Louise Stokes Loulerie
Recently, we sat for coffee in Balfes in the Creative Quarter to hear the story behind the Chatham Street jewellers Loulerie from creator and owner Louise Stokes. Everything about Louise and her vision fulfilled in Loulerie is another shining example of what makes the Creative Quarter truly #UniquetoDublin
Tell us Louise, how would you describe Loulerie?
Loulerie is a fashion inspired, design led jewellery store. We are focused on very much a niche product. We look at curating the world’s designers and what they offer. That’s what I believe our point of difference is, it’s design led and it’s fashion inspired.
What inspired you to open your business?
I think I always dreamt of having my own business and then I lived in New York and it was going to the markets and seeing these jewellery designers selling on the street. Then the next minute they’d be in Henri Bendel or the department stores and I loved the idea of bringing pieces here (Ireland) that were never sold before. I think there was just that whole excitement and creating. In New York you have stores, they’re almost like gallery spaces for jewelers, that’s how I would describe Loulerie, its all design led so it’s all about the craft.
Why did you choose the Creative Quarter as a location?
It was before the Creative Quarter existed, it was actually very random that I saw the shop. It was a barbers and I definitely had in my mind that I didn’t want just a regular four by four storefront. I loved that it has one of the only old carvings shop fronts around the area and it had the canopy detailing too. I just fell in love with it. It had been there since the 1930’s and it was just something that felt a little bit more old school. We will be here in this store 9 years in August.
What do you like about this neighbourhood? What do you think is unique about it?
Do you know what, it feels like a family. I like that when I go to get a coffee in the morning from Butlers or Clement & Pekoe people know your name, when you’re walking up and down the street you see the same faces. It’s just an incredible buzz in the morning to feel that you’re all on the same page and there’s this amazing sense of community. You’ll have people come in and say ‘oh I was with the girls in Costume and they told me to come up here’ or I’ll say ‘oh go down to Paula Rowan and it feels like you’re buying from people, it’s not just big random conglomerate businesses. Obviously we’re all in business but I think there’s people behind it, there’s creativity behind it and the passion as well. I think because we’ve all come through a recession together and we stood there in stores when there was not much happening in the likes of 2007. It makes you stronger and I think we all stuck together and I love that. That’s what I think really has kept us all going.
Where do you like to go around here to socialise and to shop?
I shop in Costume on Castle Market, Parfumarija, in the Westbury Mall is the most wonderful shopping experience around, Pearl, South King Street is the best for the most unique baby clothes, Paula Rowan also in the Westbury Mall has the best gloves, and for for any male present in my life, I see Colm in Corkscrew beside me here in Chatham Street. It always goes down well. Especially in December, 30 seconds is about as far as I want to walk to buy a present. For Coffee, Clement & Pekoe on South William Street is absolutely 100% the best. Breakfast here in Balfes, amazing for doing all my meetings and dinner is always Coppinger Row, I just love it. I do love shopping in Appassionata on Drury Street where I buy all my gifts as well as Coco Atelier next door. With gifts, I like things that are a bit different and for me when I’m handing over a gift bag I want it to feel a little bit special.
What would your perfect day in Dublin be?
It’s funny, I’m not just saying this, I actually had my perfect day when we came into town, it was a Sunday and I came in with my husband. I have such little time because I run a business and I have two kids, so I squished all my favourite things into four hours. We had a coffee in Clement & Pekoe, we had a beer in the Long Hall, we had a cocktail in Fade Street Social and then we went to L’Gueuleton, which is one of my all time favourite restaurants, I absolutely love it. I like the antipasti plate there, we sat with red wine with two of our friends. Then we strolled around and had a little look in Costume. To be honest, just walking around the streets is great. Sometimes when you’re in this district, working you’re racing into your shop and your head is down. On a Sunday, I view town differently. The energy is different. Some of the nicest times I’ve had have been weekends when the shop isn’t open and I just look at people strolling. It’s very beautiful around Castle Market and those red brick buildings of the Georges Street Arcade are stunning. Even the little things like your cup that you get in Clement & Pekoe, I love it and it feels special. As spending is coming back, people are thinking about where they are spending and they know what they want.
Do you have a funny story of your time in this area?
Yes, unfortunately (she says laughing). I got new locks in the shop, it was like I’m all grown up now with my new store, got the new locks in, changed everything. So myself and my manager decided we’d just go outside and try the new locks. We closed the door behind us and yes you guessed it, we got locked out of our own business. Worst was we could see all of the new keys laid in a little line on the counter! We had no phone, I didn’t remember anyone’s number, I didn’t know anybody’s number off the top of my head as I just moved back from New York. I had to ring up Directory Enquiries to find out my husband’s work number to get him to ring the locksmith and then the best part is Ingrid Hoey, the stylist walks along to come into the shop to look for a client and she’s like ‘are you locked out of your own business?’ So there we were, me, my manager and Ingrid all standing outside the shop like fools. I will never forget that day as long as I live and then the smile on the locksmith’s face when he came back for the second time!
We really enjoyed our chat with Louise. Loulerie is a special store so make sure you pop in to say hi next time you are in the area!