April & The Bear
Is your name April ? And do you have a secret pet bear? We’re really diggin’ the name where did you get it from?
No actually – my name is Siobhan but I was born in April! The name comes from this fact and from my fiancé Jamie – who looks and acts rather like a bear. When I was initially trying to figure out the right name for the store, a friend suggested just calling it what I love – so I did!
Could you tell us a little more about your background? What spurred you into setting up shop on your own?
I’ve always worked in the retail sphere; initially I worked in fashion boutiques and wrote for fashion blogs on the side. I then decided to re-train and returned to college and studied fashion buying. This lead to fashion internships and eventually to working on the Arnotts fashion buying team, at the same time Jamie and I bought our first home and we found it incredibly difficult to find the type of home wares that we wanted to fill the house with – sparking the idea for an on-line store that focuses on eclectic and affordable homewares.
Where do you source all of your beautiful pieces and brands from, it’s seems like quite a global collection of pieces?
Our collections come from all over the world e.g.. Denmark, Edinburgh and Brooklyn, I wanted to make sure that the store had an international flavour but with an Irish focus. Like most of our art prints are from really talented Irish artists like Carol Mahon and Vincent Lam but ultimately if I find a brand or artist that is crazy gifted and I know my customer will love it – I buy it.
We see you do quite a bit of DIY as well on your blog, would you ever branch out into an interior design business as well?
I would absolutely love to get involved with interior design and it’s certainly in the plans down the road but for the moment I’m focusing on the store and blog and some exclusive collaborations.
What do you find is you most popular collection?
It changes all the time to be honest but our Wild Dining plates and Brooklyn jewellery line Verameat always sell incredibly well.
How do you pick and choose what designers you like to represent in the shop?
I love supporting young independent designers that have a unique feel to their product range and I like to stock products that are not available anywhere else – for instance Verameat’s edgy designs are exclusive to April and the Bear in Ireland which is so important for my customers to know that they are getting something really different and special – something you can’t find on the high street.
What is your personal ethos for good design?
Good design requires a focus on function and simplicity – an overcomplicated piece can be exhausting. Also I find the best designs always have a cheeky dollop of humour.
What is inspiring you at the moment?
I’m feeling very inspired by my fellow businesswomen at the moment to be honest, there seems to be a flux of female entrepreneurs making great strides at the moment and I’m all about supporting my fellow femme.
What have you been cooking in your new lovely kitchen these days?
Oh jaysus – I’m not gonna lie, I’m a pretty horrific chef. The last thing constructed in the kitchen was a fairly epic Gratin dauphinoise by Jamie but the last thing I attempted was a large gin and slim – does that count?
What is your favourite off the cuff home ware find for your own home?
Without a doubt the neon pink pig from Harry Allen that stands guard in our sitting room.
Any exciting future plans for April and the bear?
We’ve just launched a really exciting print range with illustrator (& sibling) Vincent Lam – the limited edition collection features three exclusive prints which are influenced by nature and the temporary essence of life. This is the first in a series of original collaborations between April and the Bear and Vincent Lam – with more to be announced in 2015!
Words: SBK Fox
Photography: April & The Bear