A CORK-based mum with two young daughters has just launched an online boutique which celebrates all things family.
Salingers Little was set up by Sarah Greene-Salm with a focus on fun, quality products designed to make parenting easier — and beautiful.
Sarah always knew she wanted to own and run her own business, but also enjoyed being at home with her girls Lulu (two and a half) and Heidi (nearly eight months) and wanted to find something that could enhance family life — and not take away from it.
“I love Instagram — it’s my window to the world sometimes, and when at home with a toddler or baby it can be a real support and outlet. I was seeing beautiful, interesting baby products on Instagram but the postage to Ireland was so off-putting. I knew there had to be other women like me who wanted quality, design led products for their homes and children so I decided to look into stocking them myself.
“Having the girls was my inspiration — I wanted to show them that if they worked hard and believed in themselves and their idea they could be a success. But it also dictated the type of business it could be.
“I’m used to the idea of a shop being a brick store where you stand selling your wears, but as a mum I know most of my shopping is done from my phone when the kids are in bed. I wanted to do something that meant I wasn’t tied into Monday to Saturday, 9-5. Because the store is an online one I can wrap orders while my kids sleep, I can go on buying trips with them, and answer emails around their schedule.
“I also wanted a business that could grow with our family and adapt and change as they get older, eventually I would love a brick shop or to branch off in other directions as they start pre- school or primary school.”
Sarah says she has been massively supported in the venture by her husband Wayne.
Both in their twenties, the hard-working couple have been together since they met and fell in love when Sarah was 16 in Secondary School in Kilkenny.
“We just clicked straight away and became inseparable. We moved in together when we moved to Cork in 2010 and I started a fine art degree in Crawford College Art and Design. We had a beautiful flat above the weir on Washington Street and fully embraced Cork life. We loved it here and immediately felt we could create a life together here.”
The couple opened Salingers menswear store in the Winthrop Arcade three years ago.
“It was on buying trips for the menswear store where we really got to work together and I enjoyed the process of being inspired by the European cities we visited, the brands we saw and the ranges we were buying. These trips could easily have been a negative as it meant Wayne would be away a minimum of six times a year from his family, but we chose to make them a family trip.”
Sarah was pregnant with Lulu when the couple started Salingers, and was pregnant with Heidi when she started to work on Salingers Little.
“I loved seeing how Dutch women parented their children, the focus on quality materials, play and the celebration of the whole family unit. I wanted family and childhood to be my starting point. Babies are born and they soon take over your entire homes and lives in ways you couldn’t fathom before having children. I really wanted to see this as a positive and to offer Irish families products that would celebrate this transition and make parenting easier or at least more beautiful”
They launched with their interior and gift collections and will follow with children’s clothing ranges throughout the summer.
“We’re focusing on fun, quality products from a mixture of mainly Scandinavian and European designers. Ingenious products like our Cama Copenhagen changing bag that revolutionises how we think about changing our babies in public bathrooms, our baby ear protectors that are a sanity saver for parents as it means they can relax in noisy environments knowing their little ones are protected, and our beautiful range of liberty print bibs and soother savers.”
Being self-employed — and working with your spouse — must bring its positives and negatives?
“The positives are obviously being able to set my own schedule that can fit in around my daughters. The negatives are also to do with scheduling, sometimes you feel your work is never done, being a mum is a full time job and if you don’t get the balance spot on you can feel like you’re doing two jobs below par. It also spurs you on to do it better the next day though.”
However, working for yourself in Ireland can sometimes feel like you are pushing against the tide, she feels.
“Cork city is a beautiful city but the lack of parking really does stop families coming in, which is a shame as it has a lot to offer.
“The Winthrop Arcade is a beautiful place to work. It’s one of the oldest arcades in Ireland and it really should be loved and embraced by Corkonians.”
Sarah’s Instagram feed is beautiful but she’s quick to remind us not to believe everything we see there.
“It’s natural to portray the best version of yourself. I think we do this not to bring anyone else down but to boost ourselves up and make ourselves feel more capable sometimes.”
Her favourite accounts include @housfolk and @lieks_home for interiors, @chapter.ie for design inspiration, @dreamingalways to keep to date with all that’s happening in the world of childhood glamour; @monolommummy for humour and @theposypost for a floral fix.
It might be an online enterprise but they don’t want Salingers Little to be ‘faceless’ and will open their premises in the arcade on the last Sunday of every month for a Family Funday from noon to 3pm.
“Some of my best days are when I have both girls in the shop, so we wanted to expand that by having teepees and a fun atmosphere for children to come with their parents. I’ll showcase some of the Salingers Little stock as I think it’s very important to be able to view, touch and feel some of the products.
“I’m very aware that Wayne and I are still in our twenties so we do feel we really need to put in the work now and put things in place so that as our kids gets a little older we’ll be in a position to take the opportunities that arise and be able to hit the ground running.”