Meet The Maker: Jando

Those of you have subscribed to Irish at Heart for a while now, will have instantly recognised the vibrant style of the Hook Head tea towel that was nestled in there. Jando have become a staple favourite with our Irish at Heart family, and their work never fails to fill me with a sense of love and pride for the country that I call home.

With our celebration of “Glás” this month and rejoicing in all things green, I especially relish the chance to talk about this wonderful Dublin duo - who operate a completely carbon-neutral and plastic-free business, relying on all local Irish suppliers. Their sustainable ethos, lively personalities and, of course, fabulous prints make them an absolute delight to work with – and I’m always excited to see what their brilliant minds come up with next!

This week I caught up with Julie, one half of the husband-and-wife team who have been cloaking Ireland’s most treasured architecture in vibrant skylines for over six years now – sharing their vision with 70 suppliers all over the world .

How did Jando come to life?

So Jando is actually just our names together – Julie AND Owen – and it all started ten years ago when we were getting married in New York, but just couldn’t find stationary that really fitted what we were looking for.

 

 

It was a small wedding in New York, so we decided to just go all out and make our own; neither of us had a background in design, but we’re both quite interested in artsy things, so thought it would be a fun project. We made all sorts of things, including an invitation book, bios for our guests and even luggage tags for everyone that had travelled over for the occasion. We branded everything as Jando – but people didn’t really get that it was our initials with ‘and’ in the middle… so I guess it was more of a private joke in the end.

However, we realised that we worked really well together, and once we came back from the honeymoon, we decided to continue producing wedding stationary for other couples which we sold online and shipped all over the world. That’s all it was until I found a folder of screen prints under the bed that belonged to Owen, showing these incredibly vibrant prints of architecture – the first I saw was Ha’Penny Bridge – and it just struck me that this was it: this was Jando. And that’s where it all really began.

 

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

 

Owen comes from a family of architects, so I think those interests must run in his blood really. When we first started thinking about Jando, Ireland was in a really bad place with the recession, and everything just seemed a bit bleak and grey, so I guess we just wanted to bring a vibrance to these structures that we so often take for granted.

We are surrounded by stunning architecture that just becomes part of our daily routine, and we rarely to stop to appreciate just how marvellous it is. I think with our work we want to inspire people to look at their surroundings a bit differently, and see them in a new light. When you go to a city on holiday you take millions of pictures of the incredible buildings around you, and I think we wanted to bring that sense of wonder back home.

With lockdown we saw a huge surge in orders from Irish people all over the world who were obviously just really missing home, and they came to us for pieces that reminded them of where they came from. It was really humbling to be able to play an active part in bridging that gap for people.

 

Take A Look At Some Of Our Past Boxes

Every Irish at Heart box is a beautiful mystery right up until unboxing. Each box is curated around Irish themes, places & culture & is filled with boutique Irish items from across Ireland.

Cairdeas/Friendship

The Burren Box

A Bloomsday Celebration

An Fharraige / The Sea

St. Patrick’s Day

Grá / Love

Airmid

Meet Mary Moore, Founder & Creator

When founding Irish at Heart, she wanted to bring a blend of things you could proudly display in your home as well as be gifted to friends and family. Whether that's through discovering new Irish goods, foods, and crafts. Ireland is always close to my heart.

Do you and Owen have different specialities within the business?

 

 

Absolutely! I think this is part of the reason that we work so well together.

Owen is the main designer, and he also looks after our social media, branding, and that sort of thing. I’m much more involved in the actual printing and operational side of things – so if you send an email, it’s probably me that will be getting back to you.

Having these defined areas of expertise helps each of us build on our strengths and bring the best of both worlds into the business. That being said, we’re definitely two parts of the one team - and nothing goes out into the world unless we’re both completely happy with it.

 

 

We do our best work when we come together, and I feel very lucky that we get the opportunity to do so. That’s not saying we don’t have our moments! Sometimes we can rather resemble that couple out of Father Ted who are always trying to kill each other… but generally speaking we make a pretty good team.

 

Can you tell me a bit about the print that formed part of our lighthouse box this January?

 

Ah Hook Head. This particular lighthouse has a personal connection for us, so we’re really rather fond of the tea towel that you all found in your boxes last month.

My aunt lives right by it, and it’s just this beautiful long road that leads all the way up to the peninsula with Hook lighthouse perched right on the edge. Every time we go to visit her in Wexford it’s the first thing that we see, and those walks along the cliff are just incredible. So when Irish at Heart told us the theme of their January box we knew that our contribution just had to be Hook. As well as being one of the oldest working lighthouses in the world, it holds such a special place in our own hearts – so we were excited to share it with you all.

 

What’s your favourite product that Jando produces?

 

 

I always love the New York prints, because we have such a special connection with the city having been married there – and it’s also just an amazing place to visit. If I had to pick just one favourite though, I think it would be our original series - so things like Ha'Penny Bridge, and the yellow Poolbeg Chimneys.

Owen’s favourite is probably one that we call “Liberty Moon”, which shows Liberty Hall – famed as one of the uglier examples of Dublin’s architecture – but one of our favourite buildings in all the city. We wanted people to see it in a new light and fall in love with it as much as we have, so we created this piece to showcase it from another angle - to help people find the beauty in the mundane.

 

 

What’s the best part of the job?

Oh wow. Do you know what? That’s actually a really hard question!

 

I guess when we start working on a new piece together; Owen comes up with a sketch and we start talking about the colours and concepts that can bring it to life and it’s just so exciting. I love it!

Another really lovely part of the job, which was an unexpected consequence of lockdown, was customers that wrote little notes when they purchased from our website to say how much the pieces meant to them. You could be having a really bad day, and these messages from people from all over the world just brought so much happiness – you felt a real connection to them.

It was a hard time, and for us our customers really kept us going through it all.

 

 

If you could recommend a place in Ireland to visit where would it be?

You know, all my non-Dubliner customers are going to kill me for saying this, but I'm going to stick with the big city… Dublin has been my whole name for the last 21 years, and it really is just an incredible place. The people, the architecture, the variety – there’s just so much to experience.

From the Book of Kells at Trinity College, and the Natural History Museum which houses the Tara Brooch – there’s just so much of our heritage and history here. Then you have beautiful green stretches like Phoenix Park and Stephen’s Green (although you do need to watch out for the seagulls, they’re massive – honestly, they’re like dogs!).

I know Ireland is known for its dramatic coast and rolling green hills, and yes all of that is amazingly beautiful and interesting - but if you’ve got a love of architecture? You’ve got to stop by Dublin for sure!

 

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