WHILE the majority of children have to make do with make-believe sweet shops one little girl has managed to make her business a reality.
At just seven years old, Libby Marah, who attends St Joseph’s National School in Glanmire, is already a fully fledged entrepreneur. Her mobile shop Libby’s Little Wee Red Sweet Shop has travelled the length and breadth of Cork, proving quite the draw for locals and tourists alike.
Libby travels with her family, including big sister Jensen, as part of her mother’s business – Sharon Piper’s Merry Go Round Events. The family are regulars at everything from festivals to local charity events selling candy floss and providing carousel and teacup rides.
Mum Sharon noticed Libby’s talent for dealing with customers from a young age. It was this observation that led them to come up with a spin-off business for Libby, selling everything from bags of jellies to twirly lollipops. The family joke that they are like a band on tour, with everyone playing their small part. Libby’s dad Conor, a truck driver, also helps out when he’s not working.
Seeing her daughter so content in the sweetshop always fills Sharon with pride.
“She reminds me of myself when I was a little girl helping my mum serve candy floss at Piper’s Funfair in Crosshaven,” Sharon said. “This is a great childhood to have because you’re travelling around and meeting different people.
“It’s every child’s dream to have the opportunity to travel around to funfairs and festivals.
“Libby is outgoing. People get a real kick out of seeing her working in the shop. She is always smiling and in great form. She also adores her older sister. It definitely makes you more outgoing. Communication becomes second nature. In my family we’ve been working since we were born.”
Despite her entrepreneurial flair, Libby is no different from any other little girl.
“Libby never played shop when she was smaller. Her kitchen was her favourite toy. When she tells the other children at school that she has her own sweetshop they probably don’t believe her,” Sharon laughed.
Libby’s sweet shop wasn’t part of their original plan.
“Initially, we had bought it for crepes, but now everyone comes to see Libby in her ‘little wee red sweet shop’,” Sharon said.
There’s still things she needs a lot of help with such as giving out change but we are all here to help each other.
“For Mother’s Day she made me a candy floss out of paper. I laughed because candyfloss is all I see at work so it’s the last thing I like to see at home but it was very thoughtful.”
Libby hopes her hard work will eventually pay off.
“She is hoping that she will be able to go see Mickey Mouse with her sweet shop money. She’s been to Disneyland before and is dying to go back.”