When struck with adversity, finding hope is much easier said than done.
Although for Saoirse Glynn and her mother, Carmel, positivity prevailed and what started out as a form of therapy to help cope with Saoirse’s late cerebral palsy diagnosis turned into an exciting business venture.
Amare Makes creates customised, luxury accessories and homewares that don’t break the bank. Collaborating with artisans all over the world and ensuring ethical production, Amare Makes proves it is much more than a typical lifestyle brand.
At its core, the company proves spirit is much stronger than any condition and it’s products radiate handmade beauty from the inside out. Not many conscious products on the market today deliver a message so strong.
Taking a moment to speak to the co-owners, Saoirse and Carmel, the passion for the project is clear which in turn is manifesting their success. Something tells me this is only the beginning too.
Amare Makes is such a wonderful company and is performing so well. Was this your first business venture?
Thank you! Yes, it was, my Mam and I have always had a creative edge and have made our own clothes and accessories - I can remember her running around to find this specific black material to make a tutu for my Christmas party when I was little - so we’ve always had a flair for individuality.
What triggered you to create the brand, what were you hoping to achieve through it?
Amare Makes was a form of therapy for both of us at first as we were going through a really dark time. Saoirse wasn’t diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy until she was 14, it was quite a hellish journey including numerous hospital appointments and operations and we both felt like we had lost ourselves. I had to fight for my daughter’s diagnosis and she had to grapple with her condition and how it affects her whilst going to school and trying to be a normal teenager.
The brand was born when we were going to Dubai for a holiday. Saoirse showed me a straw basket bag she really wanted, but it was over £300. I bargained with her that we could make one just as nice – classic Mam logic. We found the process of creating and experimenting with different designs so therapeutic like we had found ourselves and our creative edge again. Nothing could have prepared us for the reaction we had from the cabin crew when we stepped onto the plane, they absolutely loved the bag and asked who made it. When we said it was our brand they placed orders – although we had only ever made one. The business has since flourished from there and became what it is today! With our business, we are hoping to continue to grow and develop more lines, with a continuing focus on sustainability and individuality.
Take us through the design process of one of your bespoke bags?
One of the first things we do when designing a new bag is to decide on the theme and colour palette for it. This is usually inspired by different people we know or places we have visited if you look on our website we name our bags after what inspired their creation. For example, we have ‘The Maria Basket’ after my Grandma who has been the biggest support to us, the business and my diagnosis. To us, Amare Makes symbolises a person’s complex yet unique beauty, so we strive to make our bags as bespoke as the person receiving them whether on a corporate or individual basis. After we have decided this, we usually source materials that match our vision such as tassels, vintage European jewellery, ribbons from the US and other embellishments. Then, we create our design by hand and make it available on our website.
What has been the best career highlight with Amare Makes?
This is a hard one! It is difficult to define a specific highlight because, as cheesy as it sounds, every time a customer places an order with us, we take it as a career highlight. Saying that being invited on the Elaine Show to share our story was an amazing experience and seeing celebrities like Saira Khan, Meg Matthews, Cherry Healey, and Amy Hart, as well as influencers like Aoibhe Devlin with our bags, is mind-blowing.
What inspires your diverse collection of handbags and accessories?
Well, when we were in the naming process for Amare Makes we wanted something that encapsulated not only the journey we’ve been on but the products themselves and the people using them. We settled on the fact that we wanted to include love in the name, to represent the love between a mother and a daughter and also the different areas of love in everyday life. As we have a love for creating also and as ‘Amare’ means ‘to love’ in Latin, Amare Makes ‘to love what you make’ was born. We make our products with the customer in mind, in the world of fast fashion, as it is today, it is hard to get a bespoke personal product so we really look to at an individual’s life for what they may need. Our idea of the Amare Women comes into play here – the busy Mum/ Business Woman who needs to be able to have a bag big enough to fit everything in but still look stylish and be well made. The 20-something who is going on a girls' holiday and wants a bag that she can take from the beach to the bar, so it is the life and sophistication of modern women today that inspires us.
Where do you source your products from?
We work with artisans around the globe, from Morocco to Asia. Our straw baskets are from various countries in Africa e.g. Ghana, Madagascar, and Morocco, depending on the style. Then, our suede and leather bags are from Italy. It is so important for us that all Amare Makes products are ethically sourced, we strongly believe in fair trade for all. All Amare Makes pieces are handmade in a collaborative effort between ourselves and our international artisans. We personally oversee all of our designs so we can guarantee sustainability, ethics, and quality throughout the entire process.
What message would you like Amare Makes to portray?
Our main aim is to show people to never give up when faced with hardships. Whilst Cerebral Palsy is a disability, it has enabled me to have a business that I am truly passionate about alongside my amazing Mam. Cerebral Palsy has given me the worst and best experiences in life. The fact that people around the world are wearing bags and jewellery that we have created blows my mind, and it all wouldn’t have happened without my diagnosis.
One of the greatest gifts would have to the messages I’ve received from people in support of our story and Amare Makes. I’ve had people with CP reach out which has been amazing and very healing for me. My Mam instilled in me that being a strong female with a disability is empowering rather than a setback, and that’s the message we want Amare Makes to portray. No matter, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation you are capable of anything. Instead of being dis-abled, you should be and indeed are en-abled.
What are your plans for the business in the new year?
Our plans for the immediate future are to develop more lines and continue growing as a brand. We would also love to collaborate more. We are regularly asked to share our story, and after seeing how helpful it is to both us and other people we plan on delivering many more talks.
What quality differentiates your company from others on the market?
We’d say it’s the personality and personal touch of Amare. As we both understand what it feels like to not be heard - we had to fight for a diagnosis - we also understand this transpires into everyday life. Having your needs comprehended and working with someone who truly appreciates this is essential to achieving anything. When you are dealing with Amare Makes you aren’t just a number on a screen, it is our foundation of empathy we feel that differentiates our brand.
What do you think is this season’s must-have fashion accessory?
Obviously, an Amare Makes bag or any Amare Makes piece. Influences for SS20 are as diverse as Hemmingway’s Cuba to the French Riviera coming in the form of metallic leathers, oversized florals, polka dots, and clashing hues.
There is still a focus on broderie Anglaise too with the luxury of pearls and sheer fabrics. This month we are launching our metallic leather collection which will include both clutch and tote bags. In the run-up to summer, we will also be bringing out a new collection of straw baskets which is very exciting.
Main image from @amaremakes