Brown Thomas brings Soda tech brand to Grafton Street
Among the products on offer are an indoor smart herb garden and a levitating planter
Soda founder Grace Gould at Brown Thomas on Grafton Street. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
A new lifestyle technology brand has opened its doors in Dublin, promising to bring a fresh take on tech to the capital.
Established in 2016 by Grace Gould, the School of the Digital Age – Soda for short – is opening in Brown Thomas. The company aims to bridge the gap between what Ms Gould calls brand “churches”, such as the Apple Store, and big-box retailers.
“I’m not a particularly fashionable person, but I like shopping and I like a lovely lifestyle experience when I shop,” she said. “I started to think what would a new type of consumer electronics store look like? That was the origins of Soda.”
The shop launched online in 2017, followed by a physical store shortly afterwards.
“Traditionally technology has been very gadget focused, focusing on the specifications, the tech specs,” she explained. “What we do is focus on the lifestyle, the use case, how it impacts your life. That’s the fundamental difference.”
Among the products on sale are an indoor smart herb garden, a levitating planter and hand-woven headphones. The store will have two staff, and the products it carries will be changed regularly to accommodate consumer trends.
The products include Soda’s own guides , a one-page A5 sheet explaining how to set the product up, an idea that was conceived in part because Ms Gould acknowledges that no one ever reads the manuals.
“Tech shouldn’t be this intimidating space that is only for the person who is good at that type of thing; it should be for everyone,” said Ms Gould.
Soda previously featured as a pop-up store in the Marvel Room in Brown Thomas*.
Although it has sometimes been billed as a tech shop for women, Ms Gould says that is not the case – about 40 per cent of customers are men. “We’re a female-led business,” she said.
The company currently employs eight people. Among Soda’s backers are Irishman Liam Casey of PCH, a former employer of Ms Gould.
She attributes the company’s success in part to its caution in the early days, a strategy that led to it breaking even in December last year.
* This article was amended on July 24th to correct the name of the room.