Shared Passions: Esther Gerrard and Ed Coveney of Elements of Action

In this week’s mini-series we speak to Esther Gerrard and Ed Coveney of Elements of Action to find out how they work together as a partnership in both life and business.

Elements of Action is a Dublin-based collaborative design practice which creates handcrafted, unique and bespoke products such as mirrors, candle holders, plinths, napkin rings and furniture from locally-sourced materials including spalted beech, glass and brass.

Photo of Shared Passions: Esther Gerrard and Ed Coveney of Elements of Action

Why did you decide to work together on the brand?

It happened quite organically - Ed’s background is in stonemasonry, building and renovations and my background is in project management in construction and in garden and landscape design. The craft furniture design then came out of our work in property.

Photo of Shared Passions: Esther Gerrard and Ed Coveney of Elements of Action

What are the skills you combine in Elements of Action?

Making, design and project management. We design the products together and then we prototype our designs. It’s essential to have good communication in a business. For us it just works.

Photo of Shared Passions: Esther Gerrard and Ed Coveney of Elements of Action

Are you always on the same wavelength with regards the business and if not how do you find common ground?

Sometimes we have the same ideas. There is a lot of discussion and debate about things. We soundboard our ideas and talk them through. We take stands on certain things. We are both strong-willed and have strong ideas on things but we work through things - that is the design process. It’s good for quality. Especially when your products are handmade.

Some of the projects which we haven’t initially agreed on have become our most successful projects - they’ve been discussed at greater length and the detail has become more detailed because we haven’t agreed. To say that we agree on everything is not a real world scenario.

We definitely have roles. But those roles can cross over. Having two opinions is better than one because everything is always critiqued.

Photo of Shared Passions: Esther Gerrard and Ed Coveney of Elements of Action

Does working together allow you to be more flexible in your working lives?

It definitely allows us to be more flexible and allows us to manage our time more easily. Your partner understands when you’ve a project or a deadline for a show such as Showcase - you are working together for the same goal. It takes time to build up a business and therefore you have to work well with the other person. Collaborating is also very important. It’s important to get together with a team of people who are also experts at their jobs - it helps to take the pressure off trying to do everything yourselves.

Photo of Shared Passions: Esther Gerrard and Ed Coveney of Elements of Action

Do you ever get any downtime or are you constantly thinking and talking about the business?

It’s difficult to cut off from our work as we enjoy it so much. It does dominate our lives but we don’t talk about it in front of our kids. We are self-employed so work doesn’t stop at 5pm or 6pm - it’s only natural that we discuss it. We did a renovation on a house in Dublin as a showcase for our work and we also live there - so it’s all combined in terms of work and life.

Photo of Shared Passions: Esther Gerrard and Ed Coveney of Elements of Action

Having worked for other entities was it a challenge working together initially?

It was a challenge going from the nine-to-five to being self-employed. Having said that, we are together since 2003 so we’ve had plenty of time at this stage to figure out a good working relationship!

Photo of Shared Passions: Esther Gerrard and Ed Coveney of Elements of Action

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