First accolade for boutique open just a week

It’s only been open a wet week and already the citrus-bright Brocade & Lime on Cork’s Corn-market St is garnering the gongs.

The boutique has been named as one of only six shops listed by Elle magazine in celebration of its favourite independent retailers in Ireland and Britain. The Cork shop is the only one name-checked in Ireland.

Owner Emma Ahern says: “We only just heard the news that they put us up as the best boutique in Ireland — they only named six and they were in London and Brighton.”

Contrary to the image of the brash fashionista, Emma is a low-key retailer whose background is actually in biomedicine.

Her father-in-law, Sean Ahern of Ahern Electrical, had traded from 4 and 5 Cornmarket St until moving the business to Ballycurreen. He offered the vacant No 4 as a premises for Emma’s new project.

Emma and husband Thomas renovated the ground floor and opened for business just over a week ago. Emma wanted to retail clothes with a vintage theme, but specifically had Orla Kiely’s range in mind.

“I’ve always loved her clothes more than her bags — that was my first objective, to get her line, and that put my price point where it is — at the €300 mark, and I pitched the other brands around that mark.

“Once I got Orla Kiely — and I had to do a lot of work to impress them with my idea and concept; they didn’t want to go high street with the clothes brand, they just wanted exclusive boutiques — then I was off from that point on.”

The decision to create Brocade & Lime fits in with Emma’s version of work/life balance, she closes Mondays and Tuesdays, but opens on Saturdays and Sundays and other days by appointment.

And the response to the shop? “Absolutely brilliant,” she says. “For the launch we had 25 of us dressed in vintage handing out flyers all over Cork and we had such a laugh — people just loved it.”

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