The beauty of the internet and the relative cheapness of air travel today means that the whole world is closer to us than ever before and we’re much more connected than even a mere five years ago. Facebook, Twitter and most especially, Instagram and Pinterest, have given us greater access to new companies, brands, designers and ideas that we otherwise would never have come across (what’s your total Pinterest browsing time today?). Online shopping allows us to take ownership of some of those discoveries; though the immense disappointment of the words ‘we currently do not ship to Ireland’ can never fully be appreciated by those who don’t understand. Essentially what we have now is endless possibility.
But when shipping challenges and sheer impatience get the better of you, nothing beats a good old fashioned in-store retail splurge. This is where all that endless possibility ends up leaving you incredibly jealous as the reality is, in Ireland we just don’t have the actual access to the same level of choice the physical world and the digital world would have us believe.
However, I feel like we’re making progress and the arrival of West Elm to the floors of Arnotts’ furniture department was like a beacon of hope that we may just be making an impact with some of our favourite international brands and retailers that Ireland is a market worth looking at. But West Elm is only going to keep so many people happy for so long. We’ve had a real life taste of what’s out there and we need more, we demand more!!
So here’s what’s on my list of interior and homeware retailer demands:
First up is US homeware and furniture retailer, Crate & Barrel which first opened its doors in the early 1960s. Husband and wife Gordon and Carole Segal returned home from their honeymoon in Europe and having been inspired by the beautiful glassware and dinnerware they found, they were determined to bring similar affordable, stylish homewares to their part of the world.
Quality products and timeless designs is still very much the order of the day at Crate & Barrel. While they do offer sophisticated furniture collections, their strength remains in the ability to provide expert entertaining. With everything you could need from dinnerware, flatware, serveware, fresh table linens, barware… you name it, they have it!
We’ve become a nation of foodies, we can’t get enough avocados, we love our brunches and our penchant from large open kitchen/dining spaces means that we’re also entertaining more and more at home. So give us the tools we need to become the hosting god and goddess we know we can be and bring Crate & Barrel to Ireland.
There are 9 Zaras in Ireland (to be honest, I thought it was far more) but not a single one is an interiors store. Do not think we are worthy? Do you know where they did think was worthy… Tblisi, Georgia, making that a total of 74 different countries. 450sqm of homeware heaven has just opened in one of the city’s largest shopping centres, yet we can’t even seem to get a corner in an existing Zara store.
Using its runway prowess, Zara Home creates fashion-forward bed, table and bath linens, tableware and flatware, a range of furniture pieces and tonnes of decorative accessories. On-trend, contemporary and reasonably budget-friendly, Zara for homeware is almost even better than Zara for clothes… and I love Zara for clothes.
The Conran Shop
Paris, London and Kyoto, what do these three cities all have in common? I’m sure they have quite a bit in common but on this occasion I’m purely talking about The Conran Shop. A small range of ‘Content by Conran’ available at Arnotts means that I don’t feel quite as hard done by as I did with Zara Home but it just isn’t enough.
The Conran Shop is like a well edited luxury retail outlet of some of the world’s most iconic designs and designers for furniture, lighting, home accessories and gifts, as well as new and up and coming talents. All the greats such as Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, Saarinen, Eames, GamFratesi as well as Conran’s own range, housed entirely under one roof.
I dedicated an entire piece to this in a recent article for IndulgeMe.ie and given Oliver Bonas‘ existing 70-store strong footprint, I don’t think it would be too much of a leap to open in Ireland. Having said that, our closest store is at least on the same land mass, located on the Lisburn Road and another on Arthur Street in Belfast.
I just absolutely love their bright and bubbly designs, be it their clothing, homeware or gift range. Adding new lines and designs each week to its retail and online store, there is always something new to covet. Just think how easy it would be to make the transition from online basket to actual in-store purchase. Oliver Bonas, you have 70 stores now dotted all across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, come on now, sharing is caring!
House of Hackney
I can’t be too needy here as they only have one flagship store in Shoreditch, London. However, I’m making a claim for their first international store to be Dublin, after all its co-founder Frieda Gormley is originally from Donnybrook.
House of Hackney is the home of pattern on pattern. This place is a maximalist’s dream where prints, colours and textures, inspired by the natural world, clash in a burst of extraordinary genius. Once described as ‘William Morris on acid’, House of Hackney is what you go for when you want to bring flamboyance and uniqueness to your interior.
So what are your current purchasing choices? Well you can either order online, visit the Shoreditch shop or visit their only Irish partner store where the ladies at DUST can help you out!
So, what would you like to see? Perhaps we could start written some petitions and send them in to the various outlets!