I started in textiles, but slowly realised that my home was in accessories.
It’s was more a case of organic growth, free from the bullshit of the boom, which led to Jennifer Kiernan, from Scribble and Stone, entering into the world of self-employment. “It was a tough time,” explains the designer. “I had gone back to university in Edinburgh to study fashion and came out just as the recession kicked off.” Not totally ideal but, with a background like Jennifer’s, not totally disastrous.
“After leaving school I studied Commerce in UCD and then went on to work in business. It wasn’t until a few years in that I got the itch to move on to something new.” Recalling the transition she says, “I started in textiles, but slowly realised that my home was in accessories. It’s what I really excelled at and enjoyed.”
This enjoyment was cultivated and built upon as Jennifer went to work for various designers and even dipped her toe into graphics following her graduation from Edinburgh. “Then the recession hit,” she says plainly, “so I organically became self-employed.”
Organics fuelled by optimism and a variety of optics, Jennifer started selling her craft from a stall in Cows Lane Market. “I tried lots of different things at the start. Clothing, illustration, lots of things. It wasn’t until 2014 that jewellery became the dominant product and Scribble and Stone began.”
Staying in the realm of starting off small, Jennifer presented her pieces at a Product Design Clinic ran by the Design and Craft Council of Ireland. “I received great feedback and advice at the clinic, it was so beneficial. And from there I was offered a place at Showcase Ireland.”
What was shown was a minimalist, eccentric mix. Jennifer’s jewellery meshes together elements of laser-cut perspex, fringing, diamante and leather. Her two collections, which are on-going under the label, are split between fine and subtle sophistication and statement making costume pieces.
Jennifer found a winning aesthetic and, in turn, business plan. “Jewellery was far more accessible to work with. Not as much working capital is required and, in general, jewellery has far less issue in being sold commercially.” Though a career change occurred years before, speaking to Jennifer, you can instantly tell that her business brain has not been forgotten. “Having a small business has always appealed to me, so the whole process of setting up Scribble and Stone felt really natural. Having studied commerce, entrepreneurship was something that had always fascinated me.”
From the markets in Cows Lane, Scribble and Stone turned a corner to the a studio of the same name on 2 Pudding Row on Essex Street West. “A group of us got together from the markets and set up Cows Lane Designer Studio.” Stocking a mix of crafts and gifts, Scribble and Stone is housed perfectly there, glistening among the other homegrown talents.
When asked what’s next for Scribble and Stone, Jennifer is more than ready with an answer, with expansion afoot across the rest of the country. “We’ve just launched in the Kilkenny Design Shop on Nassau St and will be stocked in the Galway and Cork stores next. For me, this is just amazing. Kilkenny Design is a total pioneer in supporting Irish design and I am so happy to be in there.”
After that, Jennifer tells me, there are hopes for foreign trade shows to introduce the brand into an international market. And why not? With recessionary starts and organic authenticity, may Scribble and Stone continue to grow.
Words: Sinead O’Reilly