Being hailed as the new alternative to the Claddagh ring, the Póg necklace is asking us to wear love, to send love, to show love.

The Póg necklace is one of the many great pieces from Sligo born Melissa Curry, whose range is simply about bringing positivity into our lives.

Melissa has a small studio in Donnybrook, making beautiful jewellery, that tell stories. We love it already!

Most of us who paid attention in Irish class will know that Póg is the Irish for kiss. Not only are these pieces gorgeous, but Melissa has aimed her business specifically at a “more conscious consumer”. That meant establishing sustainable practices across her entire supply chain, using biodegradable packaging and eliminating waste. Maith thú!

These gorgeous necklaces were selling out fast on Aer Lingus flights as an alternative to the Claddagh ring, but as the pandemic arrived, Melissa had to quickly re-think her position.

We caught up with her to find out a little more about the Póg range and how she has dealt with the business over the last few months.

What gave you the inspiration to start the Póg range?

I had just returned to Ireland after 15 years living and working as a designer in Paris and I felt a little lost. Feeling disconnected from my roots and my former world, I was stuck in-between lives. It was a solitary time. My son who was 3 yrs old was going through medical challenges also at the time. His little kiss was always reassuring, at the end of the day or first thing in the morning.

The symbol X (kiss) a familiar letter that we use to sign off our communication, be it digital or written, amused me. I thought it was a symbol used worldwide and cross-generational, but I discovered that this was not the case. The X is used very much in Anglo speaking countries, but it didn’t go beyond, which was a little disappointing.

And so, the idea was to merge the sentiment of a kiss in Irish,(PÓG) and the little X together. I loved the idea of sending Irish Kisses to people all over the world. I felt there was a need for something new in Ireland to represent the more progressive country that we were becoming,.

Anne Kernan a designer and technical whizz who had worked for Links of London (also Irish) helped me develop the concept and the full collection was delivered in early 2019.

Why now and has the Coronavirus pandemic affected your business?

I launched the PÓG bracelet just before the pandemic on board Aer lingus, to get a feel for my customer. It’s message was to promote the Irish Connection – a Kiss from Home.

After a month in lockdown I felt it was time to re-think our message and support people who were feeling alone and those who were missing their loved ones. People have been very receptive to it, which is amazing.

What was the main challenge for you during this time?

My stock was the main issue, it was stuck on aircrafts and in airports which were all closed. Our agent was brilliant as she helped us retract some of the stock at the end of May, so we have Pógs travelling all around the world ever since!

During the pandemic, I had also lost my team which was really difficult, but we have been blessed with support from people who have cheered us on and help us back up on our feet!

Who is your main customer right now?

Póg is a kiss so its attracts a variety of age groups. Women remain the main target, but men have been a very busy consumer too. Its easy, meaningful and a keepsake. We have signet rings with spinning kisses and cuff links too. So I think there is something for everyone to enjoy and gift.

Send A PÓG/Kiss To someone you miss and raise money for Jigsaw – A message from Melissa Curry

Jigsaw, The National Centre for Youth Mental Health, has seen a 400% increase in demand for its online services and supports since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis in March. They have also had more than 4,000 teachers across the country sign up to its mental health e-learning programme during the outbreak.

This pandemic has left so many of us without the core things we need for our mental well-being. A hug, a conversation, a walk in the park, a friend. Jigsaw are working hard to ensure there is support for our young people, our families and our communities during these dark times.

100% of the profits of each PÓG bracelet sold will be donated to Jigsaw, which goes directly to them at this time of need. So buy a PÓG and send love to those who need it most and send a kiss to those you miss. We all miss our friends and loved ones, but we can be there with a PÓG even if we can’t be there in person.

Whether it’s someone in your house that needs some extra love and support, a friend abroad that couldn’t make it home, or family that you’re missing, everyone appreciates a kiss from home. and we all need to feel love and reassurance at this time.

Póg is for all. Everyone needs love and Póg is love. Wear love, send love, show love and someday soon, we’ll all be back together celebrating love.

Instagram : @pogthekiss

Find out more at Póg from Melissa Curry