It requires determination, patience and pluck. People are always willing to take a punt on their dreams and aspirations. We talk to some new independent businesses in the city to gauge what it takes to set up stall in 2017.
“I had a woman in this morning. She had just been to the green grocers, to the butchers, she came in here and bought a gift and a card, she also had just been to the bakery.”
The name of Aisling Moran’s gift shop, Moo Market, was to some extent her father’s idea. “You can credit him a little bit,” she says. “He’d love that!” He would have been aware that Stoneybatter was the site of The Dublin Cattle Market, which was established in the area in 1863 and became at one point the biggest weekly livestock sale in Europe. Some of its current residents still refer to it as ‘Cowtown’ and there is a Cowtown Café around the corner. But aside from acknowledging local history, the name also says something about contemporary Stoneybatter, and its residential mix of urban professionals, young families and long-time locals. Aisling moved there after living in Australia for a few years, and she “noticed from all the little bits in the area that there are a lot of people [who might like] to buy nice gifts, who have a certain lifestyle.” This was when the idea for the shop came about.
Had a market-bound bull somehow managed to find himself astray and inside Moo Market, he might by accident knock over toiletries from The Handmade Soap Company (based in Co. Meath), soy wax scented candles from Candella (Co. Kildare), ceramic bowls from KaroArt (painted with 24 carat gold, from Dublin 8), or any number of children’s toys or handmade cards.
The idea with Moo Market, Aisling says, was for it to be a well-curated, local gift shop, with a price range that would scare none but the most easily-spooked cattle. And, so far, the area has been greatly receptive. “I had a woman in this morning. She had just been to the green grocers, to the butchers, she came in here and bought a gift and a card, she also had just been to the bakery, and bought stuff for the week. She had used a lot of facilities that we have. And that’s what a lot of people do around here.” Being a part of a community means making use of the resources it offers. Otherwise, she says, the community would eventually cease to exist.
Like any other small business, Moo Market faces challenges. While Aisling’s father might share the credit for naming the shop, the responsibility of running it, of making sure it keeps running, is entirely her own. Expenses like business rates and VAT, which might dissuade some owners from making a turnover beyond a certain threshold, are cause for some concern. But not really. “What worries me more is that people won’t like my shop and won’t shop here. If people love your shop, and they do come in, and you’ve got the right stock, meeting those [expenses] won’t be a problem.”
A couple walks in for some coffee. The coffee at Moo Market is from Upside Coffee Roasters (Dublin 3). Two large Americanos work out to five euros sixty, please. Did they want a loyalty card? A loyalty card would be great. Before they leave, Aisling places two stamps on it. The stamp is of a cow. “I nearly put the cow upside down. That would’ve been a disaster,” she says, laughing.
Words: Olen Bajarias
Portraits: Killian Broderick
29 Stoneybatter, Dublin 7