Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Features

Meet Studio Souk siblings Linzi and David Rooney

By Karen Ireland

Linzi Rooney opened Studio Souk last year to help exhibit the work of artists and designers. Her brother David is the shop's retail manager.

Name: Linzi Rooney

Age: 30

Occupation: Owner and founder of Studio Souk

Relationship to David: Sister

I set up the Studio Souk in Castle Lane, Belfast in March 2014. The idea was to have a showcase for local artists and designers, all under one roof.

As well as all my retailers, I have 14 resident artists in studios who all show their work off.

It is a fantastic and vibrant place to work and I love what I do.

It can be extremely stressful as I have up to 80 different artists to manage at any one time. At the same time, though, it is very rewarding working with so much local talent.

I trained as a silversmith after university, so I know all the pitfalls of trying to run a creative business on your own, and that's why I wanted to set up the studio to offer lots of support and help to those who are just starting out.

We have a great team spirit at the studio and all work together to help each other out.

The artists will be showcasing their Christmas collection next week on November 12, starting at 6pm, which will include a potter working at his wheel, festive cocktails and live music - so it promises to be a great night.

I work with my brother David - he is my right-hand man and I couldn't do this without him. We are a good team.

There is only 18 months between David and I, so we have always been very close and work well together, perhaps surprisingly for a brother and sister.

He is very organised and meticulous about things, whereas I just get on with it and let things come together in a more organic way.

When I have a lot of crazy creative ideas, he reigns me in.

David covers every eventuality in his head before he goes ahead with anything - but I tend to wing it.

He is a realist, and as my retail manager, David looks after the business side of things for me.

Clever, hard-working and charming are words I would use to describe my brother, who is also a great salesperson.

On a personal level, he is very caring, and I know he is proud of me - though he would never admit it and is very protective of me.

Name: David Rooney

Age: 28

Occupation: Retail manager of Studio Souk

Relationship to Linzi: Brother

After leaving school, I went straight into retail, knowing that I had always wanted to work in sales. I began my career with a large company before getting a job in a music shop, which was a bit of a dream job as it combined work with my big passion - music. I used to play guitar and sing in a band so it was a great opportunity for me.

When Linzi offered me the chance to go and work at Studio Souk with her I jumped at it - as it was something very different to what I had done previously.

There's never a dull moment and I love the variety of working with the different artists and designers. Every day brings different challenges and obstacles to be met, but we work through them as a team. The two of us work really well together. We have always been close and do enjoy spending time together outside of work as well - although 'shop talk' inevitably happens.

My typical day involves ordering stock as well as keeping an eye on what is coming in and out, looking after all the sales and working with charts and graphs all day. Some people would find this the boring bit but I love it and our customers are great.

Linzi's hard work has paid off - the studio is a great business even though it is a non-profit organisation.

I am very proud of her - she has done such a good job.

My approach is to be organised and analyse exactly what we are doing, whereas Linzi just wants to get on with it and give something new a try. And, so far, we have been successful. Linzi is a very strong character who focuses on her goals until she achieves it.

Yes, we have hit a few bumps along the way but we are always there to help and pick each other up.

Souk set for Christmas special

  • Set up silversmithing business in 2010
  • Began working with The Fashion Souk in 2012
  • 2013 saw Linzi set up Studio Souk as part of The Fashion Souk
  • The next year 2014, she stepped away from the Fashion Souk events and opened up Studio Souk as a non-profit arts organisation
  • Studio Souk opened in Castle Lane this year, and supports over 80 creative businesses. It's open seven days a week
  • The Christmas event will take place on November 12 at 6pm in 27 Castle Lane
  • For details log on to

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph