Why and when did you set up your business?
I started my jewellery training in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, after which I moved to London, where I was awarded a pre-apprenticeship scholarship with Sir John Cass School of Arts.
This gave me a love for the art of jewellery making and creating with my hands.
After completing my scholarship, I moved to Dublin to undertake my first apprenticeship with a leading Irish jewellery company.
I wanted to be more creative with my own designs and I loved to work on commissions for individuals and societies in a private capacity.
This led me to dream of opening my own premises one day.
In 2002, my family and I relocated to a purpose-built studio and home workshop on the shores of Carlingford Lough.
In 2014, the then-named Carlingford Design House was opened - a purpose-built open-to-view workshop and jewellery school.
In 2020, the Carlingford Design House and Garrett Mallon Jewellery were united under one name - the Garrett Mallon Design House.
I display my own jewellery collections and exhibit work from over 100 artists and craftspeople from throughout the island of Ireland in our retail gallery.
I am passionate about showcasing 100% Irish design to my customers, spanning ceramics, wall art, prints, textiles, jewellery, wood, cards and candles.
I am very proud that our offering is fast becoming a hub for creativity in the northeast.
Can you explain your process?
My process always starts with an idea or an inspiration. This can lead from a simple drawing or from creating directly at my workbench using a chosen metal.
My signature style is to combine metals and textures to create something beautiful.
I start with sheets of metal and use traditional jewellery skills to mould and shape the piece and create texture.
I am a trained stonesetter, so I often include gemstones such as London blue topaz, rhodellite garnet and amethyst in my designs.
With each new collection I create, I make the pieces and then test them out for feedback.
It is important to hear customers' reactions and to see how each piece sits on the body. I refine the collections from this valuable feedback.
I really enjoy making bespoke commissions and remodelling jewellery. I always ensure to have detailed conversations with each client to understand their needs.
It is important to identify what the jewellery represents and to capture this in the piece, especially if the piece is of sentimental value. Throughout the process, I send regular images to update clients along the way, so they are involved at every stage.
What is it about your business that brings you joy?
Jewellery is very personal, with a deep message attached, especially if it is intended as a gift.
It is very rewarding to be a part of someone’s special occasion and knowing that the piece I have created will be an heirloom to that particular family, capturing a moment in time.
It gives me great joy to design pieces of jewellery that will create lasting memories or be seen as a treasured gift to those in Ireland and further afield.
My 'Irish Heart' collection is my most personal collection, as it is inspired by the work of the Irish Heart Foundation.
A percentage of the sales from this collection are donated to the Irish Heart Foundation - a way of giving a little back, as my family have received wonderful support from this organisation.
What are your hopes for your business for 2022?
I hope to continue to grow my own jewellery collections. I am very excited to be launching a number of new products this year for both men and women.
I look forward to working with more independent Irish artists and craftspeople and promoting their work in the design house.
I also hope to develop my website to showcase more of these fantastic authentic craftspeople we have on offer on the island of Ireland.
What is the best piece of advice you would give a start-up business?
Always believe in yourself! Focus on your own business and don’t compare yourself to what others are doing.
Talk to other makers, they will no doubt be facing similar challenges to you.
As a maker your work is art and will always be unique.
For further information, visit www.garrettmallon.com.