Relatively Speaking: We chat to siblings Sarah and Lorcan
With their new Enrich & Endure homeware company, Lorcan and Sarah Quinn are helping to revive the linen heritage of their hometown of Banbridge. Fresh and innovative, the siblings are currently designing their new collection for 2015 in collaboration with Invest NI and the University of Ulster.
Name: Sarah Quinn
Relationship to Lorcan: Sister
For years, Lorcan wore a smart-cut suit, slouched over spreadsheets and sat bored in board meetings of dad's property company, in a Walter Mitty state of mind. In January 2013, he threw his toys out of the proverbial pram and went travelling around the world for six months, living the adventure he had always dreamt of. He made it all the way to base camp of Mount Everest before coming home full of bright ideas, souvenirs and a big bushy beard.
Lorcan and I have a lot of mutual friends so we socialise in the same groups. We also go climbing together a few times a week, or go up the Mournes at the weekends. We are lucky we get on so well – that's not to say we never bicker.
I went to Manchester to study art at university, but hadn't a clue what I wanted to do, so I decided to go out into the big bad world and get some real experience. I was living in New Zealand for a year, where I spent time working for an interior designer, and finally figured out what I wanted to do. Lorcan came out to visit me and I guess that is when the Enrich & Endure first got thought up.
We wanted to develop a business that curated beautiful products made in Ireland that told great stories. I love telling stories. We wanted to meet makers and create a community of like-minded creative people that work together in re-inventing Irish products in a fresh and unique way.
Lorcan works on all things business and marketing. He is in charge of making it all happen. He is super-efficient and a whizz on the computer. I am in charge of all things creative, design and production.
I also write our blog and am a self-confessed Post-It queen. We love to work to music – there is never a dull moment in the studio. It makes my day when someone temporarily forgets themselves and blasts out a chorus at the top of their lungs, myself included of course.
Name: Lorcan Quinn
Relationship to Sarah: Brother
The last thing we want to do is sit behind a computer screen all day. We had never worked together before and are incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to build a family business that will hopefully endure for years to come.
I come from a property background and, although Sarah has a lot of experience in design and interiors, this is all very new for us, so every day is a school day. We work long hours, but get up very early to try and get the most out of the working day so we have our evenings and weekends free to do what we want. I do a lot of climbing so spend most evenings training in Belfast. Sarah often comes, too, but she is doing her yoga instructor course as well, so we are kept busy.
Enrich & Endure is in its embryonic stages, but we believe it has huge potential to grow.
I suppose the most difficult thing about getting out of the blocks is getting our brand name out there. We spend a lot of time working our social media and networking with other interesting people in the industry.
We both have a keen eye for design and, after working in the property market for seven years, I was keen to start a new career in something I really cared about.
We are so lucky, where we live, to have the opportunity to work with such experienced and talented local weavers. As Enrich & Endure develops and grows, we are getting a better understanding for our market place and what our customers want.
Sarah and I put a lot of love and care into presentation. All our blankets, tablecloths and throws are packaged in a lovely Irish Linen embroidered gift bag tied with ribbon and inside a hand-written postcard. I am also working on marketing strategies and optimising the site – there is a lot of work behind the scenes when designing a new website.
Sarah and I are both in our 20s and many of our friends are getting married and buying their first homes.
This summer, between us, we have seven weddings to go to, and now we have Enrich & Endure, all our friends and relatives know what they will be getting as presents.
Keeping the linen industry alive
Enrich & Endure is one of the increasing number of bespoke craft companies emerging all over Northern Ireland
The once-thriving linen industry has since emigrated to cheaper shores, leaving its proud heritage on the brink of extinction
Enrich & Endure is dedicated to respectfully harvesting the Irish linen heritage of their town while simultaneously pushing it in an entirely new direction, ensuring a future for this world-quality craft that might otherwise have been forgotten. For more details, visit www.enrichandendure.com