Designing a Better Way to Work

An artisan gifts and homewares retailer streamlines their business with a Mac.

The philosophy behind the Irish Design Shop is quality: design-led, hand-crafted wares produced locally in Ireland. Apple technology is their all-in-one solution, from processing sales and managing office administration to scheduling events and updating their online store. For advice, solutions, training and support, they turn to Compu b.

“Our Mac does everything. We’d be lost without it.”
Laura Caffrey, Co-owner, Irish Design Shop

Their authenticity is what sets them apart. Standing at the counter, Laura Caffrey is chatting with an up-and-coming artist. The young woman has popped into the warmly-lit shop to get feedback on her greeting card illustrations. It’s a shining example of Laura and co-owner Clare Grennan’s commitment to not only products but also makers of Irish crafts and design.

Laura stands alongside a card reader, printer and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, a solution provided by Compu b. The Mac, running LightSpeed POS, is the shop’s nerve centre – functioning as a cash register, inventory, finance and reporting tool, and online store. It hosts all their product and maker information, including photos, across their physical and online stores.

The Irish Design Shop sought out Compu b to help them digitise their workflows. “We’d never had a cash register. We knew we needed to upgrade and we’d seen LightSpeed POS used at Trinity College’s Science Gallery. We didn’t want to have a separate till and computer system,” Laura explains. Leaving hand-written receipts and manual stocktake behind, Laura and Clare moved to LightSpeed on a Mac. “It’s made our lives so much easier, and quicker too.”

A business run by makers, for makers

Laura and Clare, both jewellers in their own rights, started the business by selling their collections. It was during the post-recession DIY revival that they noticed a hole in the market – there were no dedicated artisan platforms. “After the recession, people were going back to making things, creating interesting products using different techniques – mixing traditional with modern technologies like laser-cutting and 3D printing… When we started, there was nowhere for anybody like us to sell things so you’d end up at the markets. We realised there was an opportunity to give others an outlet because these products didn’t suit the existing retailers at the time,” Laura says. A few pop-up shops and an RHA Gallery space later, the Irish Design Shop moved to their current location in Dublin’s trendy Drury Street – becoming the first retailer to promote Irish gift and homeware products, as well as the makers behind them.

Being designers, Laura and Clare have relied on Apple technology for years. Their new MacBook Pro with Retina display is a simple, portable solution that moves between the shop, office and metalworking studios. Laura recalls that at some stage, they did have a PC for backup. It died suddenly and was never replaced.

Today, their business values quality of craftmanship, innovative design, exclusivity and home-grown production. Providing a platform for Irish design is the most important thing they do. “We want to show that Ireland can compete in the design world,” Laura affirms. Collating an inspired variety of merchandise – art, books, living, kitchen, outdoor, stationery and fashion – the Irish Design Shop serves domestic and tourist markets by working directly with makers to develop product ranges exclusive to the store. This combined with their focus on the product-maker story have been the keys to their success. “We’re very much about the story behind a product. Customers like to know where things were made, how, and by who, so it’s about giving a richer customer experience – and not just a product or a sale.”

LightSpeed POS on their MacBook Pro with Retina display helps them do this. It’s easy to use and is great for new staff as all the product and maker information is on-screen, making customer conversations about materials and processes a breeze. “It’s simplified everything we do,” Laura says.

Their favourite apps are iPhoto and Calendar. “We use Calendar to keep track of our customer workshops,” says Laura. The Irish Design Shop runs jewellery workshops for the public, such as a wedding ring workshop where couples can hand-craft their own wedding bands – a unique alternative to store-bought rings. “And we use iPhoto to edit photographs before we upload them to LightSpeed or our blog.”

Compu b’s complete solution

The Irish Design Shop came to Compu b looking for a solution to the outdated, labour-intensive workflows that conflicted with their progressive business model. With hand-written receipts came manual stock and account management so they needed a smarter, more flexible way to work. LightSpeed POS was the answer. “We wanted LightSpeed,” Laura states. “And we wanted it on a Mac notebook. But we didn’t know which one was best or how everything would fit together in the shop.” That’s where Compu b came in.

Compu b suggested the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, a high-performance machine that would easily handle their POS and storage requirements. The large high-resolution display would also refine their digital media production. LightSpeed POS was installed on their new Mac, deployed along with a printer and electronic card machine, and Laura and Clare spent half a day with a Compu b Trainer learning to use their new system.

“Gareth helped us install everything then handed us over to Dave for training… They’ve supported us, and it’s been good.”
Laura Caffrey, Co-owner, Irish Design Shop

This integrated solution has streamlined their business processes, delivering a significant increase in productivity since its introduction in February 2014. Thanks to LightSpeed’s cohesive approach, data entry and integrity are better and more manageable than ever. Laura and Clare are now able to run end-of-day sales, employee performance and best-selling product reports with ease – previously a headache-inducing task. The ongoing support they receive from Compu b has also been a welcome addition. “They’re local to us thankfully, so we’ve had them back a few times for emergencies,” Laura laughs. Overall, the transition has been a resounding success. “It’s been a positive experience. We’d be happy to send people their way in the future.”

From their first visit to Compu b to the success of their business today, Compu b has always been on hand to offer advice, solutions, training and support. It’s our expert knowledge and commitment to customer service that set us apart, supporting customers across Ireland and beyond. We’re not just Apple experts – we’re your Apple experts. Drop in today and experience the difference for yourself.

We’ve worked with some of Ireland’s leading businesses. Contact our Business team to find out what we can do for you on 01 5253999 in Ireland and 020 33552345 in the UK.