Looking back on 2021 we are filled with gratitude to you. our customers and 'Kindred spirits' who have enabled us to see growth in Kindred of Ireland that we could have only dreamed of.
Our Spring/Summer 'Daisy Daisy' collection was our first introduction to our very own custom woven fabrics. Collaborating with local linen mills is where the magic happens for us- being in a position to order large quantities of fabric to support the craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations here in Ireland. The success of this collection blew us away a little, at this early stage in business (and hopefully always) the rush of heart flutters is always so real when we hit 'publish' on a new collection. This collection was received so well and I think I will always remember that weekend we launched it and saw orders rush in from all over the globe. It was an overwhelming moment for me and I still truly can't quite get over how these ideas that begin as a sketch, end up taking on life and personality on you in so many different parts of the world.
Fast forward to May, one of the most memorable moments of this year was our feature by Anna Murphy, Fashion Director at The Times. Receiving recognition from someone who is so respected in the industry again was a total pinch me moment and again, saw a burst of growth in our customer base that has enabled us to grow way beyond our targets for this year. Other press coverage this year has included The Telegraph, Financial Times, Image Magazine, The Independent and Departure Magazine. We also had the privilege of being selected as a finalist for the prestigious Irish Made awards with Irish Country Magazine.
Our Autumn/Winter 2021 collection saw us further develop our brand identity through the introduction of our Beetled Collection. We have been so pleased to work with William Clark & Sons over the last year to to develop custom beetled fabrics and this is something we hope to expand on more into 2022. We took a bit of a risk with our beetled tartan and you loved it! As much as we love our neutral linens and they will always be a huge part of our offering, it's fun to play with brighter colour ways to add something unexpected and fun!
As well as our two main collections, we have had the honour of creating bespoke bridal dresses for some of the most wonderfully chilled out brides you could think of. We have many more brides lined up for 2022 which is something we are so excited about. Working one on one with you to create a dress that speaks of your personality on one of the most important days of your life gives us butterflies!!
We have continued to develop our partnership with local charity Flourish. Not only did we give 10% of our profits to Flourish in 2021 but we collaborated to create a small batch of hand embroidered t-shirts during anti-slavery week which allowed us to raise over £800. We are honoured to continue to deepen this relationship in 2022.
Lastly, the biggest achievement of our 2021 was the opening of our first store in Belfast City Centre. This was something that was in our five year plan, and so to have the opportunity to do this so much earlier than we expected has been incredibly exciting. We have also taken on two staff members who work in our studio and expanded our freelance seamstress team to seven people. We are so excited about having a physical space to welcome you to now- it has been my greatest pleasure to meet so many of you who have followed on instagram from the beginning. One of my favourite conversations has been with one of our best customers who came in to the shop and told me that she uses her Kindred of Ireland clothes to teach her Primary seven pupils about the harmful effects of fast fashion culture and about a better model of making clothes to order that will last and be treasured for years to come.
Over the last three years, Kindred of Ireland has been an extension of me personally as I travelled, had my first human baby and gone through many life changes. I genuinely feel it such a privilege to share my creative vision and for it to be received by people who totally get it, invest in the story in Kindred of Ireland and love the clothes! I am always so excited to receive orders from new customers who come across the brand, but the thing that feels like the greatest honour is when I see your names popping up for the second, third, fourth order - It reminds me that this is about so much more than just selling clothes. We have so many ideas brewing for 2022 and are so looking forward to including you, our Kindred Spirits, in on the process.
Below are a few moments from a memorable 2021.