To highlight the rampant cost-of-living crisis in Ireland, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVP), Ireland’s largest charity, and In the Company of Huskies have launched Essentielle, a new high-end boutique unlike any other.
Essentielle is flipping the narrative on what ‘luxury’ really means because, in Ireland, one of Europe’s richest countries, even the most basic, everyday items have become unaffordable luxuries for so many people.
Set in the elegant Powerscourt Townhouse shopping mall, this luxury pop-up is a response to the shocking statistic that one in five people are now living below the poverty line. Nestled among some of Ireland’s most exclusive stores the shop fits comfortably amidst its sophisticated retail counterparts.
Only after closer inspection do we realise that something is amiss. Instead of designer handbags or Italian leather shoes adorning marble table tops and glass displays, it’s nappies, briquettes and hygiene products. The store visually reflects the rising demand for basic essentials that have become a luxury for many people in Ireland.
All the items on display in the Essentielle Boutique are accompanied by the real words taken directly from the distressing requests SVP receives daily. Such as the parent hoping to get children’s gloves “I’m finding that their little hands are getting so cold on the walk to school. And the weather is just going to keep getting worse. Their winter wear is too small for them, but after all my bills are paid, I’ve nothing left to get more.”
Calls to SVP are at the highest level in its history with an average 100 requests for help every hour. With basic supermarket items rising in cost by 20-30% in some instances and energy prices soaring 40% over the last year, thousands of people have found themselves unable to afford the essentials. As the countdown begins for the biggest spending spree of the year, Essentielle Boutique aims to demonstrate the harsh realities faced by many families and generate urgent donations for those struggling the most.
According to Daniel Alvey, National Fundraising Manager, SVP: “Our helpline rings every hour with a variety of requests for help – those with bare cupboards who can’t afford to feed their families to those struggling with heating their homes. Surging prices mean Irish households face the biggest squeeze on living standards for over a decade, so we know we face a very challenging winter this year with more requests for help. With this campaign, we wanted to provide a stark reminder of the impossible choices facing people and remind donors that they can help.”
Damian Hanley, Creative Director, In the Company of Huskies said ‘Essentielle Boutique puts poverty on display and shows the daily struggle for many families. We designed the store so it looks exactly like a Christmas luxury pop-up store and this uncomfortable juxtaposition of luxury and poverty, exposes the harsh reality of people’s struggles for basic items in Ireland.’
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Client: St. Vincent de Paul
SVP National President, Rose McGowan
SVP National Fundraising Manager, Daniel Alvey
SVP Donor Development Officer, Elizabeth Caramante
SVP East Regional President, Marie Cronin
Agency: In the Company of Huskies
Creative Director, Damian Hanley
Senior Art Director, Laura Rice
Senior Copywriter, Aoife McCleary
Business Director, Jane Adams
Account Manager, Anna Hickey
Senior Producer, Lisa Turnbull
Senior Designer, Mark Corry
Head of Planning, Niamh Murphy
Technical Director, Niki Meredith
Marketing, Jane Fortune
Videographer, Daragh O’Neill
Set Designer, Aine Lynn-McEvoy
Prop master, Darren McEvoy
PR , Walsh PR