Another week has flown and it’s time for my weekly Sunday #smallbusiness interview. Happy Easter to all my readers!! It’s Easter Break here, and we are enjoying some downtime. We visited the Galway Food Festival yesterday, boy, it was wet and windy! Go check out the videos on my Facebookpage I took, using this new gadget I found called Periscope.
I have started to interview small businesss in the West of Ireland, and have the pleasure to interview Jade Goodfellow from http://www.ziplines.ie
Please share the love and share this interview with your friends and family, as that’s the way these small businesses will get that little bit more of exposure and will help them grow!
If you are a small business( or know a small business) in the West of Ireland and would like to get featured, please drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be in touch with next steps.
Tell us a bit about yourself & where you are located in the West of Ireland.
I am a mum of 3, 2 boys and a girl aged 16 months, 4 years and 10 years. My background is in fashion & costume having worked in film & TV for the past 8 years. I love adventure, spending time with my children and travelling. I live and work in Athenry, Co Galway.
Can you provide me with a description of your business?
My business, Zip-Lines Ireland is an online shop selling Kids adventure products for the home and garden, we specialize in domestic zip-line kits (with everything you need in the DIY box) but also sell Balance Toys and Carts. I am currently crowdfunding on kickstarter (You can help here! http://kck.st/1QE86IE) so I can produce my own brand of Zip-Line that will save on costs and create jobs.
Zip-Lines Ireland will be in business 2 years in April, we will be celebrating this with the launch of our very own brand! I have had 2 other businesses in the past so have brought valuable knowledge over from the experience of those. I also work on my husbands business BinStrap which has given me great insight into the areas of manufacturing, import and export among others.
How did you get started in this business?
In April of 2014 I was online looking for inspiration of things to do in my garden with our children and came across garden zip-lines, I thought this was a fantastic idea so set about trying to find one. When I couldn’t find anything it dawned on me that somebody should be doing this! So I contacted a supplier, did some calculations and went for it!
Is this your full time job, a hobby or a bit of both?
It’s a full time job, but I also have mummy duties to attend to and a house to maintain 🙂 I still work periodically in film and TV when a project comes up that I feel really passionate about and I’m in my 3rd year of a BA in business. I’m super busy ALL the time but I make time for the things that matter.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
As a parent selling to other parents, I feel that I can relate to my target market very well, I’m aware of their needs and wants and I know that my products address these needs. My previous businesses and working on my husbands business have given me a huge amount of knowledge on the workings of many different areas of business from services to retail and manufacturing. I am still learning and building my skills to improve myself and my business. I believe that no one person can learn or fully understand every aspect of business so I have surrounded myself with some very knowledgeable people, some of whom are friends, family or mentors and other professionals that I have met through networking groups like Irish Biz Group on facebook.
How do the social, economic, environmental, technological, legal and political environments impact your business?
At present in my business the social affects are positive as the products promote health and well being, encourage outdoor play and physical activity. The economic side of things can be challenging as people don’t have as much disposable income due to the downturn or are skeptical about spending money on things they feel are not necessities. Environmental is positive, our products don’t impact negatively on the environment as they don’t use energy and encourage children to turn off the TV & electronic devices to go outside.
Legal –we need to be sure that our product are safe to use and are compliant with EU Regulations, there is risk involved in selling products of this nature so we are very tight on quality assurance.
Do you know who your competitors are?
I have little competition in Ireland right now, there are two other businesses that sell domestic zip-line kits, but none that specialize in this area or with the quality/ weight allowance/ style/ variety that our zip-line kits have.
How do you market your business?
I market my business through social media, in parenting blogs, in print media and through PR.
How are people aware of your business?
I try to keep engaged with my customers through the business Facebook and Twitter pages and have frequent PR pieces published.
Where can people find you?
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
This year will see Zip-Lines Ireland launch our own brand of zip-line kits. In the next 3 years my primary focus will be to market and export these zip-lines and add some new products to the range. In the next 5 years I hope to have a physical store (with a difference) where people can view AND try all of our products.
Do you plan to compete in the global market place? If yes, how? If no, why not?
Yes, I believe that there is a huge worldwide market for zip-lines particularly in Europe where there are few manufacturers of domestic zip-lines and the products that are currently available are not very affordable, the ones that are affordable are of poor quality or cannot hold weights over 11 stone (ours hold over 17 stone).
How has technology, such as computers and the internet, impacted on how you conduct business?
Technology has always been a part of my business and I’m delighted that I can do most of my business from the comfort of my own home, this gives me the dual benefits of working for myself and being around to do the school runs and be here for my children.
What do you love about the area you live in/do business in?
The area I live in is very community oriented and my children go to school a kilometer away so it’s really lovely to be so close to people who relate to the businesses core values, Although our products can be used in any gardens it’s helpful to have a garden with more space and trees are a huge asset, there are plenty of these around our area so my target market is literally on my doorstep meaning I can get valuable feedback from the people who matter.
Whom do you seek advice from for your business/ do you meet up with other business owners? If so, where?
I attended a Lean Launch Programme run by the LEO with Declan Droney (founder of Kinvara Salmon) This sees a group of entrepreneurs start their businesses using lean methods – I found this to be an amazing experience, both in helping me create a vision for my business and communicating with like-minded people that are in a similar place with their businesses. Declan has been a huge support and motivating factor in my business!
I am a part of a really great business networking group on Facebook the ‘Irish Biz Group’ which is a fantastic resource for all businesses – there are people in the group from all areas in business who are more than happy to provide their knowledge and support, it’s also a great place to get business products and services that are known and respected.
Can you describe your customers?
My customers are parents/ child care practitioners of 3-14 year old’s with disposable income and the desire to get their children outdoors and active. My other group of customers are men and women 15-29 with a love of balance related sports (surfers/ yoga enthusiasts)
Why do your customers select you over your competitors?
My products are better quality, more stylist and can take larger loads, they are competitively priced and I’m big on customer service!
What are the biggest challenges for running this business?
The biggest challenges involve getting the business well known,and keeping the market largely to myself. There will come a time when someone else tries to take the market but I’m aware of this and will strive to make sure I have the best product on the market by continuing to develop and grown the products and brand.
What keeps you going, when the chips are down?
My support network, I have fantastic family and friends who believe in me and give me a positive boost when I need it, particularly the women in my life, they themselves are hard working, inspirational ladies who are always there when I need them. It works both ways though, I wouldn’t expect anyone to do anything for me that I wouldn’t do for them I believe in always helping others fulfill their potential and lifting people up.
Do you support local charities? If so which is your favourite charity and why?
I support many charities, mostly children, family and homeless services as I feel that society needs to protect their most vulnerable, it’s important that we provide for our children and those less fortunate, to create hope and opportunities and fairness for all regardless of circumstance.
Any special things planned for 2016?
2016 will see the launch of my own brand of Zip-Line (lots of work to be done on branding, packaging etc) and our 2nd birthday which I intend to celebrate with a launch picnic.
Any tips for someone who is thinking of starting their own business?
Do some research, make sure you have support (its 10 times harder without this), get as much help from your LEO or whatever resources are there for you to take advantage of (I highly recommend the ‘Lean Launch Programme’) . Learn your market and, when you know you have a viable product/ service that you are passionate about and willing to give your all to — go for it! And good luck 🙂
What did you u learn from this interview?
That I’ve come a long way and have amazing people in my life 🙂 But I also have lots to do! Thank you for the interview, I enjoyed it!
Let’s get connected! Find me on Twitter : @ecotreasure, Facebook: www.facebook.com/workinglivingtravellinginireland
Have a great evening all!