New Year, new start to interviewing small business in the West of Ireland. It started with a new year’s resolution in 2015, and I think I’ll just continue running with it as I am really enjoying it. My last interview in 2016 was with Rose Barrett from Foliodigital in Athenry and today I am delighted to share the very interesting story of Chrysalis Holistic health and arts by Cindy Lund, based in Ardrahan, Co. Galway. I briefly met Cindy at the Labane family day, and as soon as we got talking, I wanted to learn more about her journey! Enjoy! Interested to read the interviews from 2016? Check out my first post of 2017 🙂
So how does this interview work, and how can you get interviewed?
I have learned that people aren’t responding to email anymore, and have gotten most of my completed questionnaires via Facebook or Twitter. The interview exists out of a number of questions that are stored in the cloud via Google docs. I then send a link , the interviewee clicks on the link, enters the answers to the questions and the beauty is there is no need to send documents over email. I love it! I then review the questions, ask for clarifications if needed, and then publish. So if you are up for a close-up 🙂 of your business/startup in the West of Ireland, please drop me an email here or connect me with on my Workinglivingtravellinginireland Facebook Page or Twitter. I do read my email! And remember, the more you put in, the more you get out of it. Please share this interview, as I’d like to start a small movement to highlight the brilliant businesses in the West of Ireland!
Tell us a bit about yourself & where you are located in the West of Ireland.
My name is Cindy Lund. I am an artist and homeopath, originally from Rosscarbery in West Cork and have come to Galway via London, Dublin, Bantry and Italy respectively! My family and I moved here in 2009 after spending two years in the south of Italy and despite the obvious shock of the weather (which I will always struggle with!) we have settled in beautifully and consider it home. The road to my current occupation has been full of twists and turns and was not what I had envisaged as a fresh-faced 17-year-old leaving school with all the points to study zoology in Trinity college. This had been my dream for many years, having always loved the world of nature. I knew the names of almost all the plants, birds and animals in our area, thanks to an inspiring teacher called Sister Joseph who used to take us on regular nature walks in Primary School. My love of nature was equaled by a love of books and art. As a child I was either reading or painting – I would copy pictures of birds from one of my many bird books. I guess I was a bit of a nerd really! Art was never considered a valid career option (the ones suggested by my careers guidance teacher were: secretary, nurse, teacher or occupational therapist as far as I can remember). During a gap year in which I spent a term in art college in London,I realized that my heart lay in a more creative environment than what I saw as the somewhat clinical laboratory. Much to my parents’ credit and perhaps due to having had a large proportion of family members in similarly precarious careers like acting, they supported my decision to study art. It was actually at the tender age of 26 that I finally obtained my degree (in ceramics, at NCAD) having taken yet another detour via Trinity college for a year (not science this time but Ancient history/ Archaeology and English). What can I say – so many interesting things to learn and so little time….! After college I worked in Dublin for 7 years as a decorative artist and muralist which I thoroughly enjoyed. I even did some work in Padraig Harrington’s (famous golfer just in case you weren’t familiar) swing room at his home and in Michael O’ Leary’s (Ryanair’s CEO) private swimming pool. I met my husband while painting murals in an Irish pub in Tuscany and we moved back to West Cork and started a family. During this time I began painting for myself and exhibited in the Mill Cove Gallery in Castletownbere. It was also at this time that my interest in homeopathy was rekindled, when I was looking for safe and effective treatment for myself and my children. I trained at the Irish School of Homeopathy and graduated in 2014.
Can you provide me with a description of your business?
My goal is to improve people’s health and well-being through holistic healing practices such as homeopathy and through encouraging creativity. I have a premises in Ardrahan with a large studio where I run art classes and workshops and a therapy room where I see my homeopathy clients.
How long have you been in business?
I have worked as an artist and art teacher for 25 years and as a homeopath for 2 years. Last year I and another homeopath set up Chrysalis Holistic Health and Arts.
In this business? Two years
In other businesses? 25 years as an artist
How did you get started in this business?
I was first introduced to homeopathy when it cured a terrible bout of hay fever as a teenager. Throughout my life, I had often used either homeopathy or Chinese medicine for health issues and when my children were small I started learning more about homeopathy in order to help them and my husband with minor issues. I found it incredibly effective and one day, as I sat working out a remedy for my husband who was laid up with the flu, he suggested that I think about studying it. I had been looking for a career change and had also considered studying psychotherapy, art therapy or acupuncture. Suddenly it all clicked into place. I applied to the Irish school of Homeopathy and spent the next four years studying to become a professional homeopath. It was exactly what I was looking for, combining almost all the things I was interested in – science, art, healing and psychology among other things! What I love about it is that it combines my analytical skills and my intuitive skills, left brain and right brain.
Is this your full-time job, a hobby or a bit of both?
At the moment I work part-time as my kids are still at school and I like to be at home when they get back from school. The more independent they get the more I intend to spend at work. It is not just work, or a hobby, it is who I am and I am passionate about it.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
I have always been self-employed and have learned the hard way about running my own business. It’s tough – you have to do the marketing, the advertising, the admin, the accounting as well as the work itself.
How do the social, economic, environmental, technological, legal and political environments impact your business?
The prevailing values in society are somewhat antithetical to what I do I often feel. People don’t value creativity as much as they should. Everyone is rushing around at a frantic pace trying to make money, buy a house, be successful. Most women I know are constantly doing ten things at once. We have forgotten to listen to what we really need. We have forgotten to listen to our bodies, seeing them as unreliable and often faulty machines which get a quick fix when they don’t let us continue rushing around. Luckily there are lots of people who come to realize that being creative and using alternative medicine are two things that can have a massive impact on their health and wellbeing.
Do you know who your competitors are?
There are many artist and homeopaths in this area. This is good in many ways because it has created an awareness and appreciation amongst the general public of these things. I would rather call them colleagues than competitors! We all have the same goal at the end of the day.
How do you market your business?
Most of my homeopathy clients come as recommendations from other clients. It is quite difficult to market this type of business. People like to have a recommendation, or to know you in some way. It is similar with the art classes but I do put up posters and have a separate facebook page for that.
How are people aware of your business?
Word of mouth seems to be the most effective at the moment. I enjoy writing and try to put regular informative posts on my facebook page and on the website.
Where can people find you?
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
When my son goes to secondary school in September 2017 I will have more time to devote to work. I hope my homeopathy practice will have grown. I am considering opening another clinic in another area of Galway maybe one day a week. I would love to develop more workshops and classes in the area of art and health as I feel it is a much undervalued healing practice.
Do you plan to compete in the global market place? If yes, how? If no, why not?
I do treat people homeopathically over the phone both nationally and internationally. I also do something called Akashic readings which can also be done over the phone. These are intuitive readings which can tap into valuable information about the patterns in your life which may be negatively affecting you in various areas such as relationships, health, work etc. They come from a type of energetic ‘database’ which has a record of all your experiences from both this life and past lives. I have found them very useful myself when I am having difficulties and can’t figure out what is going on or how to deal with it!
How has technology, such as computers and the internet, impacted on how you conduct business?
In some ways it has been beneficial in getting the word out about what I do. I still find however that both with the homeopathy and art classes/workshops it is largely word of mouth and recommendations that bring clients.
What do you love about the area you live in/do business in?
As soon as I moved to the south Galway area I felt at home. It is a very creative area and full of homeopaths because there used to be a school here. I have met many like-minded people and find an openness here which is lovely.
Whom do you seek advice from for your business/ do you meet up with other business owners? If so, where?
I meet with other homeopaths and alternative practitioners on a regular basis and we often support each other with ideas and encouragement.
Can you describe your customers?
A varied mix of ages from babies to the elderly come for homeopathy. Some are new to it, some have used it for many years. They are all looking for solutions to health problems in a new way which is perhaps safer than conventional medication. Some have chronic conditions either physical and mental for which there is no ‘cure’ in conventional medicine or where the side effects of medication are too severe.
My art classes attract women mostly who are looking to connect with their creativity often after many years of putting it on the back burner. I also give guidance and instruction to teenagers, often helping them with either junior or leaving cert exams.
Why do your customers select you over your competitors?
Like my colleagues, I have a particular ‘style’ both in homeopathic practice and the art classes and I suppose it suits those who choose to come to me rather than someone else.
What are the biggest challenges for running this business?
Juggling being a mother/wife and work is the hardest thing for me.
What keeps you going, when the chips are down?
Thinking of the people I have helped and seeing the value they get from what I do. Also encouragement from my husband and my fellow homeopaths and artists.
Do you support local charities? If so which is your favourite charity and why?
The Galway Rape Crisis centre – I am passionate about helping people who have been affected by sexual violence.
Any special things planned for 2017?
Doing a post grad in homeopathy.
Any tips for someone who is thinking of starting their own business?
Make sure you love what you do.
What did you learn from this interview?
I really love what I do even though it can be challenging!
Please share this interview, as I’d like to start a small movement to highlight the brilliant businesses in the West of Ireland! If you would like to be next, please drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be in touch.
Thanks for reading & sharing!