Kehlan talks with Miriam Cassidy, CEO and co-founder of Us Of Ireland, a new website dedicated to craft arts and designers targeted at an international audience
What is UsOfIreland.com?
The idea is to bring together the best of Ireland’s makers, artists and designers under one banner. This means jewellery, leather, ceramics and other designs can be sold across the world. Also, everything on the site is genuinely Irish made by Irish artists. Our idea is to help them to open up to bigger markets and find a global demand for what they make. Our target right now is the US; that’s where we feel Irish products are most in demand and intend to spread from there.
Where did the idea come from?
I was going around some crafts fairs and realised that Ireland needed a real showcase for genuine handmade crafts. One which could help develop designers and give them the ability to export.
There are some really amazing pieces being created by Irish crafters and there is was really no online window for people to see them, until now.
It also helps to give a much better idea of what real Irish design can do and that it’s not necessarily the leprechauns or shamrocks that we see everywhere. This is craft with real hands making them, with real stories behind them.
Is this a higher-quality product than what the tourist can find on the high street?
Most definitely. That is what our aim is, to bring to light the quality that is out there in terms of Irish craft. A lot of these people are small independent businesses, but they really make such high-quality pieces compared to a lot of what you will find on the high street. We want to spread the idea that you can buy Irish-made products that have long lasting values to the buyer.
What’s more, it comes from some of the best talent around Ireland. So when people buy, they are buying high-quality items and supporting a small independent creator as well.
How did you come up with Us Of Ireland name?
Well it’s actually a little bit of a play on words. ‘Us’ refers to both the designers which are here in Ireland and the US, which is where our target market is. It evokes the idea that Ireland and the US are connected through our mutual Irish connections.
It also has that ‘Come Dance with Me in Ireland’ feel to it. So that people can feel not only a connection with the products they buy, but also that true wholesomeness of what they are getting.
On our website you can search for items from a specific county. So, if you’re from America and know your relations had roots in Cork or Galway, you can search and get a crafted product from that county. That brings the product closer to the person and gives them an emotional connection to the product.
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