When I heard that there was a new store opening in Sligo and it was going to be focusing on Irish Design I was so excited! As you are aware I am an avid promoter of Irish Designers so stores like this really are my favourite 🙂 The store itself is ran by two fabulous sisters – Tara and Kathleen McGowan and you can feel the passion that they have for their business.
Today on Floralesque we have an exciting interview with them and learn about their inspiration behind opening their store and also who they will be stocking. They are launching their new store this evening at 6pm and I would highly recommend that you pop along.
Could you please tell us a bit about the store and what inspired you to open?
Cait & I is inspired by the incredible abundance of wonderful Irish design available at the moment and by the fact that both Kathleen and I really love quirky individual design.
The idea to open a shop initially (and slowly) came to me (Tara) after visiting Galway with Kathleen and wandering into shops like Granny likes it or Coffeewerk and Press and it just struck me that Sligo doesn’t have anything quite like that and I thought it would work well. I had been opening my mind to the possibility of a career change (I had worked in music, performance & festival production for many years) and this was just the seed of an idea. When I spoke about it with Kathleen, she lit up straight away and suggested that we could do it together. It was ON.
We had very little experience of retail except working many flea markets together so we looked into working with a business mentor and with the support of Co. Sligo Enterprise Board we were able to work with Rona O’Reilly from Granny Likes It which was a really great experience and in some way it brought the whole thing full circle.
I understand that there are two of you involved – can you please tell us a little bit about yourselves
We have both always loved design and we have always worked (&played) well together and we are really excited to be working together now.
There seems to be such a fantastic focus on Irish Designed brands in ‘Cait and I’ – have you always had a passion for Irish Design?
Tara – There really is an abundance of exceptional design right now – it would be really, really hard to pick one. I’m a huge fan of Electronic sheep and excited that we are stocking their work. I also love Tiffany Budd’s one-off jewellery and right now I can’t get enough of Orwell & Browne – their cuff-links, bow-ties, pocket ties ..everything! They really are to die for!
Kathleen– I love the delicate designs by Aliquo an the vintage look of her work; we have just started to stock work by Jennifer Slattery which presents a beautiful mix of the contemporary with the traditional which is to die for and I am also a fan of Ail & El’s innovative use of concrete and geometric patterns.
There is so much talent in Ireland when it comes to design and craft – but do you have a favourite designer?
We both love everything we have in the shop though – we love all our suppliers! That is our golden rule.. we must both love it or it’s a no-go. Thankfully, we have very similar taste and we haven’t had any bust-ups… yet!
Can you please tell us about some of the brands that you will be carrying?
Currently we are stocking over 30 Irish brands and our stock includes jewellery, ceramics, home wares, kids products, stationary, accessories –
- Home ware: Ail & El, Ursula Celano, Craftek, Grand Grand, Sealed with Irish Love, Graham Reid glass mobiles, Amy O bunting, Bog Standard.
- Ceramics: Lynda Gault Ceramics, O’Riain Pottery, Maple Tree Pottery
- Jewellery: Aliquo, A Box for my Treasure, Scribble & Stone, Edge Only, Tiffany Budd, Basianti Designs
- Accessories: Orwell & Browne, Electronic sheep. Shrawls by Nichola MacEvilly, Martha van der Meulen, Gabrielle Bonney.
- Kids: Saturday Workshop, Roundy Squares, Pieces of Great, The Wool Felt Shop, Gosling Games, Pippa Blue
- Illustrators: Claudine O’Sullivan, the Pear in Paper, Gary Reddin, Jacob stack and Victoria Hambsch.
- We also stock Clarkes hand made soaps and shaving soaps – they are wonderful
We love that the work we sell is supporting small business – the fact that each item is made with love and care and is made to cherish.
Please tell us more about the launch and the ‘wee fancy’ buns?
We have been open nearly 2 months now… it was hard to pick a launch date and we finally settled on one. We are looking forward to celebrating and love a good shindig. Kevin Noone designed out logo. We love his work and knew we wanted to work with Kevin, he has a very contemporary style and nailed immediately what we were looking for. Makes sense to get home back to play a few tunes on opening night too… but we all know the opening is really about the petit four and elderflower infused prosecco! Really I (Tara) worked with Erin Fox who is not only a dab hand at marketing and now works with Storylab (we worked together at the Model previously) but she is a very talented baker.. birthdays and special occasions at The Model were made extra special.. in fact whatever birthday or leaving do it was, it kind of paled into the background of whatever magnificent cake Erin had just made.
So when she kindly offered to make us petit fours with lemon & elderflower sponge and strawberry and elderflower buttercream .. we said hell yes!!
If you miss the launch on Thursday 14th July @ 6pm then definitely check out the Cait & I store next time you are in Sligo. The store is located on Market Cross in the ‘Lady Erin Quarter’ of Sligo. They also have an amazing website and are active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!! I wish them all the best with the launch and cannot wait to get shopping in store.
All images from the Cait & I Facebook Page.