Original Ireland founder Angela Cerriku pictured above Angela embarked on an incredible journey that led to the establishment of her own brand, Original Ireland, back in 2018.
Original Ireland is a women’s fashion brand that embodies elegance and sophistication with a tailor made touch
Angela Cerriku is a fashion designer based in the heart of Limerick City. With a passion for creativity and a love for fashion, Angela embarked on an incredible journey that led to the establishment of her own brand, Original Ireland, back in 2018. Graduating from the Limerick School of Art and Design that same year, Angela honed my skills and gained invaluable knowledge in the world of fashion. Original Ireland is a women’s fashion brand that embodies elegance and sophistication with a tailor- made touch, located at 3 Upper Hart Hartstonge Street.
How did you become interested in fashion design?
My involvement in fashion design began as a childhood dream. However, it wasn’t until I had my daughter that I started seriously considering it as a career option. I decided to pursue formal studies in fashion design, and during my studies, I truly discovered my creative potential and fell in love with the craft. The more I learned, the more I realized the depth of my passion for fashion design, and it has since become a central part of my life..
Why did you decide to start your own brand?
I made the decision to start my own brand Original Ireland for two main reasons. Firstly, I realized that I had a special talent and passion for what I was doing. Through my experiences and education in fashion design, I discovered that I had a unique ability to create designs that resonated with others. This realization gave me the confidence to showcase my creativity and skills through my own brand. Secondly, I felt that I had reached a level of maturity and readiness to take on the responsibility of starting my own brand. I had gained valuable knowledge and experience in the industry, and I believed that the time was right to embark on this exciting entrepreneurial journey.
I wanted the freedom to express my vision, create my own designs, and build a brand that reflected my personal style and values. Combining my talent, passion, and readiness, I took the leap and started my own brand, eager to make a mark in the fashion industry and share my unique perspective with the world.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in your business?
As Original Ireland is a small brand and I am an independent designer, I face several challenges in my business. One of the significant challenges is the increasing competition from fast fashion brands. Many people tend to compare independent designers like myself to the fast fashion industry, even though our focus is on higher quality and craftsmanship. Educating customers about the value and unique aspects of independent designer brands requires time and patience. Unlike fast fashion, independent designers often prioritize quality materials, ethical production practices, and attention to detail. While these factors result in a higher cost, it is important for customers to understand that they are investing in a unique and well-crafted product. However, conveying this message and distinguishing our brand from fast fashion counterparts can be challenging.
Overcoming this hurdle requires consistent communication and engagement with potential customers. By sharing our brand story, emphasizing the value of our products, and highlighting the benefits of supporting independent designers, we can gradually shift perceptions and build a loyal customer base who appreciate the artistry and authenticity behind our designs. However, it’s important to acknowledge that this process takes time and patience. As an independent designer, I understand that time is valuable and that building awareness and understanding of our brand requires ongoing effort and dedication. But I firmly believe that by staying true to our vision and consistently delivering exceptional designs, we can overcome these challenges and carve out a unique space in the fashion industry.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
My greatest achievement to date is the enduring success and growth of my Original Ireland brand since its inception in 2018. Over the years, I have witnessed the brand evolve and establish a strong presence in the industry. Despite the challenges and competition, I have persevered, and my brand has gained recognition and respect for the quality and standards it upholds. Remaining relevant and thriving in the fashion industry for several years is a testament to the dedication and hard work invested in my brand. Building a good reputation takes time, and I’m proud to see that customers recognize the commitment to quality that my brand consistently delivers. This achievement not only represents the growth of my brand but also reflects my ability to adapt to changing market dynamics and meet the evolving needs of my customers. It gives me a sense of fulfillment to know that my brand has made a lasting impact and continues to strengthen as the years go by. However, I also recognize that this achievement is not the end of the journey. It serves as a milestone that motivates me to continue pushing boundaries, exploring new avenues, and bringing innovative designs to the market. With each passing day, I strive to surpass my previous accomplishments and make an even greater impact in the fashion industry.
What advice would you give to other Limerick people in business?
The advice I would give to other Limerick people in business is to embrace patience and trust in the process. Building a successful business takes time, and it’s important to remember that everything works out in its own time. Stay focused, persevere through challenges, and remain committed to your vision. Additionally, I encourage fellow business owners in Limerick to foster a sense of unity and collaboration rather than viewing each other as competitors. Recognize that every business is different and unique, catering to specific markets and customer preferences. By supporting and collaborating with one another, we can create a thriving business community that benefits everyone. Networking and forming partnerships within the local business community can lead to valuable opportunities, shared resources, and collective growth. By working together, we can leverage each other’s strengths and contribute to the overall success of Limerick’s business landscape. Remember, there is a market for everyone. Embrace your uniqueness and focus on delivering value to your target audience. Build strong relationships with your customers, listen to their needs, and consistently provide exceptional products or services. By staying true to your brand and delivering quality, you can carve out your own space in the market and build a loyal customer base. Above all, believe in yourself and your abilities. Running a business requires resilience, determination, and a positive mindset. Stay adaptable, continuously learn and improve, and seize opportunities that come your way. With passion, perseverance, and a supportive business community, you can achieve great success in Limerick and beyond
Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?
I envision both myself and my brand making significant strides in the fashion industry. My goal is to be recognized internationally and expand the reach of my designs across Europe and beyond. I aspire to make a substantial impact on the fashion scene, showcasing the unique style and quality that my brand represents.
Who is your greatest inspiration in business and life?
My greatest inspiration in both business and life is myself. I find immense motivation from within, challenging myself every single day to become better and strive for personal growth. By setting goals and following self-imposed rules, I continuously push myself to reach new heights. Reflecting on my past achievements and personal growth serves as a powerful source of inspiration. Witnessing the progress I have made and the person I have become fuels my determination to continue challenging myself and pursuing excellence. While I admire and respect the accomplishments of others in the business world, my own journey and evolution are what truly inspire me. I believe in my own potential, abilities, and vision. Through self- reflection, self-improvement, and self-belief, I find the strength and inspiration to overcome obstacles and achieve success. By channelling this inner inspiration and constantly pushing myself to be the best version of myself, I am driven to excel in both my business and personal endeavours. I believe that when we tap into our own potential and challenge ourselves, we can achieve remarkable things and create a positive impact in our lives and the lives of others.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is witnessing the joy and satisfaction on my customers’ faces when they wear my designs. Seeing the smile and confidence that my creations bring to their lives is truly fulfilling and reminds me of why I chose this path. Knowing that I have played a small part in making someone feel beautiful, confident, and comfortable is incredibly gratifying. It validates the hard work, creativity, and attention to detail that I put into each design. It’s a heart-warming feeling to see my customers express their individuality and personal style through the pieces I have crafted. Moreover, the relationships I build with my customers are also immensely rewarding. Hearing their stories, receiving their positive feedback, and knowing that my designs have made a positive impact on their lives creates a sense of connection and purpose in my work. Ultimately, the smiles on my customers’ faces serve as a reminder of the power of fashion and the ability to touch people’s lives through my creations. It motivates me to continue pushing boundaries, exploring new ideas, and delivering designs that bring joy and confidence to those who wear them.
What do you love most about Limerick?
What I love most about Limerick is its people. Limerick is a beautiful city with a rich history, but what sets it apart and makes it truly special is the kindness and warmth of its residents. The people of Limerick are incredibly friendly, welcoming, and genuine. From my interactions with the locals, I have been consistently impressed by their generosity and willingness to help others. Whether it’s a simple act of kindness or going above and beyond to support their community, the people of Limerick embody a strong sense of unity and compassion. The sense of community in Limerick is palpable. There is a genuine camaraderie among the residents, and a strong spirit of support for local businesses, artists, and cultural endeavors. This creates a vibrant and thriving atmosphere that is truly inspiring to be a part of.
And lastly, why do you love your job?
What I love most about my job as a fashion designer is the perfect blend of creativity and beauty that it offers. The creative aspect of my job allows me to express myself and bring my visions to life through unique designs and innovative concepts. It is incredibly fulfilling to see ideas take shape and transform into tangible creations that people can wear and enjoy. The beauty of my job lies in the ability to make a lasting impact in just a few minutes. Fashion has the power to instantly transform a person’s appearance and boost their confidence. Seeing someone wear my designs and feel beautiful and empowered is an incredibly rewarding experience. It is a testament to the hard work, attention to detail, and artistic vision that goes into every piece. While the fashion industry is known for its challenges and competitiveness, there is a special allure and fascination that draws me to it. The constant evolution, trends, and demands of the industry push me to stay innovative and keep up with the ever-changing landscape. It is a field that requires dedication, resilience, and continuous learning, which adds an extra layer of excitement to my work.