Ensuring stock levels to meet the demand can be tricky, as covid restrictions and Brexit still impact on production and shipping worldwide. Of course, the covid pandemic and ensuing forced closures was the biggest challenge the business has ever faced. Jelly Fish Surf Shop has embraced and adapted to all these challenges, especially in recent years, increasing opening hours to trading 7 days a week and developing an e-commerce site aptly named, www.jellyfishsurfshop.com. The website meant that the business could offer a 24/7 shopping experience to a national customer base.
In addition to this, growing a social media presence keeps customers up to date with all things new in store and in the wider community. Nollaig says that the business’ best attribute is the Jellyfish Team.
Nollaig is developing and increasing the Jellyfish Surf Shop own brand products, already the range includes towelling robes, all weather changing robes, buff neckwear and Jellyfish Surf Shop clothing, t-shirts and hoodies. Nollaig and her team also plan for the business to become more sustainable, with measures being introduced to incorporate recycled and recyclable materials in their packaging and own brand products.
Nollaig said: “Network Ireland West Cork have been a huge support to me personally, the encouragement and opportunities cannot be underestimated. The organisation is a massive resource, and the immediate feedback, advice, recommendations and general positiveness is always appreciated.
“Winning the Established Business category for the West Cork Branch has been an amazing experience. The standard of women in business in West Cork is very high and amongst them some great role models.
“The response from customers, friends and family of the award win has been incredible with people going out of their way to congratulate me through all forms of communication. It has elevated my business to a new level and the public awareness of what Jellyfish Surf Shop is about has increased and improved because of this award. I am very proud, if a little overwhelmed to represent West Cork at the National awards in October but also very excited to showcase my business and the West Cork Branch on a National level.”
Foxglove Cocktail Company was started in June 2020, after siblings, Tara and Rory Copplestone moved back home to Baltimore, Co Cork at the start of the pandemic. As one of Ireland’s first producers of non-alcoholic craft cocktail mixers and garnishes, Foxglove Cocktails are setting the bar for entertaining at home.
Tara had been living in New York, working in bars in Manhattan for the past six years and found Covid as a way for her to negotiate a move back to Ireland.
Younger brother, Rory was in his final year of Shannon College of Hotel Management, when the pandemic hit. With final exams and projects to complete, he decided too a move home was the best plan for him. After graduating, with prolonged forced closures on the hospitality sector, Rory couldn’t focus his attention on job seeking, so instead went into business with his sister.
It was during the first lockdown, that the siblings got together and made cocktails in their spare time, which back then they had plenty of. Although neither had experience of running a business, Tara had all the skills and knowledge from her years working in bars and Rory was fresh out of Hotel Management college and they make a great team. While they were mixing different flavours, and creating unique cocktail recipes, they decided to sell these mixes at local markets. They soon realised, while the pubs were closed, people missed enjoying cocktails and they wanted to make their own cocktails at home but needed ideas and guidance with flavours. That’s when Tara and Rory knew they were onto a good thing.
Foxglove Cocktails was born on the premise of a ‘More Fun, Less Fuss’ attitude towards cocktails, and gives people the imagination and creativity to create their own cocktails at home. Foxglove creates non-alcoholic craft cocktail mixers, that are 100% real, natural ingredients, and their mixers can be used to create alcoholic cocktails, or alternatively, can be enjoyed alcohol-free. They launched their business in Skibbereen Farmers Market in June 2020, and they have not looked back. The business has gone from strength to strength, and now they are in farmers markets across Cork county. They also supply 8 Neighbourfood markets in Cork and Kerry, and they have their own Click-and-Collect and delivery service, every Friday in Cork City, as well as having their products stocked in various stores.
Network Ireland West Cork has been a great support to Foxglove and has opened many doors and connections for their business. Tara first heard of the network in September 2020, when she was invited to host a virtual cocktail event, ahead of the 2020 Businesswoman of the year awards. Tara says she was blown away by the support and encouragement she saw amongst the members that evening and decided to join the network herself. Fast forward one year and Foxglove was nominated in the 2021 Network Ireland West Cork awards, in the Emerging New Business category.
Siblings Tara and Rory are also in talks with Musgraves to stock their cocktails in SuperValu’s nationwide through the SuperValu Food Academy programme. They plan to open a pop-up shop in Cork City for Christmas 2021, and expand their product line for Christmas season, as Foxglove mixers are not only great for entertaining, but also as a gift for others. Further afield, Foxglove would love to showcase their cocktails at events, such as festivals and weddings.
Tara says: “We have no clue what it’s like to have a business outside of Covid, so we look forward to the country opening up and seeing what opportunities lay ahead of us in the future.”
The Power Within Category gives women an opportunity to share their stories of how they overcame difficulties in their lives and discovered their own power for great impact.
Yvonne, mother to two young boys, shared her story of how she advocated for medical cannabis treatment for her son Tristan in 2015 and was deemed ‘the pathfinder’ in accessing medical cannabis for patients in Ireland. Creating history by gaining the first license for medical cannabis in Ireland in 2016 which opened the doors for other patients in Ireland.
Yvonne went on to advocate for safe and wider access to medical cannabis for patients in Ireland and was invited by the Health Department to make recommendations to the health committee for the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP). She continues her advocacy work today.
While continuing her advocacy work, Yvonne returned to college to study law, taking a deferral after completing year one to run in the local elections. ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ says Yvonne, “and I didn’t see anybody that represented what I stood for. Patients, parents, carers, disability, medical cannabis, WOMEN!! I wanted to represent a voice that few spoke for & fewer delivered for.” Although unsuccessful on that occasion, Yvonne stayed involved in politics and was elected into the role of constituency secretary for Cork South West Fine Gael.
‘It was very important for me to represent women at board level. At present there is a huge gender imbalance,' according to data, compiled by search company Accreate, found women represented only 20% of board directors, down from 21% in 2019.
An avid volunteer, Yvonne is an emergency first responder for the Irish Red Cross and was also promoted to IRC Community Support Officer for the Dunmanway and surrounding areas when the pandemic hit.
Network Ireland has been a hugely valuable source of support for Yvonne.
“Winning this award, to be acknowledged, validated & my achievements recognised by these strong, accomplished women that I’m surrounded by means the world to me.”
Jacinta Collins STEM Award finalist The STEM award finalist is Jacinta Collins, Argideen Communications, who has been championing science for 25 years using her communications training to help scientists and science-led companies bring their research and innovation to life.