30 Jun 2022

Ruth's journey from selling bikinis in Toronto to Irish gifts in Castledermot

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Ruth's journey from selling bikinis in Toronto to Irish gifts in Castledermot

Ruth Phelan

The offical launch of a new gift shop, George and Milly, will take place in Castledermot this Friday November 4 and Saturday, November, 5.

Pictured above is Ruth Phelan who opened the shop three weeks ago. The launch will include a 'meet the designer' session where customers can meet the designers behind the brands. The shop promotes shopping locally and buying Irish. Ruth has been in retail for 15 years and during that time she has run a variety of different retail spaces. Including a bikini shop in Toronto, a Jewish bakery in Sydney and sold wedding dresses in Vera Wang in Toronto.

"I have worked in retail for 15 years and in those 15 years I’ve traveled, I’ve managed, set up and I’ve run a variety of different retail spaces," said Ruth.

"Including a Bikini shop in Toronto, a Jewish bakery in Sydney and wedding dresses in Vera Wang in Toronto. Before travelling I studied Textiles in GMIT in Galway and love all things tactile. I always knew I'd settle in Ireland and I also always knew I would have my own business. I came home from Canada five years ago and fell in love. We bought our own house in Kilkea. The time came and I decided it was time to establish my own brand. I started out designing and making my own bespoke squared scarves and from there it all grew."

 According to Ruth several people have said that she is brave, but she doesn't  see it like that.

"To me it was just the next step in achieving my goal.I have literally been planning this for 15 years and now that it’s finally reality I just want to keep going and see what happens. I have always had such a strong connection with the Irish suppliers and designers so when the time came to open my own shop it was an easy decision to choose Irish designers. In reality, I am only as good as my suppliers and their support, creativity and genius are all key to the success of George and Milly. The brands I stock are from every corner of the island if Ireland and range from Janet Byrne Knitwear from Lucan to Bia Beauty skin care in Cork and a little bit of everything in between. I love working with the Irish suppliers, the quality and the huge range of products are impeccable. We live in a nation of extremely talented people and I’m so proud to be able to showcase just a small section their products and designs. I’m not dealing with big corporations and factories a lot of my suppliers are just like me following their dreams, I love that. That important to me."

Ruth loves to promote shopping local and wants to start a trend of doing so.

"I opened in The Old Yard just outside Castledermot the summer of 2016 and I was overwhelmed by the positive reaction people had to my carefully selected stock. When the season ended, I decided to keep going with my new venture, so I was Castledermot bound.  Castledermot is such I busy little town and such a strong collection of businesses working together to create a destination town which I was delighted to join.  The support from both the local community and the established businesses has been so strong and positive. I have noticed a change in how people shop, they are happy to invest in quality and love supporting the Irish suppliers."

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