Supporting Irish business is a passion of ours at Image, and it's easy with so many entrepreneurial and innovative Irish businesses to buy from. From now until Christmas we are highlighting Irish businesses or business people that we are excited about. Today it's PEELO, a new handbag brand set up by an Irish woman who has designed for Marni Milan, John Galliano Paris and DVF New York, to name a few.
What is your name, and what is your business?
Julie Peelo from PEELO. PEELO Creates modern handbags that are manufactured in Europe and all made using premium leathers.
How long have you been in business? And what was your mission from the outset?
I launched my business at the start September 2020. My mission from the outset has been to create a successful Irish handbag business, designing beautiful modern accessories that are made to last. Having spent 15 years working in fashion between Paris, Milan and New York, I have been inspired from all I have seen and I really wanted to bring that back home and create a business here.
Of what part of your business are you most proud?
I am most proud of how well the bags have been received. People have told me that they love the look, the touch and the functionality of their bags and that makes me really happy.
Who are your business heroes? Personal heroes?
I’m lucky to have worked first hand with some of the most incredible creative and business people in fashion. The person who really ignited my passion for accessories was Luz Maria who was the creative director at Marni and my boss. I learnt so much working under her and my love for colour, handbags and all accessories really came to life during that time. I always joke that working at Marni was like going to handbag school as they had a handbag factory on site. It was amazing and I got to learn first hand from the most incredible pattern cutters and leather makers in Italy.
I would have to say my mum and dad are my personal heroes. They instilled a great work ethic in me and my siblings and supported and encouraged us all to be what we wanted. They are great fun, very open minded and they love travelling and food. I really enjoy spending time with them which has not been so easy of late.
How have you found the last six months? - professionally and personally
Professionally I have found it very rewarding starting my own business. It's not been easy but who ever said that starting a business would be.
Personally, and as a family we have had to adapt quickly to the changed world but we are managing to do that. I am very lucky to have a happy and healthy family and that is the most important thing. One thing I am very thankful for is that the schools have remained open. It is a very difficult time for teachers and we really owe them our gratitude.
What keeps you positive?
Number one would be my husband Sean, he is so positive and supportive. Other than that; creating, designing, and getting out for some fresh air every day is key. That and the odd gin and tonic. I’m lucky to live close to Malahide Castle so even during the peak of lockdown we had a beautiful space to escape to.
What new perspective (if any) have you gained from 2020?
To slow down. The pandemic forcing us to all stop and stay home made me appreciate what I have at home. I think the beauty of life can be found in this turbulent time.
Best/worst moment from 2020?
The worst - The impact Covid has had on everyone in our country. It has affected people economically, emotionally and physically. Seeing and hearing about people suffering and losing close family and friends is just heart breaking.
The best would have to be launching my own label. After working on creating other Fashion houses accessories for years it's a dream to have my own brand. I couldn’t be happier that it is now online and seeing people wearing my PEELO accessories gives a great feeling.
How will you celebrate the holidays this year?
This year we will have Christmas dinner in our own house for the first time. For the past few years we have alternated between Sean’s parents and my parents for dinner.
Christmas day always starts early in our house and with three small kids there will be mega excitement! We’ll open our Santa presents, have a big breakfast and then get out for a walk.
If we can’t call into the grandparents this year hopefully we can still make visits to their gardens for some prosecco, treats and exchanging of gifts!
Another Irish business you want to shine a spotlight on?
MIMI & BOWE children’s sleepwear and loungewear. It’s also a new Irish brand and is really so beautiful. It is all made with GOTS certified organic cotton. I can’t wait until they bring out adult versions.
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