Made In Dublin: How Jam Art Factory weathered the recession and prospered
It has been said that a recession is a good time to start a business, and it has worked well for brothers Mark and John Haybyrne. After opening their art boutique Jam Art Factory in 2011, the enterprising duo now own two stores and a thriving online business. But as Mark reveals, it all started with an impromptu decision.
“My mother’s cousin was going to open a sewing and alteration store on Patrick Street – the place we’ve had since 2011,” he recalls. “I worked in an art supply store and my brother had just been laid off.
“Our relationship pulled out because she didn’t think it was for her, so we decided to apply and within two or three weeks of the idea the store was open.”
The two Jam Art Factory stores – one on Patrick Street and the other on Crown Alley in Temple Bar – are physical embodiments of the company’s motto: “Design makes you happy, Irish design makes you happier.” “.
“During the recession, we saw that there were so many talented and artistic people in Ireland, so we thought we might as well take advantage of it,” adds Mark.
“There was such a demand for it – people didn’t want their money going out of Ireland when it would be better to support local artists and designers. “
The shelves of the brothers’ shops are full of vibrant works of art, most of which are designed and made in Ireland. “We mainly work on limited edition prints using different printing methods, a bit of ceramic, a bit of jewelry and a few original pieces as well,” says Mark.
“Print is a good medium because when we opened during the recession people weren’t buying art for hundreds of dollars. They didn’t have the money. So it’s good to have art that works in this price range.
Mark himself is an artist – although he admits he had to give up due to the demands of the business – but his older brother John has no history in the art world. Mark says the couple have never been so close – in part because of a six-year age gap – but that they complement each other well.
“He would have more of a business leader than an art director,” he says. “I’m left to the side of the design and what kind of artists to bring in, and he takes care of the other things that need to be done.
“It’s hard working with your brother. Working with anyone can be difficult, but when it comes to your family, it’s a whole different aspect. You have stressful times, but once you meet the family you are fine and you are back to normal.
Jam Art Factory’s second store opened in 2013 because, according to Mark, “we were looking to grow just for a living” – it was hard to get by with just one store and a business that tends to be seasonal. . They chose a site in Temple Bar in order to attract more tourists and Dubliners – especially northerners for whom Patrick Street is a bit too far to walk on a rainy day.
Over the past few years, the company’s online store has taken on real meaning. Mark and John operate both jamartfactory.com and jamartprints.com – the latter capitalizes on the demand for prints, which is the bulk of their business.
“It has definitely increased over the past few years,” says Mark, “because people feel more secure when shopping online. You need to have a website these days – if we didn’t have it, we’d be lost.
“Plus, people look at items online and then come to the store if they’re locally based. Definitely worth having it.
Mark says he and his brother John are happy with the business as it is.
“We want to involve more exciting artists, exhibit new and promising artists and try to find the best people possible,” he says.