Dingle, Co. Kerry and as we were walking around Dingle we noticed so many design shops. It was all high quality, locally designed stuff - about 6 or 7 different shops which was quite a lot for such a small town. On coming back home we noticed that Galway really lagged behind.
There were one or two shops selling Irish goods, but then a lot of shops selling kitsch/twee stuff aimed at tourists.
Or stuff that was supposedly Irish but in reality was just mass produced in China, then shipped in. But there wasn’t really an authentic shop that sold only products that were designed & made in Ireland.'
'We found that we had lost some of the joy in the consultancy jobs that we were working on. We would pour our heart and soul into a job, but in the end it was for someone else, it wasn’t even ours and we had no ownership of it.
We were sitting outside together having a glass of wine on a summers day when we just thought; let’s do it. Let’s quit everything else and go for it! Working on this idea part-time in the background just wasn't enough anymore.
Just then two wild geese flew overhead and that’s were we got our name. From that exact moment we decided to go for it - it was like a sign. It’s such a strong name and we love it.
We wanted 2 Wild Geese to stand out as a shop that stocks strictly Irish products. It gives new and emerging Irish creators a chance to test their products, get sales and feedback from customers. It will give customers the opportunity to connect with something really distinctive and special compared to the carbon-copy shops on the high street.'
'We wanted to create a retail space that was special, to create a partnership with designers & artists where there would be a positive experience on both sides. We’ve already had feedback from some artists & designers who’ve had visitors to their workshop or had commissions directly because of the shop. It’s a positive feedback loop that benefits everybody.
We are planning a series of ‘Meet the Maker’ where the designers and artists come into the shop and make their products there and then. This way customers can see that it’s actually real. They will see the hard work, skill and time that goes into making these products. It also give the makers a chance to interact with the public and explain their craft.
Lot’s of other things in the works too. We will soon have our online shop up and running in a few weeks time. We’ve developed online sales platforms before, so were not going to put it out there until it is just right. A lot of it will heavily promote the designers and have links to their websites as well. We also have plans for a hamper service. We are both really open minded when it comes to this and are open to new ideas & direction.'
'Shop local. It sounds simple.. because it is simple. Why?
Quitting everything as Luke & Maggie said & going for it is no small feet given the commitment to time and resources that this type of business model demands. But by all accounts they’re off to a flying start. Despite opening the doors late in 2018, they’ve received tremendous support locally and we’re excited to see the potential that this store will garner throughout 2019 & beyond.
Get in Touch
2 Wild Geese
Unit 12, Level 1, Corbett Court Shopping Centre, Co. Galway