Staff Recommend - Local business to support this Christmas

Image Credit: Laoise Tarrant

Andrew, Odin, Laoise and Sinéad give some suugestions for local businesses we should support this Christmas.

Andrew Nolan

Tattoo shops faced some of the harshest brunts of regulations imposed upon non-essential services. Forced to close in March, they were one of the last to eventually reopen, but, again, one of the first to shut their doors with the reintroduction of restrictions. While an unfortunate turn for everyone involved, the timing was especially rough on Heartbreak Social Club. Their new store, opened up on Drury Street, was only allowed to open for one day before they had to close again. The planned conversion of their original store to a piercing parlour has been delayed, and will open its doors for the first time when the regulations ease. 

Primarily a tattoo studio, Heartbreak Social Club is multifaceted in what they offer. When the stores are able to reopen, both tattoo and piercing services will resume. With this, they also offer a range of handmade jewellery, including rings, bracelets and necklaces, though, these will only be available in store. In the meantime, they have an online store where they stock different types of clothes. As well as this, vouchers are available to order through the online storefront, redeemable once these services resume. 

Having visited for both tattoos and their clothing, I genuinely cannot recommend them enough. The work they produce is fantastic, and everyone in the shop is as sound as they come. No matter your style or preference, the artists there will have you sorted. With plenty on offer, I’d say that Heartbreak Social Club is more than worth a shout this Christmas.

Odin O'Sullivan

Christmas is approaching faster than usual, as the stores which can open lash up decorations to entice the very bored populace into beginning the stressful ritual of Christmas shopping. This year, it's integral to support small businesses that have been forced to close for long periods of time. Christmas should be used to support these independent businesses in order to make sure they still exist once the pandemic ends. 

Books Upstairs is the oldest independent bookstore in Dublin, and it is a treasure trove of Irish literature, second-hand books, political papers, periodicals, journals, and pretty much anything else you can read. The staff have always been incredibly kind and helpful with a broad knowledge of books. Although they can’t open, they are still selling excellently curated book bundles via the link in their Twitter bio. The perfect gift for the readers in your life, the bundles’ themes range from new Irish fiction, to children’s literature, to politics and philosophy.

Their upstairs (yes, I know the books are downstairs and their name is Books Upstairs. They do not laugh if you point this out) is a wonderful café which is, in my opinion, one of the best spots in the city. Once they’re open again, I highly recommend getting a coffee and cracking open a new paperback there, but until then, make sure to grab a book for a loved one from this Dublin city staple and give them the support they need.

Laoise Tarrant

Every Christmas, since I was about sixteen, I buy coffee themed presents for my family. It's become a bit of a run-on-joke with my brothers (how many Chemexs does one person need?), but I still maintain that you can never go wrong with buying a batch of nice coffee for someone. 

I make a concerted effort to choose local roasters, and you’d honestly be surprised with how many there are in Ireland. The more well-known roasters are 3fe, Badger and Dodo, Cloudpicker, and Silverskin. Then some roasters are harder to come by, such as Calendar Coffee, Urbanity, and Bell Lane Coffee. This year, my brothers will find their stockings filled to the brim with coffee beans from Anam Coffee. 

Anam Coffee is a small speciality roaster in the Burren, County Clare. They roast organic and ethically sourced beans from Brazil, Columbia, Honduras, Peru, and El Salvador. They roast in small batches, delivering a consistently high-quality bean. True to its name, each blend is full of soul. I highly recommend the Christmas Blend, which has such a rich and chocolatey taste to it, that you’d swear you were drinking a mocha in the form of an espresso!

Although I have yet to see Anam Coffee in Dublin, you can order from their website. For the seasoned coffee drinker in your life, you can order a coffee subscription from them. And, yes, you are right in thinking that this is a very dedicated hint at whoever is buying a Christmas present for me. 

Sinéad Keating

My favourite discovery from this Autumn is Jam Art Factory, a small Irish business set up in the Liberties in 2011 to showcase and sell Irish prints. They have a second shop just off Temple Bar square, a tiny bright green shopfront on the arty Crown Alley. It has become my go-to for Christmas shopping this year because I have found something to everyone’s style, whether they would appreciate a pretty print or one that gives them a chuckle whenever they see it (those two are not mutually exclusive, of course). 

Jam Art stocks a huge variety of prints with one popular theme being the geography and history of Ireland, with an interactive map on their website to easily find prints of a particular area. Other themes are films, music, pop culture, popular phrases, abstract concepts and so much more. You can find very minimalist contemporary prints, ones printed on old book pages, laser-cut pieces and plenty of photography too. It is not just limited to prints either, with books, laser-cut wooden notebooks, printed tote bags, cards, and Christmas decorations also stocked.

All of their stock is on the website and you can order for home delivery or go for click and collect in the Temple Bar shop. My personal favourite prints are Marta Barcikowska’s playful and surrealist collages. Like many other prints on offer, her A4 prints are only €18, a small offering for a unique piece that supports Irish artists and Irish businesses.