Silver Works

  Silver Works Logo                                                                  Silver WorksSilver Works Maddy

Silver Works, founded in 2018, by LEO Dublin City’s Women in Business Female Entrepreneur of the Year, Madeleine Blaine, is a unique collection of workshops and jewellery making courses located in the heart of Dublin City.

 Coined as one of Ireland’s top creative experiences, lovers or those curious about the ancient craft of jewellery making can choose from a two hour course up to five week part time courses. Its sister company, The Collective, an independent jewellery and gift shop, showcases the work of over 30 Irish designers and is located in the same building on Drury Street, Dublin 2.

 The Collective works in tandem with Silver Works to promote both the jewellery and workshops to their customers.

 Silver Works most popular workshop is the 2 hour forge a Silver Ring workshop, where attendees make a ring from scratch. They also offer a Wedding Ring Workshop, where couples can make their wedding bands.

 The popularity of both the store and the workshops means that Silver Works and The Collective provides full time employment for 9 people and a further 21 part time positions made up from mainly teachers and retail staff.

About Madeleine

 “My career/ business started when I was 19, I did an apprenticeship in jewellery making in Mexico and for 11 years I lived between Mexico and the UK, buying gemstones, making jewellery and selling to shops and at craft fairs. I loved designing and making, buying and selling and flourished running my own business, selling through the craft fairs, where I sold every weekend that I was in the UK or Ireland.”

 In 2014, after meeting an Irish man, Madeleine wanted to settle and moved to Ireland full time.

“With my experience, I thought I would be good at running a shop where I would be able to carry on with my own brand, Gallardo & Blaine Designs, as well. Drury Street was where I wanted to be, as it was a creative hub and when I was offered a basement shop I took it!”

 Madeleine found other Irish jewellery designers to sell alongside her own brand and started The Collective. In 2018 the workshops were born, primarily to bring more traffic to the shop, but it soon became obvious it was a business in its own right.

 “We used to do the workshops in the basement when the shop was shut, but it soon became too busy and we turning away business, so when we were offered the ground floor in 2019 we jumped at it. Using the basement for workshops and the ground floor for retail. However, we soon needed even more space, and during the pandemic we were offered the whole building, which was perfect so we took it, and then last year I bought the building, securing our space forever.”

A One of a Kind Experience

“Our workshops are a very unusual experience, it is a very hands on and hugely satisfying- you take away a beautiful memento that you can be proud of. There is nothing similar to this experience in Dublin. There are other experiences that are creative too and are enjoyed by similar customers, but our experience is more niche as we need specialist equipment, tools and goldsmiths to teach it. It’s completely unique to Ireland.”

Silver Works now host 4 workshops right in the city centre. Madeleine recognises that the central location really adds to the value of the experience. 

“A lot of group craft activities are usually further out of the city. People can leave our workshops and carry on their fun with the assortment of restaurants and bars nearby. It also makes it easy for tourists to find us and fit us into their busy itinerary of tours and other experiences.”

With over 3,000 five star reviews, many of them mention the location as well as the staff as another reason locals and tourists alike would return. Madeleine recognises how important staff retention is and shows her appreciation by creating a community for the creative teachers and promotes them by selling their designs in her store.

“One thing always brought up in reviews is our amazing teachers- we are very selective about who we take on, as not only do they have to be great at teaching, but they also have to be fun, positive and good at keeping people entertained! As the business is so niche, it is very important that we keep them happy, which I believe we do, as we’ve kept lots of teachers since we opened 5 years ago. We have built a community for our creative teachers, we plan lots of evenings out etc, making sure everyone gets along, and a lot of them have become great friends. We also promote them by selling their work through the shop, which then markets the workshops. The shop really is so unique as it has so many different, unusual brands, but as there is an eclectic variety, lots at affordable prices, it appeals to a wide range of people of all ages.”

SIlver Works Work Station

Challenges & Opportunities

“As with most business COVID 19 Pandemic was our biggest challenge. Both the shop and workshops were shut for a great length of time. Then when we could reopen the workshops, they had to be run at half capacity to enable social distancing. It was an incredibly challenging time, but it also had its benefits in that we ploughed on making improvements and changes, which when we finally reopened we were able to put into place and enabled us to scale the businesses.”


A Pivot for the Shop & the Workshop

 The pandemic, despite its challenges, encouraged Madeleine to change her business model. The workshops, which mainly drew in tourists also needed a new marketing strategy, as international travel was banned.

“To help with this, we changed our system to a more updated one, using barcodes and better POS systems. We then began marketing Silver Works to the local and domestic markets rather than tourism, which until then had made up around 90% of the customer base. It really forced us to change strategy and has played a huge part in where we are today as now around 60% of our customers come from the local and domestic market.”

Stand Out Moment

“We knew right from the beginning that we were on the right path with the workshops. We began selling through Air BnB Experiences and our workshops were booked out almost immediately. The reviews really sold it and we knew that if only the local and domestic market could see what we had to offer the word would quickly spread -and it has. The beauty of selling to the local community is that it is an all year round business. The tourism business has huge high and low seasons, but locals are always there, looking for entertainment and new experiences so they are a great target market.

Combining The Collective and Silver Works has also made a big difference. Rent and mortgages in Dublin 2 are very expensive, so you really need to maximise the venue. To do this, our workshops are used during the day, evening and weekend. We use it to make jewellery for the shop as well as for group workshops.”

LEO Supports

Madeleine has availed of a variety of LEO Supports for both Silver Works and the Collective, including:

  • Trading Online Vouchers
  • Grad Start
  • Business Continuity Voucher
  • Mentoring

Silver Works received a grant during the 5 month lockdown in 2021 to help towards payments of business costs while unable to trade.

Also recently we were granted the Grad Start program, whereby we can take on a graduate for 2 years with 50% of their salary being returned to us at the end. The graduate has just started working with us now.

Finally to help us bring The Collective website up to scratch we have also just had 6 hours of LEO mentoring with a web expert, to help us become more of an exporting Ecommerce business.”

LEO Dublin City’s Women in Business Network Female Entrepreneur of the Year

“Winning the Female Entrepreneur Award means a great deal for us. It is a boost of confidence, not only for myself but for the team who are over the moon. It shows we are all working well together-as I couldn’t have done this on my own. It also gives recognition and awareness to other businesses that I am interested in collaborating with, ideas shared, it shows that this is a business that has accomplished something. Finally, as we are adding it to different places, websites, social media, emails etc it will really help give customers confidence in us as well.”

2024 & Beyond

“We are looking to expand. Not only here in Dublin, but also in London. I have been starting the market research and checking numbers first but all being well this is the target for 2024.”

Advice for New Entrepreneurs

“My main advice is follow your heart. If it is something you feel you can’t not do, then do it. You will be shown. Ideas sometimes don’t work, but don’t be afraid if something alternative is possible then you will be shown, with numbers, sales, and interest. Then concentrate on what you are good at and give the rest away. As soon as the business is getting off the ground invest in people, don’t see it as an expense, people bring in revenue, see each person you bring onto your team as multiplying your profit, you cannot do everything on your own, and definitely not scale a business on your own.”


The Collective
24 Drury Street
D02 V658

Tel: 016751818