When did you set up your business and why?
The idea of the original wrist pocket had been with me for nearly 10 years before I started the business.
I spent my career travelling as a commercial pilot and needed somewhere safe to store my mobile, passport and small essential items without having to carry a handbag, especially for days off exploring.
I made a sketch on paper and a local dressmaker here in Dungarvan stitched together my design.
I had never planned on making a business out of my idea, but it wasn’t long before my new purse started drawing attention. If it made my life easier, I knew it would be a game changer for other women.
In 2018, I felt it was time for some new energy in my life, so I made the difficult decision to leave my flying job and concentrate fully on bringing the original wrist pocket to the market.
I embarked on a nine-month design course, sampling fabrics and finalising my design. In 2019, my product was ready to launch and I haven’t looked back.
Can you explain your process?
I went to huge efforts to source quality fabrics and zips. It’s extremely important that the fabric is durable but lightweight. You can even pop your wrist pocket in the washing machine to clean it up.
It’s important that there is longevity in the product from a sustainability factor.
The durability of the wrist pocket has been tested out on the Power farm in Ballymullala, Co Waterford, NDC and Kerrygold Quality Milk Awards winner.
It has been used by Moya Verling Power on her quad and for handsfree cow-milking!
Initially I had only planned to sell online, but I’m rolling with the business now and am proudly stocked in stores all over Ireland.
Our latest launch is in Wrights of Howth in Terminal 1, Dublin Airport, with imminent expansion into Terminal 2. It feels like I have come full circle from flying out of Dublin Airport to having my product stocked there!
What is your best seller?
Interestingly, since the pandemic, we have seen an increase in sales of our brighter coloured wrist pockets, from pinks with pops of red to greens and blues.
There’s an element of fun in all of our designs. Our collection is carefully curated, from muted tones to bolder colours.
Of course, the black wrist pockets are always a winner, but the machine washable element might make people feel more adventurous.
What is it about your business that brings you joy?
Having come from an aviation background working shift work, I am very much open minded into working outside of nine-to-five hours.
I’m far more creative in the evening times when my brain perks up. Having my own business allows me to tap into these work hours and also work around my three kids and their needs.
I love the hustle and bustle of trade fairs as much as I like being in the studio working on designs.
What are your hopes for 2022?
This year has seen our expansion into the Irish retail industry. It’s the first time we have focused away from our online platform and getting out into the shops with our product.
There is a great feel good factor about it. There’s nothing like shopping locally, going into your local gift shop to have a browse.
With the support of our Local Enterprise Office, we also have exciting trade plans into Europe later in the year and will be flying out to the Netherlands in November to get the ball rolling.
Now we are already preparing for the Christmas market. Come November, we will have a strategy in place for 2023, which will kick off with Showcase in the RDS in January.
What advice would you give to another start-up business?
Stick to what you’re good at! There are so many elements in keeping the business running successfully - find your weakness and outsource it. It could be anything from social media to book keeping.
Get out there and network! Coming from a busy working environment to self-employment can be a lonely journey. Joining your local chamber or doing a short course through your local enterprise office is a great way to meet fellow entrepreneurs. There are always great tips and learning to be shared.
Ultimately, stay focused on the vision you have for your business, staying true to yourself and your principles on your journey.