When did you set up your business and why?

I set up Rudaí Olla when my son was about six months old. We had struggled to get pregnant and started to attend a fertility clinic. We felt so lucky that after a few weeks of medication I found out I was pregnant, but unfortunately I had a missed miscarriage, which led to a D&C.

A year later I decided to leave my job, as it was putting a massive strain on me mentally and a month later, I found out I was pregnant again with my rainbow baby.

The anxiety I had during that pregnancy was indescribable. My mom knew crafting would keep my mind busy, so she found some crafts online and suggested that I give them a go.

Of course, the first thing I had to make was a rainbow for my rainbow baby, which took me two months, but it helped me so much.

He decided to show up five weeks early and was in NICU for nine days. When we got home, my husband had to go back to work pretty much straight away.

He worked long late hours, I lived in the countryside with no friends or family close by and it was January, so long dark days and sleep deprivation with a newborn, combined with the two tough years beforehand, meant that I ended up getting postnatal depression.

I ignored it and kept everything to myself for about five months. I went in to my GP’s office for nothing at all related, she asked how I was doing in such a sincere way and I just broke down.

To be honest, even just saying it to someone lifted such a weight off my shoulders; for her to tell me that I wasn’t a bad mom, that it’s something that can be treated and I could get help.

Sarah Niland set up Rudaí Olla after having her son.

She gave me the number for a counsellor who was amazing and she was the one who suggested I open up a small business.

I had told her that crafting helped my mind and she said why not sell them? It was something I had always wanted to do, but never saw it being possible.

She said what’s the worst that can happen? You fail, then at least you can say you tried. So that’s what I did.

I started making rainbows just like the one I made when I was pregnant and called it Rudaí Olla, which means woollen things as Gaeilge, because my rainbows are woollen.

Can you explain your process?

I try my very best to be as eco-conscious as possible. My small business is for my babies, so why not make this world as perfect for them as I can?

I started out making rainbow wall hangings, which are now made with 100% cotton and salvaged wire. The colour combinations I use can come from anywhere: a sunrise, my kids’ favourite colours, the front cover of a magazine, it’s my favourite part of what I do. There are so many colours and they can all work together if you want them to.

I have recently released a collection of cards and prints. I try to make them as fun and happy as possible, with quotes like 'Tá tú álainn or 'you are as perfect as a chicken fillet roll'. I have always loved drawing and adore seeing things that make me smile.

Sarah Niland has recently released a collection of cards and prints.

Life can be very hard, so I thought what if my cards can make one person smile or someone hangs up one of my prints in their room and it makes them smile every morning? Smiling is the most infectious thing.

What is your best seller?

Definitely my 'You are as wonderful as a dress with pockets' card; so much so it’s also now available on a tote and print.

Anyone who wears dresses knows the excitement when you reach down and realise there are pockets!

You don’t have to ask someone to carry your stuff and then have to chase them around for the day asking for things.

I remember one of my best friends got married and the main topic of conversation on the day was that her beautiful wedding dress had pockets!

What are your hopes for 2023?

I would love to attend more markets. I have always loved going to markets - food market, craft market, it doesn’t matter.

Meeting the people who make or grew the thing you’re buying and seeing their excitement for each sale; I just love it.

I went to a few last year with Rudaí Olla and being on the other side of the table and seeing people’s reactions to things I’ve made is just magical.

So many times they’ll ask if I’ve made anything on the stall and when I say I’ve actually made it all, they get so excited and it makes me so proud.

What advice would you give to another start-up?

Go for it! What’s the worst that can happen, you fail? At least you can say you tried!

As for the craft, try to make something that you love and are passionate about. If and when your business starts to thrive, you will be putting in a lot of hours, so you need to love what you’re doing.

For further information, visit www.rudaiolla.ie.

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