Where is Dust?
We’re at 4 Camden Market, Grantham Street, Dublin 8 – just off Camden street.
How did Dust come about?
Lisa Marconi: I was doing up my house and realised lots of the more unusual pieces I was getting, I was going outside of Dublin for or having to shop online. I got chatting with Sarah and realised we shared a really similar interiors aesthetic and we decided to set up Dust. We felt there was a gap for the kind of interiors we love and we wanted to create a space when people could come to see and feel these pieces.
What is the ethos of Dust?
Sarah Drumm: Having fun with interiors, being bold and banning beige!
Where did the name come from?
Sarah: Our aim was to bring in things that weren’t readily available over here. We hoped they’d be a bit like gold dust! So we decided to go with the name Dust and brand it gold.
What are your backgrounds?
Sarah: I worked in a marketing agency in London for 6 years before retraining as an inteior designer, going on to work in London design consultancy, Four by Two.
Lisa: My background is in TV, I directed documentaries for channels such as National Geographic and the History Channel before moving to Ireland. I recently retrained as an Interior Designer before starting Dust.
You’re friends as well as business partners. How did you meet?
Lisa: I’m from London and we met when Sarah was living over there. I was going out with a friend of hers, my now husband!
Is it a difficult decision to make, going into business with a friend?
Sarah: Not at all for us, it was nice to be working with someone you know you get on with. Because our aesthetics are so similar, we knew we’d be on the same page.
Do you travel a lot?
Lisa: We go on a few buying trips a year – to Paris, London and we’re planning to include Milan next year.
How do you select which pieces to stock? You say your criteria is to love each item. What ticks your boxes?
Lisa: Originality, beautiful thought-out design, we love things that make you smile.
Do you ever disagree?
Sarah: Sometimes one of us loves something the other doesn’t and if that happens, we remind each other of our founding principle, we both have to love it to stock it!
What turned you onto interiors?
Lisa: I’ve always loved interiors and obssessed over design magazines and books. When we gutted our period house and I got to restore it from the ground up, I realised I loved it enough to want to make it my career.
Sarah: Having grown up in a period home that my parents renovated, I got a real appreciation for design. My mum had an incredible eye for interiors and that really inspired me.
When you started the Dust pop-ups, did you imagine it becoming a full-time shop?
Lisa: That was always the plan, we hoped they’d be a jumping off point to start a full time business. Luckily, it turned out they were!
Who, or what, has been instrumental to your careers?
Lisa: My parents and my husband. My parents are both entrepeneurs and really encouraged me and then when I moved over here, I saw what a success my husband was making of his business, The Paella Guys, and it inspired me to start my own thing.
Sarah: I’d have to say that my mum was always a huge support. She really believed in me and encouraged me to go back to study interior design, she knew I’d love it and felt it was good career move for me to make.
What’s the best part of setting up your own business?
Sarah: It’s so enjoyable having complete creative control and not having to answer to anyone but each other.
And the worst?
Lisa: We’ve just opened up our first permanent store and the reality is sinking in that there are monthly bills to pay and we’re the only ones that can bring in the money to do that. That’s a bit terrifying!
You had a flower shop last year – what’s your favourite flower and why?
Sarah: We’ve expanded our faux flower shop and there are so many now, it’s hard to choose! But I am really loving our faux succulents at the moment, they are so gorgeous and add such interest and texture to arrangements.
Photos by Ailbhe O’Donnell ailbheodonnell.com
Questions by Jeanne Sutton. Follow Jeanne on Twitter @jeannedesutun