Ohh Deer Interviews: Maktus

In our latest Ohh Deer Interviews series, we caught up with Maktus - an independent gift and card store located in Dublin's creative quarter. 

Maktus launched in 2018, creating much of their own products and providing opportunities for up-and-coming and established Irish designers.

Maktus also has a curated selection from other selected brands such as Ohh Deer. We spoke with the Founder and Creative Director, Aidan Prior to delve into Maktus a little deeper.

For anyone outside of Ireland who may not be aware of you, can you introduce us to Maktus? 

Sure. We're a small studio based in the oldest shopping centre in Ireland called the George's Arcade - which is right in the city centre of Dublin. From here, we have a store and a studio where we design gifts, art prints, souvenirs and greeting cards that we feel better represent Dublin and Ireland than the tacky souvenir stores that sell mass-produced junk from Asia.

We also work alongside and in collaboration with local artists to achieve our goal and we love doing it. There's also a real sense of fun and mischief in what we do and that keeps both us and our clients entertained.

Staying in Ireland for a moment. Anyone who buys from you online or visits Maktus can see you’re clearly a champion for Irish-made and Irish-designed products. What was the driver behind locally designed and made product ethos?

It was born out of two things.

The first was to be creative and work on constantly changing ideas which keeps the mind occupied. 

The second was the lack of originality that we now find when we travel to major cities. Sadly, with globalisation, you now tend to find all the same big stores in these cities selling the same stuff that you find in your own city back home. So we set about having a store full of unique and Irish-inspired items that couldn't be found elsewhere. We get told all the time 'Where do you find all this stuff', but obviously we design a lot of it ourselves and that's nice to be able to say.

That really is something to admire and how great that you’ve put yourselves in a position where customers know they’re going to walk in and find something unique to Maktus, which will make the shopping experience even more exciting and special. Back to where it all started. Is it true that Maktus started out with postcards?

Yes, you've done your research. Postcards were first followed by magnets. Postcards were an easy one to start with and thankfully they became very successful for us as we approached them in a different way than anybody else was doing in Dublin.

What did you try to do differently?

We kept them simple and colourful and avoided the tourist trappings, while some designs introduced tourists to Irish slang, pop culture, sayings etc.

How did those postcards and magnets morph into what Maktus has become today?

We found companies that could produce products at low production runs and so we tentatively tested out some of these products with our art and designs on them which allowed us to expand our product offering. 

Then we wanted to try greeting cards but we wanted to have them printed of a high quality and on a nice art board to give them a touch of class so that took a while to get that right.

(Image: Shawn Bracebridge in collaboration with Maktus)

You’ve got some very funny products in your shop. From the Donald Trump Chew Toy to the Don Box - Chocolate D*ck and the Butterflies And Boners Card you clearly embrace the fun side!

As a pop culture and humour-led brand, which range in particular encouraged you to stock Ohh Deer cards?

I think it was Gemma Correll and some of the earlier cards like the dinosaur bringing hummus to a BBQ etc.

Does Ohh Deer offer up something different to your own designs?

Of course. You guys have a great range of artists with a wide range of different styles, some quite intricate art styles, some classical styles and others that are just blunt and hilarious.

Why thank you! Since Brexit, Ohh Deer now falls outside of the EU. As a result, has delivery and the supply of Ohh Deer products changed at all? 

Yes, it was a nightmare and sadly courier companies are making a fortune off the back of it with 'admin fees'. Together we've figured out how to manoeuvre around those extra charges thankfully.

Is there a product in your shop that is currently flying off the shelves or something new that you’re really pleased with?

Our own Bleedin Baltic Beanies went really well over the colder months but other than that nothing that springs to mind. We've noticed less and less innovation in the gift market over the last 4/5 years. When we started out, there were loads and loads of companies, they've now either merged, folded or have gone into licensing, it's really disappointing to see. 

Would you feel comfortable recommending Ohh Deer to other international retailers?

Of course, and we have. We love to see progressive brands like yours succeed and we find what you do a great inspiration to us.

What’s next for Maktus?

That's a good question and it's one we've asked ourselves for a while but I think it would be to continue to develop what we do rather than go into other areas, but we'll see!

Images courtesy of Maktus - follow them on Instagram @maktus_store

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