Wild by Water
Irish-born sisters and designers Jacki Parker and Nicole McKenna capture the essence of Eire with their brand new business Wild By Water.
What is your own ethnicity?
We grew up beside the sea in South County Dublin on the east coast of Ireland. We spent early summers on Killiney beach where our love of all things coastal began. Smothered in sun cream, sand and sometimes coats we spent hours redesigning the earth’s surface with buckets and spades. When not knee-deep in sand we could be found splashing about, dip-diving for stones or simply at the water’s edge in consultation regarding future business opportunities and researching prospective markets
How did the company come together?
We formed Wild by Water with a view to sharing our love of all things wild and waterside on functional yet beautiful apparel. Wild by Water produce a range of image-based bags, but they are more than just bags. Fashion plus functional – is our motto. We have designed a range of water-resistant bags – for all weathers and adventures that feature beautiful imagery collected and photographed from all around Irish waterside and coastal environments. Our bags are fashion-focused, yet they are very functional and our imagery offers something extra. Abstracted landscapes, waterscapes and surfaces are all very beautiful, however these special designs can offer something different to the user on several different levels. They can act as souvenirs or as memories or they can simply just be. They offer functionality to the explorer / adventurer who likes to get out and about. They are rainproof — so when the active person is heading out for a walk / bike / or simply in to town they can be safe in the knowledge that there belongs stay safe and dry. The Irish natural environment is featured on our water-resistant bags which we have designed in 4 different styles. The take-away imagery works beyond point of purchase and has a share or conversational value beyond “postcard”. It screams “experience” or can profile the user/ wearer as a traveler or cultural ambassador. The brand is a strong element and the growth of its online story is important. Users/wearers become part of the story – in re-situating place in their cultural surrounds – a kind of bag-based cultural hack!
What are the challenges involved?
It is early days, so the challenges come in waves. To date we are managing them just fine. Some are exciting challenges, some are less so. The fact that we are a partnership helps a lot. We have different backgrounds and this comes to the fore where needs be. For example, on a recent trade trip to the fashion textile show, Premier Vision in Paris, Jacki’s language around production came to the fore – that and the fact that she speaks French.
What are the rewards?
Successes are varied and immediate. Working this close to any project means our heart and soul is in it. It is exciting. Any gain is a triumph of sorts. We have both worked on and created many times for others, but this time it is not a project with an end date. We are sharing a vision. We have a mission. It might just be bags for starters, but the brand Wild by Water has bigger plans.
Who are your core clients?
They vary. We have a wide range of styles; some are pure fashion, while others are designed for the more adventurous. We see our core clients as people who like to get up and go. There are those who like to head out for a day – hail, rain or shine or those who might just be off to the park / golf or tennis club or to the end of a long pier / a headland / or a beach. You may be on a bike, a horse, or simply out for a stroll. They work anywhere really. The clutch collection is great for keys, phone and cards – the day packs are bigger and ideal for water bottle, snack and another layer – sweater or raincoat. The backpack can be used for day hikes, or simply carrying a tablet or laptop about town. They can be worn two ways, on the back or re-looped to function as a messenger bag. The uses are endless and various. They are fun, but they are functional, in a wide variety of ways.
How do you reach them?
We use the web and social media to tell the brand story. Each of our bags has a story. Each photo on our bags comes from our life-lived experiences. Every photograph is from a place we have visited and experienced –the location then referenced and shared on our website. Storytelling through imagery is at the heart of Wild by Water. We love our natural environment – and while it features on everything we do, it is also our mission is to use sustainable fabrics and components where we can. This is a lifestyle brand and at the core is a respect for our natural world and resources.
How has the internet helped your business?
The internet is very much part of our business. Water is every-moving and far reaching – and we see our customers as travelers and adventurers who get up and go, but they also share their lives on the internet. We do this too – so the internet is an important part of this. Every picture on our bags tell a story – and these stories live new lives with the people who wear them and then travel onward on the internet. While it is very important for our brand to build and tell these stories, we rely on our customers’ experiences and travels to inform us and help our stories grow.
What are the company’s future plans?
Future plans – we have a collection and we will add to this. Colour and seasons will change, as will our collections. We also offer a custom service – so if you have a waterside business, a club or offer tours, we can design and make for you. We are designers after all, so using our design skills we can work with you and create new products for you. There are no limits.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Celtic marketplace?
The Celtic marketplace is exciting. It lives beyond shorelines. Its diaspora is global. Modern lives are lived in many places over one lifetimeand its more important that ever to connect with a little piece of home – as a badge, or on a bag, or on an adventure…