I first met Dominic at a dinner hosted by Bezalel Workshops last year (you can see some photos of the event here). I learned a little bit about his craft then but never really got a chance to see his products in person. I was very excited to be able to not only visit his studio but to actually sit down and hear about his heart behind noble, where his inspiration comes from, and how his faith plays a major role in what and how he creates.
Tell us a little about you.
My name is Dominic Noble Callaghan, I’m 25 years old. Originally from Surrey and now I live in Peckham with my wife Becky. At one point I wanted to be a chef, but otherwise I think I always saw myself being an artist and a craftsman.
How did you start your career?
I spent 3 years at Oxford Uni studying Fine Art at the Ruskin after finishing a Foundational Diploma. After my final degree show three years ago, I won the Platform Art Prize; allowing me to set up a studio in London. I continued to paint and make artwork, as well as receiving commissions for smaller woodwork projects (benches, tables, boxes…) Having worked with wood it seemed like a natural progression for me to try something with leather; so, having had the idea for what is now the Eve Clutch I had a go at making one and it was a success!
Which people in the creative industry have influenced you and how so?
Mansur Gavriel (massive influence- beautiful bags and stunning branding!) Makr, Eloisa.tv , thisispapermag , more recently I have been impressed by the products at Alfie Douglas and I find some of my biggest inspiration from the images in Somewhere Magazine.
Running towards your fears, I’ve learned, is the only way to find strength and confidence.
Who or what is one of your greatest inspirations and how did they impact you?
John Mark McMillan is a musician. He writes songs that I find to be both lyrically and musically refreshing, uplifting and creative. His songs are completely transparent and real. They talk of a God who is not afraid of getting his hands dirty. A God who is real, and understands the world we live in. They are songs you can dance to on your own (in the studio…) or listen to in silence. He inspires me to create because he never tries to be someone else, and as a result he writes original, unique songs that could never have been written by anyone else.
Is there anything that influences your work that’s not directly tied to its practice?
I find that all design is influenced by other design. I enjoy spotting the detailed decisions that people make in pursuit of aesthetic and functional design. Beauty seems to always have function. In some cases, the function takes a more important role. It seems naive to me to observe an object and only see the design and function without seeing the clear aesthetic decisions that have been made too.
What has been one of the best experiences of becoming a freelancer?
I get more time with my wife, which is awesome. It is great to be able to spend time with and get to know fellow freelancers at various stages of the journey too.
Where would you like to see Noble go?
I would love to expand my wholesale clientele and, in time, employ someone to help with making and administration. I look forward to the new year when I will have more time to explore potential stockists in other cities around the country, as well as invert the time into getting the brand out there.
What advice might you give to someone interested in pursuing a career like yours?
Decide what it is you want. Whether that’s a certain financial outcome or a business ideal that you wish to adhere to; it is invaluable to have purpose and direction for what you are doing… especially when you are working alone. Dig-deep and push through for the tasks and issues that are uncomfortable to face. It is easy to do the things we love and are good at. Ask for as much help as you need; people love to give it!
There needs to be a certainty to what you’re committing to before you start because that certainty will get you through the times where, inevitably, you will doubt what you’re doing. BE COURAGEOUS
Where do you find your inspiration?
I get a lot of inspiration from being able to see the horizon. Space helps me to think clearly and see beauty. Tied into that concept is light. I enjoy the way light interacts with daily objects, meaning that one thing can never be viewed the same way twice. On a slightly more mundane level, I find Instagram can be pretty inspiring too.
What is most important to you in life?
God, and my wife Becky, of course! I love to listen to new music and new worship to help keep me inspired. It’s important to me that friends are able to be completely be themselves around me.
I love pastries (croissants more specifically… Becky always says that I only like beige coloured food) and I am also a huge advocate of biscuits!
What does success look like for you?
I don’t think there’s one fixed idea of what success looks like. I think I would honestly feel that Noble is successful when I don’t have to explain what the brand is to a person but when they have already heard about it. I would love to be able to feel like I have driven the business well.
How does your faith play a role in what you do?
I wouldn’t be trying to run a business if I didn’t believe in a God who provides and cares for my situation. When I started, I was terrified by the idea of going into business; anxious that it would take over my life and I would burn-out. For the first year-or-so of making I felt like God was just telling me to take each step as it comes. It came to the stage when I had to commit to the concept of Noble as a brand and I felt God reminding me of Joshua in the bible; not simply suggesting that I ‘Be Courageous’ but commanding it. Even without God, entering the world of business requires faith. Running towards your fears, I’ve learned, is the only way to find strength and confidence.