Eilis Boyle is the charming presence behind beloved Dublin boutique Bow. As well as owning and overseeing the running of the shop, Eilis is also designs for her own label and manages a small communications and technology business. We meet this busy woman to find out how to find the happy medium…
Explain how your career 360 change happened – how did you go from designing clothes, to tech and communications?
Communication was always part of my career, even when I worked in fashion full time, for other designers and with my own label there would always be an element of branding and PR. So when communicating via the internet became user friendly and universal, it was a natural medium for me to embrace. The tech world and fashion have a lot in common: ever changing, creative and inspiring. Both attract very interesting, passionate and resilient people.
Your blog, Silent Storyteller, seems to bring together the two sides of your life in some form of harmony. When did you start blogging?
The blog was an experiment. Initially I was just using it to gather inspiration. Slowly it started becoming a public diary, it served the purpose of expressing my experiences, thoughts and challenges of working in an industry which at the time celebrated work very different to what I was doing. It was a way of showcasing the process and the product, as well as other designers and artists who would have similar mindset.
You were blogging about the WebSummit this year – what did you think of it? You’re clearly a fan, so what’s its greatest contribution to us in your opinion?
The Summit is one of the most extraordinary events Europe hosts. We are so lucky that Paddy, Hidaire and their team have made this happen in Dublin. It’s growing fast and becoming something much bigger than a tech conference. I’d like to see the creative industries more involved in the future. We have a lot to gain from becoming part of the conversation. In terms of contribution, it’s hard to quantify the impact, short term it brings some of the World’s greatest thinkers, and doers, to Dublin and they are willingly accessible to all of us. Dublin sets the tone for this informal and priceless networking opportunity. Hotels are booked for the week, the city is alive. Long term, all of these interesting leaders are looking at Ireland as a young creative city with endless enthusiasm and determination.
How do you split your time? Give us an example of ‘a day in your life’
I wake up at 6, walk the dog and go the gym. I’ll usually catch the news (and Twitter) on the cross trainer. By 8, I’ll have breakfast while reading emails and contacting suppliers. From 9, and for the next 8 hours I’m working on digital communications projects. These change all the time, at the moment I’m working on a big project for Spain, so the day involves creating content strategies, planning calendars, contacting writers and bloggers, proof-reading submissions and dealing with the technical, data and business side of managing digital content at scale. By 6, I’m flying home, will have some dinner and maybe spend two or three hours doing ‘personal’ activities , which could be anything from designing next season, coordinating the knitters I work with or writing. If I’m tired I’ll just lie on the sofa and day-dream for hours. By 10 pm I’m knocked out. I also try to pop into Bow some weekends to meet up with Maggs and Wendy.
Talk us through your last collection.
Each piece takes time and research so the collection is an evolution of the previous seasons. Producing in Ireland has been important for me, so in 2009 I decided whatever was made, should be made here. Inspired, designed and made in Ireland. What we do really well is knitwear and my focus has been on developing this. Japan, which is the main market I sell too, have been buying since 2005 and understand the value of high end manually crafted knitwear which is exclusive and limited. As do all the loyal customers that keep coming back to Bow in search of their cashmere fix.
How do fashion and tech work together in your life?
Each feed off of each other. I like escaping to both and then coming back full of inspiration. The tech world benefits from the creativity side, and my design world benefits from the know-how and optimism that the global tech industry has to offer.
Images are form Eilis’s latest collection.
Style by Ruth Anna Coss
Photography by John McMillan
Model Laoise Quinn @ Morgan
Roisin Agnew @Roxeenna