Fumbally focus with Claire Ryan and Steph Hutch from The CRATE

THE CRATE at Fumbally Exchange


The Crate was developed from an idea shared between it’s founders, Claire Ryan
and Steph Hutch. We’ve been friends since we were 12. Having lived in London for
years, travelled through Europe together and worked independently in the fashion
and creative industry, we decided to set up shop as a partnership after moving back
to Dublin in 2016. We both share a love for flowers and design, and saw an opening
in the Irish market for selectively curated flowers that can be ordered from anywhere
and delivered to your nearest and dearest at home.

The Crate identified this style of 
flower buying working internationally in trend-leading cities and saw an opportunity to introduce a similar idea to Dublin.




What is the best thing about working in Fumbally?

Having started on the HPSU programme with The Fumbally Exchange in July 2017,
we have learned so much. The level of support that people have shown since
working there is very rewarding. Being a new business, you are doing so many
things for the first time, and refining your offering each time you do something new,
so being able to connect with people who are familiar with this journey is the best
thing. There’s a very supportive atmosphere amongst everyone here.

launching our website, www.thecrate.ie at The Fumbally Exchange in August 2017
has been our highlight to date.




What advice would you give someone who wanted to start up on their

Do it! Having worked for other companies in the past, there are so many times that
you think of setting up something new, but don’t follow through, as you feel it’s not
the right time or you’re not in the right place. The best advice we got was there’s
never going to be the right time and setting up on your own will never be without risk,
so making the decision to do it is the hardest part. Building your own business is the
reward for making this decision. The satisfaction of creating your own concept that is
unique to you is exciting, terrifying and exhilarating. You are completely accountable
for every decision you make so you put everything into this and since deciding to
dive-in we haven’t looked back once.




What was the hardest part about setting up on your own?
The hardest part in setting up on our own has been logistics. As we work with a
perishable product, we have to have our flowers arrive to the customer completely
fresh and looking beautiful. We always want to exceed our customers’ expectations
in what they receive. In doing so, there is a lot of work that happens behind the
scenes. Luckily we have been able to build a great supplier network who ensure all
of the stock provided is fresh, stored appropriately and delivered in time to get the
longevity we need out of the flowers. We have worked hard in building up our
workshop to house our flowers at the appropriate temperature and caring for them to
ensure that they reflect the product shown on our website. We have recently taken
on a courier company which allows us offer free same day delivery to our customers
throughout Dublin and we hope to build on this further, where we can then look at
delivering to Dublin and beyond. All of these things take time and so learning while
doing is the biggest consideration when owning your own business.




What was the biggest thing you’ve learned so far?

The biggest thing we’ve learned so far is be patient. Most of the time we have a
million and one ideas that we want to implement with The Crate, but rather than
rushing ahead with each thing, we‘ve learned to take time with each area of the
business. Learn from everything you do, reflect on what works and what doesn’t.
Always critically look at every part of your business so that you can improve and
adjust different areas. Although we’re a business of two people, we sit down every
week together and go through everything that happened the week before. We find
this is really useful as it’s still recent so that you can examine how your business is
working and growing. You can then take all of this information on board to build your
strategy for the future. We’ve just finished looking at Christmas and know where we
want to go with the next three months. We have a long-term plan, however getting
there takes time so it’s important to be organized in the short-term too.




What is your favourite part of the job

Our favourite part is working with the flowers to create unique designs. When putting
The Crate together we really wanted to focus on the idea of story-telling. Looking at
why people send flowers, the significance of different flower meanings and the
emotion behind giving someone flowers or telling a story through interesting flower
designs. We’ve worked with brands including Primark and Topshop, launching new
stores by creating flower installations that reflect the brand identity and styling
flowers to mimic a new campaign palette. It’s an area that really interests us as
flowers are so diverse, and applying them to different events and moments can be
really special.


What do you do to treat yourself?

As we’ve been friends for so long, our off-time is generally spent hanging out
together with our shared group of friends! Over the summer, after events that we
worked on, when you’ve been working non-stop for 10 days straight, we took up
taking a day off to go for a nice lunch somewhere new, and a swim at Vico Road in
Dalkey. It really blows off the cobwebs and refreshes the soul!