15 Aug 2017 | 08.17 am
Wicklow Designer Sitting Pretty With Unique Fabric
Aoife’s Mullane's fabric designs make for arresting cushions, throws and chairs
15 Aug 2017 | 08.17 am
Esmark Finch in Clonshaugh is a specialty packaging printer that that uses techniques such as foil stamping, spot UV and embossing to produce high-end packaging and labels. Director John Mullane’s daughter Aoife Mullane is a chip off the old block in terms of using unusual colours to make a creative impression.
Aoife’s fabric designs are influenced by naturalistic forms and patterns. The designer’s materials of silk, wool, cotton and velvet are mottled with metallic gold, copper and silver colour strands. The printed fabrics are called Speckled Rock, Mineralized Aluminium, Gold Pebble and Copper Crackle, and the fabric can be purchased by the metre. Aoife also uses these fabrics to make eye-catching cushions, throws for the floor and even chairs.
Trading as Amullanedesign, the Bray-based venture was launched in January 2016, and she has quickly gained traction with interior designers and architects. “They are often interested in working with Irish designers, which is great for me,” Aoife explains.
“I have created work for a number of commercial businesses, most recently five bespoke wall-hanging prints for 103 bedrooms in a Dublin hotel. I truly believe my designs contribute in adding to the sense of well-being to an architectural space through their beauty and function. My brand stands for clear-cut values: high-quality, authentic, luxurious, unique, creative, contemporary, bespoke and, above all, Irish designed.”
Aoife adds that she tries to not follow trends. “I create pieces that I consider artworks that won’t go out of fashion, and I want them to be appreciated for years to come. My products and fabrics are luxury items and unique in design and I carried out extensive market research defining my market. Every project differs in price based on print, size and finish. For example, the cushions are priced at €160 to €180.”
Both parents are in business (mum owns a fashion boutique) and have counselled their daughter on the business basics. The 26-year-old also attended a ‘Start Your Own Business Course’ organised by Wicklow Local Enterprise Office before setting out on her business journey.
“Just before I set up my business I won cash prize in a design competition for my use of colour palette. I also received some funding from the LEO, which was really helpful.”
Aoife’s creations are made to order, though she is contemplating a diffusion collection for the retail channel. “I have designed some work for clients in America and England who saw seen some of my work online. I would like to continue expanding my overseas sales – I think Dubai could be the perfect market.”
For the moment, Aoife Mullane Design is a self-employment venture, and scaling is a challenge she looks forward to. “People’s perception of designers is that they are solely ‘right brained’. I started this business looking to create some really amazing designs.
“However, I am aware of the importance of the business end. You can create the nicest designs in the world but if you can’t make a business out of it then it’s just a hobby. In the early stages of the business, you have to work hard and remain excited and passionate about what you’re doing. If you don’t love it you won’t stick with it.”