Lighting & Interiors Product Designer: Gráinne Lyons On Running Her Business – #TYBspotlight
Gráinne Lyons is an up and coming furniture and lighting designer from Dublin, Ireland who creates contemporary and innovative interior products with a distinct interest in form and texture. In this #TYBspotlight I ask her about her inspiration, running her business and her plans for the future.
Please tell us about yourself and your business?
After graduating from Dublin Institute of Technology in 2011 with a First Class Honors BA Degree in Design, I set up my own studio where I now work on my collection of Lighting and Homeware products. My aim is to create contemporary and innovative interior products with a distinct interest in form and consumer interaction.
All my products are made using materials sourced and manufactured in Ireland and in addition to my retail products I offer a bespoke service where customers can come to my studio, discuss their requirements and I’ll design a one-off piece for their home.
Describe your collection and the inspiration behind your products?
I like to create contemporary and innovative products which are inspired by form, construction and modular systems. I have always had a keen interest in 3 dimensional design and geometric form – the geodesic domes of Buckminster Fuller and the geometric sculptures of George. A. Hart are the basis of my lighting collections. I’m interested in how the construction techniques and form combine to create structures which in essence are quite simple but make the most of visual form.
All my lighting products are flat pack and have been designed around the principles of 3 dimensional forms. The flat 2D modules produce forms that appear complex, yet have a basic underlying principle – the fabrication of my design is just as important to me as the end result. My aim is to evoke a certain unity and to show that each individual module is as important to the structure of piece as the whole.
Where can I buy a Gráinne Lyons product and what would I pay?
All Gráinne Lyons Design products are available to buy direct from my website and are priced from €19.95 to €79.95. A number of my products are stocked by some great Irish retailers and these you can also find on the website.
Where and how do you source your materials?
My materials are sourced in Ireland. The Crafts Council of Ireland offers some great information on making contact with Irish suppliers. Other designers are also a great help – many of whom I now know from networking at shows and workshops.
— Furniture Fair IRL (@FurnFairIRL) September 24, 2013
You’ve received lots of media attention – where have you appeared and how has this helped?
Media coverage has played a vital role in getting my products noticed. It’s great recognition and over the last year I’ve featured in some of Ireland’s most read magazines and newspapers, as well as appearing in some great Irish and International design blogs and websites. I’m lucky to have made contact with some wonderful editors and writers who are always willing to support Irish designers and Irish businesses. I also have my own design blog which I set up after finishing college.
How have you found the challenge of balancing design with other aspects of running your business?
I am constantly learning new things about running a business. Coming up with new products is the easier part for me while growing and marketing my business I find more difficult – and this now takes up far more of my time than the design. I’ve not studied business or marketing so I have to learn as I go. I’m getting lots of advice and support from the Crafts Council. They run regular workshops and I find that talking with the other designers and business owners really helps.
As a designer, how would you compare retail with selling online?
Retail has many benefits. It offers recognition for your work, products and business and usually your products get seen by a wider and more diverse audience. However, it is more difficult to make a profit when selling wholesale. Selling direct on my website is easier for the consumer and allows me to make a better margin. All products are shipped direct within 2-3 days by clicking a button.
Have you used social media and do you find it effective?
What are your future plans and where would you like to see carrying your pieces in the next 12 months?
I’m going to focus on taking part in some of the bigger national and international design fairs to help me reach a wider market and make new contacts with retailers both here and abroad. With the media attention these events attract and the buyers that attend, I’m hoping to to get my work noticed more in both the national and international marketplaces.It would be amazing to see my products selling in the likes of Arnotts and the Kilkenny Shop someday.
Thank you to Gráinne for sharing her story and her insights.
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