Recession sews the seeds of Limerick shop’s success

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

THE RECESSION has forced the closure of many shops but it has helped open Rebecca Palmer’s shop in Cappamore.

THE RECESSION has forced the closure of many shops but it has helped open Rebecca Palmer’s shop in Cappamore.

The English woman has been teaching adults and children to sew in halls across the county for two years.

But now due to demand she has set up shop with Rebecca Palmer Originals over the door on Moore Street.

“We have fabric and sell a lot of haberdashery but there is big table set up for classes. We’ve even got a waiting list. I’ve been moving around different venues. It came to the point where it would be as cost effective to open a shop,” said Rebecca.

A couple of weeks in and she is run off her feet with classes almost every night in Cappamore.

“On Monday mornings I teach in the Millennium Centre in Caherconlish and Tuesday nights in Ballylanders. I will probably introduce a Wednesday morning class because I have so many on a waiting list. Saturday mornings is the kids sewing group.

“Between all my classes my youngest student is seven and my oldest is in their 70s – a massive spectrum,” said Rebecca. She says that people who grew up during the Celtic Tiger had an expectation that if the zip goes on a pair of trousers they will just buy a new pair.

“If you can sew a button or put the zip back you save money. I’ve never had enough money to be like that. The Celtic Tiger didn’t roar at my door,” laughed Rebecca, who moved from England to Reenavanna, Doon with her husband, Chris and daughter, Demelza.

“I found more and more people coming to me to get alterations, repairs, curtains, soft furnishings done. That’s how I started to teach people. “I get a real kick out of seeing somebody do it themselves, although it is not very sound business sense!” she joked.

One thing in particular she has noticed is clients bringing “fabulously expensive outfits from the Celtic Tiger days”.

“They say ‘I need it revamped, I really want it not to look like the same outfit I’ve been wearing to family weddings for the last two or three years. We will revamp together and work out what we want do with it – upcycling is very fashionable at the minute,” said Rebecca,

As she is a textile artist with an advanced range of skills she can teach a novice how to thread a needle as well as more artistic work.

Over 100 are attending her classes including some men.

“They are very welcome but it is a bit nerve wracking for them,” said Rebecca.

Since Rebecca Palmer Originals opened she has been “astounded at the response and numbers of callers”.

“In the Celtic Tiger days the shop probably wouldn’t have got a second look,” said Rebecca.