Karl Swaine and coffee sacks | andthen.design

Karl Swaine and coffee sacks

by Greta Moon

If you've been following us for a while you might already know who this is, but if you don't - here's Karl! We met him at a very cool cafe called The Fumbally in Dublin to discuss potentially doing a collaboration over a year ago. As you can imagine we were going into a meeting with our tummies flipped and our legs shaking,  we (a company of two) were meeting a Co-Founder of Gym+Coffee, a new but very successful brand.... But Karl was so cool we quickly let all that go and fell back into ourselves. 'That's what all business meetings should feel like' we said as we walked out of there after our chat. Karl was (and still is of course) a very cool human. We thought he's definitely one we'd like to interview for these blog posts. If you haven't seen our collaboration with Gym+Coffee yet, you can do so here.  We made a small range of bags and recently also a washbag  out of recycled coffee sacks. 

Ok, let's go into our interview...


What are you wearing?

Gympluscoffee Uni Crew Black, jog pants and Birkenstocks.  (Duh! not sure what we expected here.. )


Who are you and what it is that you do?

Karl Swaine. Im a co-founder and head of product at gympluscoffee.

Would you say you have a coffee obsession? 

I wouldn't say obsession but if i don't have at least 3 a day, I'm not good to anyone! :)


To those who may have NOT heard of Gym + Coffee, could you describe what is it that you guys do.

We are an Irish Athleisure clothing brand. We launched in January 2017. To date we have 4 stores in Ireland and 39 amazing staff. 


How did Gym + Coffee come to being?

Gym+Coffee was born out of two main things. We were chatting about the growing lifestyle shift in Ireland. People just don’t want to hang out in pubs and bars as much and people are looking for active things to do at the weekends. Cafes are becoming the new places to meet and socialise. We all spent time in Australia and San Francisco where this lifestyle is a bit more prominent and we could see Ireland catching up with this. So we wanted to create a brand that encouraged this lifestyle. We also saw the big rise in athleisure clothing, people everywhere wearing hoodies and yoga pants. Again this is something you’d really notice in the US and Oz. We felt there was an opportunity here for an Irish brand, we thought this could be the way we could connect to an active audience.


What drives you?

I love when people tag us in their pictures wearing our gear in all different parts of the world making life richer.


What part of your current role with Gym + Coffee do you enjoy the most and what do you tend to leave to the very end of your to do list… ?

I look after the product development here at Gym+Coffee so everything from sourcing the fabric, designing the product and dealing with the factories. My favourite part of my job is coming up with new ideas for new product and seeing the products come from an idea all the way through to the final launch.

Im awful at replying to emails. I need to work on it :)


What is your favourite thing about Dublin?

I love Sunday strolls in the mountains followed by a beautiful brunch in one the many amazing cafes around.


If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?

Melbourne for sure. The coffee and the fashion are on another level. 


Spots or Stripes?

Spots (YEAH!!!!)


So that's that! A short but sweet interview with a little insight into Gym+Coffee. Just as we left Ireland (literally a few days before we packed up our studio) we made a batch of wash bags and posted them out to Gym+Coffee feeling somewhat nostalgic, thinking it might be the last time we work with them as we won't be based in Ireland anymore, however to our surprise Karl has decided not to turn his back on us and continue working on some further designs, so stay tuned peeps ;) And in the meanwhile if you have a gym buddy or a coffee fanatic in your life you haven't bought any gifts for - check out our Gym+Coffee wash bags amongst many other cool things on their website.


Much love and respect,

Greta & Zulfi