Maven is a furniture and homewares shop in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Founded by sisters Catherine and Patricia McGinnis in 2013, Maven is housed in a beautiful old red brick memorial hall. Catherine and Patricia chose the name ‘Maven’ as a nod to Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘The Tipping Point’, in this context a maven being an innovator. The unique building, tucked down a side street, is an indication of the distinctive mix of product found inside. There is a mix of Irish and Scandinavian brands that includes Superfolk and Derek Wilson Ceramics, Marimekko and Muuto Customers, very often design enthusiasts, from all over Ireland seek are drawn to Maven in search of items they can fall in love with.
Inspired by interesting independent shops when visiting other cities, Patricia and Catherine were at a crossroads in their careers, and looking for a new opportunity decided to open Maven. Encouraged by their father’s positive attitude to life and business, a passionate business owner himself, the sisters ignored the naysayers who said retail was dead and forged ahead with their vision. They surrounded themselves with products they love and would want in their own homes, creating an original space. They love their customers, many of whom have become their friends, and feel their lives have been enhanced by the incredible people they get to know through Maven. They love to visit shops in Copenhagen, though the most beautiful shop they have ever visited is the Santa Maria Novella Farmacia in Florence. A trip to Melbourne is next on the list to scope out the incredible coffee shops and boutiques they have being reading about.
On the Future of Retail
“People are bored of the big generic high street offering. They want an experience and this is what independent shops excel at. If you are a shopkeeper who is passionate about what they do, customers will feel this the moment they enter your shop.”
Reid Memorial Hall, 4A Maryville Ave., Belfast
Photography by Sarah Fyffe & Elaine Hill