With Mother’s Day (UK & Ireland) on Sunday we thought it would be a lovely opportunity to note how much our Mum means to us as a family. While Mum has never worked in our family business she is a solid sounding board for us all and has been for years – from business decisions, fielding heated family debates, (we try to keep emotion to a minimum with business but it creeps in on occasion!) to ideas on the seasonal collection of both fabrics and garments.
While not managing her expanding family with the three of us and grandchildren, (not to mention managing Dad!) Mum devotes much of her time to her garden – a walled-in acre of secret paths and little follies, vegetables, trees, shrubs and flowers.
It has been the backdrop to many of our summer photoshoots and it also provides inspiration behind specific design themes. As a child I have so many happy memories of playing for hours in this garden, catching bugs, hide & seek, creating obstacle courses with flower pots and canes and even attempts at my own horticultural creations – with mixed results. Today this garden is a playground for my own children when we visit the ‘Donegal grandparents’ and a calm space for me.
I never quite appreciated how much our mothers do for us, that is until I had my own children – life is now a juggling act and multitasking is to the extreme – but very rewarding!
Thank you Mum for everything – for the early years – life lessons and watching us grow and develop, the trying teenage years – for your calmness and patience and for now – for your listening ear and grand-mum duties!
Mums’ favourite pieces this Spring Summer 2020 – The Emma coat, in a soft cashmere/wool blend pink and white herringbone Donegal tweed and a bright pink, blue and white patchwork scarf, designed and made in our mill in Donegal.
This autumn, we’re celebrating women with a series of interviews, focusing on women in Ireland. We’re wrapping up with Magee 1866’s Rosy Temple, fifth-generation family member and manager of marketing and retail at Magee 1866.
Can you tell us about your decision to join the family business?
As a teenager growing
up, the family business was part and parcel of everyday conversation but I
didn’t at first consider it as a career. I was set on doing my own thing and
spent most of my twenties in the UK; at the University of York and then working
in London. I started work in the corporate art world, selling 19th
century pictures at Christie’s Auction House. After three years there, I was
itching to explore other types of business and jumped ship to work in a food
and drink start up called Rebel Kitchen. The contrast was certainly refreshing,
a small ‘go go’ team were responsibility came quick and change was fast. I was
fortunate to have some excellent senior directors as willing mentors who gave
me invaluable commercial experience on all things brand, together with
marketing and management skills. After five years in London, thoughts began to
turn both to Ireland and the family business. Dad had never put any pressure on
either myself or my two siblings to join Magee 1866, we all went off in
different directions and in time all then felt the atavistic pull to come back!
For me it took working in different environments to truly appreciate how
fortunate I was to have a family business and one with an exciting future. Even
though it is over 150 years old, I watched a business that was making changes.
I saw that the collections kept sight of our heritage but also moved forward; my
grandfather would never have envisaged us bringing a duffle coat to the fore! I
joined in April 2018 and haven’t looked back since!
Any advice for young women finding their way professionally?
think it is really worth taking time to truly explore what you want to do and
understand what drives you. This can take time! There is a lot of social
pressure to be ‘successful’ but I think that we need to carefully consider what
makes us tick and what gives us a sense of purpose.
When at work, whatever your gender, I do think it is important to wear clothing which makes you feel your best. If there is an important meeting with external clients, give yourself confidence by wearing something strong and well-tailored. For me, I’d choose the Moyne suit. It is a beautiful fabric and cut. Putting it on, well, it makes you feel ready to take on whatever the day throws at you!
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
Most definitely from my Mum, she
always advises ‘be true to yourself’. For me, this equates to following your
own distinctive path and being confident in doing so.
What’s top of mind for you at the moment?
The whole area around sustainability is very important for me. It is a huge buzz word at the moment, it is encouraging that the discussion on the environment is very much in the mainstream media. Now though, we need to make sure to turn words to action. For us at Magee 1866, this means continuing to use natural fibres like wool which are re-newable and biodegradable and to promote slow-fashion. We are continuing to explore ways that will improve how we do business in a more environmentally friendly way. This is often not easy but a challenge that this is worth tackling head on.
Personal style philosophy?
As you might have guessed, I am a big believer in making considered purchases which stand the test of time. Each season, I will add a couple of investment pieces and this AW19, I have my eye on the Alexa coat which is made from fabric woven in our mill and full of character. It is the sort of coat that should be passed on to the next generation!
Your favourite local spot & why?
I’m a fan of the outdoors, from cycling to swimming and mountain running! Without a doubt, my top spot is Salthill Pier (Co. Donegal) which is a stone’s throw from home. Whatever the weather or time of year, you will find me jumping off the pier for a swim!
Your perfect day?
I live between Dublin and Donegal which is a lovely contrast of city and rural life. Donegal does probably win on being the location for a perfect day though! I’ll always kick-start with a swim, followed by a couple of hours out on the bike or on foot up in the local hills. I just love heading up into the Bluestacks and feel so lucky to have such invigorating scenery right on the doorstep. I have started growing vegetables, which is surprisingly time-consuming but totally worth it. So an ideal day would of course include some spuds from the veg patch for lunch! On winter days especially, I’ll light the fire, switch off my phone and take time to really enjoy some decent books on anything from fiction to philosophy. Of course, I’ll make sure to have a throw handy to stay cosy! To round off the day, an evening in a local pub with friends hits the spot.
We are renowned for our men’s sophisticated tailoring and have been perfecting the art of the ‘work wear’ wardrobe for men for over 100 years. Styling has without doubt evolved over this time, however the classic suit is still a staple.
In the 1960’s we started designing and weaving colourful, intricate tweeds which opened the door for us into the women’s market on fabric. For the last few years we have been focusing our efforts on a women’s ready-to-wear collection. This capsule wardrobe captures the 9 – 5 look perfectly for women. Fabric and garment design are at the core of what we do, as a result each piece is comfortable, smart, unique and above all made to last.
The Mona double breasted Mac is an essential piece for the Irish and British summer forecast – featuring a unique Donegal tweed trim on the under collar, this smart coat works across the 9 – 5 look to weeknights out perfectly. Style with our stretch wool cigarette pants.