When did you set up your business and why?

I set up my business around five years ago. I was looking for wedding and new home gift ideas for friends and relations, but I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted.

I saw a gap in the market for gifts that could be personalised, but had the unique and elegant details I was looking for.

I have always loved anything floral-related and although I was making felt flowers at the time, I was inspired by my stunning rural location and the beauty of nature on my doorstep.

This then evolved into me using natural dried flowers in my work. They have become very on-trend in interiors, they are everlasting with no maintenance required and they make a sustainable alternative to plastic and silk flowers.

I've always been creative and worked as a textile designer for many years and have always had a huge interest in interiors and design.

In addition to my bespoke gift collections, I create everlasting dried flower wreaths for home interiors and for businesses such as cafes and salons. They make a beautiful feature piece to an interior and they are totally natural. I always like to stress that wreaths are not just for a front door.

Can you explain your process?

I love to play around with the colours and textures of the dried flowers and arrange them to suit a specific theme or colour range.

I use the macrame technique as a base for some of my wreaths and I’ve recently started to make my own wreath bases from Irish-grown birch.

Attention to detail is so important to me and I think it can really elevate the gift or wreath. I try to source as many Irish-grown dried flowers as I can and I’m lucky to have found a wonderful local flower farmer in Cavan who supplies me and another in Co Westmeath.

My wedding gifts combine dried flowers and a personalisation element, which I then frame to create a keepsake gift or wedding decor for the couple.

Kristen's wedding gifts combine dried flowers and a personalisation element.

I also create nursery décor and home décor pieces which combine dried flowers and wooden embellishments, which I paint and personalise.

I try to be as eco friendly as I can with my packaging and materials and it’s something I will continue to improve on. I design, make, photograph and package everything myself in my home studio.

What is your best seller?

Currently, my dried flower wreaths and wedding gifts are my best sellers. Although this can change, as I design and make seasonally and for occasions, I am always adding new designs and products to my range.

I constantly have new ideas, styles and colour combinations that I want to share with my customers, so my website and social media are the best places to see what I have available.

What is it about your business that brings you joy?

I love the freedom of being my own boss and that no two days are the same. The joyful reaction from my customers when they have received one of my wedding gifts or they have hung up their wreath in their home really gives me the most joy.

Kristen creates everlasting dried flower wreaths for home interiors and for businesses such as cafes and salons.

Knowing that they are so happy with their purchase makes all the hard work worthwhile.

What are your hopes for 2023?

I will be adding some new floral designs to my wedding gift collection and I’m very excited to launch a new side to my business over the next few months.

I hope to offer Irish brides a bridal bouquet preservation service where I will dry their special flowers and create a bespoke piece of art or wreath to hang in their home.

What advice would you give to another start-up business?

I would say use social media to find your tribe of followers and some potential customers. It is also a great way to connect with other makers.

I have made good friends through Instagram who I can bounce ideas off, as working on your own sometimes can be challenging.

I would recommend using your local enterprise office for advice and I did their start your own business course, which was a brilliant help when I started out. And always be yourself and stay true to your own ideas and dreams.

For further information, visit www.studioeight.ie.

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