Creative Industry Finance

Waffle Design is a soft furnishings company based in London.

Ciara McGarrity founded Waffle Design in 2012. The company’s product range includes cushions, throws and rugs made using fair-trade and organic cotton. Ciara also offers a made-to-measure soft furnishings service, making traditionally hand finished curtains and blinds.

She tells us:

“I studied craft, design and production in Dublin. Shortly after this, I moved to London where I worked as a visual merchandiser, whilst freelancing on projects for the likes of Liberty, Dunhill and Hermes.

“After a 3-month trip to India, I returned to college to study soft furnishings at London Metropolitan University whilst managing bespoke interior projects in the furnishing departments at Liberty. I was running a bespoke curtains and blinds making service when I came across a fabric I fell in love with and made cushions using a hand embroidery technique which customised the fabric.I approached a boutique in Islington, who agreed to trial the cushions; a couple of months later they awarded me with a stand at an international fair, where I showcased two collections and officially launched the company.

“I came to Creative Industry Finance when I discovered that there was an opportunity to broaden my support network and focus my business goals towards a long term investment. The support I’ve had from the programme has been invaluable; Paul Creavin, my business advisor, guided me through everything from financial forecasting and sales projections to diary management and networking. The loan I received allowed me to move to a workroom space away from home and launch new collections at an international level.

“The biggest challenge I’ve had so far is building the bridge from being a small and independent company towards having a team who can share responsibility across various aspects of the business. However, working with clients to create a home that they love is a great feeling as is going to a store and seeing my products on the shelves.

“In five years’ time, I would like the business to have grown in its capacity for managing bespoke projects. Additionally, I would like to increase the focus towards collaborative projects that draw out all the potential of the Waffle brand…”