Showcase Ireland in Dublin brings together the best in the Celtic marketplace each January, including Irish jewelry crafters Shanore. Recently we spoke with company director, Shane Maher, on the company’s success and significance.
What is your own ethnicity?
I am Irish – born and raised in Dublin.
Where do you currently reside?
Greystones, Co Wicklow
When did you get involved with the company?
My father, Frank Maher, started the company – then known as Flaircraft – back in 1979, with a jewelry shop and a workshop upstairs, manufacturing for wholesalers. By the time I joined Flaircraft, the wholesale business in Ireland was disappearing, and the company had started to grow exports to the USA. Over time, we rebooted the company with new products, new branding, new packaging, and with someone on the ground in the USA. We changed our name to Shanore in January, 2003. The researching and development of new products, packaging and marketing materials has become a year-round exercise. It takes between one to two years of sustained effort before we launch what others see as an overnight success. I don’t imagine anybody will ever forget the launch of our Tara’s Diary Bracelet & Beads. After so much planning, it was like the calm before the storm. Tara’s Diary charms beads are still going strong today; many people still collect them, and we continue to launch new designs.
What are your roles and responsibilities there?
As Company Director, I do a bit of everything, including driving sales, marketing, product development and customer service.
What are the challenges involved?
The biggest challenge we have is keeping our customers happy, and we do this by always doing our very best to deliver a quality product in a timely fashion.
What are the rewards?
The biggest rewards for me are seeing new product going through development and thrive in the market, and, of course, having happy customers.
What is the company’s current mandate?
We will continue to innovate upon Irish and Celtic themes using Swarovski© crystals in our fashion and everyday wear collections, as well as diamonds for our gold Celtic bridal range. We are currently very busy with all the social media platforms and reaching out to our existing customers, as well and younger generations who spend a lot of time online.
What are your core products?
Over the years, we have created many Claddagh rings in silver, gold and birthstone. We also produce Claddagh necklaces, along with variations of Celtic Crosses both modern and traditional, as well as Trinity Knot and Celtic knot work designs for bracelets and necklaces. We also put out a very popular range of sterling silver Celtic jewelry for children called Little Miss. One of our most sought-after ranges would be bridal jewelry. For two generations now we’ve supplied customers with Celtic and Irish engagement and wedding bands, often people from the same family will come back to us to continue a tradition. Many new customers also like to start a family tradition with our rings, we know it’s a big step for a couple to exchange rings that they’ll keep and cherish forever and we take a real pride in our work and skilled craftspeople. Also a neat range of products are our engagement ring mounts, sold without a stones. Many people have understandably grown sentimental and close to their stone but want to update the ring shank using their own stone which is a great idea. A new, interesting and important core ingredient in our collections are Swarovski© crystals as they add so much brilliance to our designs. Having won a license to use these superior crystals they now adorn many of the Celtic pieces such as Claddagh, Trinity and more.
Who are your core clients?
We serve a lot of customers here in Ireland but the majority of our clients come from Canada and the USA. As Ireland has exported so many sons and daughters there over the years reaching back to the Great Famine, people there appreciate ShanOre’s artistry. The Irish have such a passion for Celtic gifts and souvenirs from the land of their heritage as many were forced to go abroad to find a better way of life and so value a small token of Irishness. We Irish love our heritage and ancestry and enjoy researching the interesting history of our ancestors to build up a family tree. The icons we use are so closely linked to our myth, culture, landscape and sense of self that they are ingrained in our beliefs. Many of our customers are like family to us now and return each year to purchase pieces for friends and family for special occasions.
How do you reach them?
Many magazines and website take an interest in our unique jewelry designs and write articles about us, also many people find us through social media and online search engines while searching through Celtic and Irish subjects which in turn lead to our site. We write a lively and fun blog on our website often on Irish history or happenings which also attracts avid readers.
How do you differ from your competition?
We pride ourselves on exemplary quality, customer service and innovation and have won many industry awards thanks to customer recommendations. Through listening to our customers we will continue to build on these foundations and bring out contemporary designs each year to reflect our changing consumer. Our commitment to our past and new customers is to keep you up to date with the latest in fashion accessories. One of our most popular products to date has been Tara’s Diary, a series of charms and beads which could be placed onto a silver bracelet. We recently updated our range to the new Origin collection, a series of supple leather bracelets where charms can be loaded on it endlessly creating your own style in silver, gold and rose gold, many adorned by Swarovski Crystals.
How has the internet helped your business?
We find the internet brings our Irish jewelry to a wider audience who may not otherwise have the chance to visit one of our stores. Having our website accessible to everyone around the globe 24/7 means that we’re able to showcase our large range as it’s so vast it needs many pages. We also have the chance to tell customers a bit about the inspiration behind each jewelry design, the story of where it comes from and how we arrived at this particular finished piece. In many of the product pages customers can view the products being made in the workshop by our craftsman.
What are the company’s future plans?
Our emerald and Celtic diamond wedding bands along with matching gold engagement rings such as the Claddagh are special to us and our customers and we’ll continue to invest in our quality, training and customer service to ensure client satisfaction. Last year we were awarded a license by Swarovski to use their radiant crystals in our products and we have developed a few ranges of very popular Celtic jewelry incorporating the crystals. People have really taken to our new jewelry pieces which are specially designed modern versions of Celtic symbols and their form is designed to catch the light and hence are real conversations starters. For example our new Origin range of leather bracelets and silver charm beads encrusted with Swarovski© crystals are proving to be very popular.