RTE Boost My Business
As part of our Boost My Business initiative, Fiona Alston caught up with four craft and design businesses to see how they are faring on the countdown to Christmas.
Chloe Gardiner from Salthill, Co Galway is very busy running two businesses and, at the age of 17, she is doing so as she begins her Leaving Certificate year.
She's always been keen on crocheting and the soft toys her grandmother used to make gave her the idea of her first business Wonky Woolins.
At 15 she began to make her own soft toys to gift to others.
"I thought it'd be great to pass these on to other people," says Gardiner. "I made them, and people always told me I could sell them. I realised that I could make some money from it and it could actually become a business - that's when it all started."
Chloe Gardiner owner of Wonky Woolins and Baa Baa Bandits
Not satisfied with just the one business, four months ago she added another to her portfolio; Baa Baa Bandits, a vegan arm-knitting yarn suppliers.
It’s a much thicker yarn and, as the name suggests, instead of using any knitting needles you use your arms.
"It was hard to get off the ground initially because of Covid," she explains. "I couldn’t go to any craft fairs or exhibitions so I could only sell online and through social media.
"With Wonky Woolins, before Covid I would do craft fairs and exhibitions every week and I had great plans for the RDS this year but none of the events could happen due to Covid," she says. "I had to grow a social media following and that’s how I’m making all of my money now, with social media and the websites."
The next two months are going to be very busy for Gardiner as she balances school and her two enterprises, but it’s something she wants to make work.
Wonky Woolins Soft Toys
"It's hard balancing all the subjects and things like that but I do think I’ll work hard on that during the week and school will come before business," she explains, "and I’ll take a Saturday every week and work from 8am to 12 o’clock at night just to get the stock back up.
"It’s getting to the stage now that I know that business is going to play a big role in my future but I’m under 18 so I can’t employ anyone," she continues. "I feel really conflicted at times between business which I love and school which I have to do but I know it will all pay off."
Woolins in Lockdown
Wonky Woolin meets Leo Varadkar
We always love seeing our Woolins in their new homes and on their adventures across Ireland and the globe!
During Lockdown in March 2020 one of our birds of hope travelled to it's new home with Leo Varadkar along with one of our handmade cards
A special thank you to Leo Varadkar for sharing this photo
The Wonky Woolins are SBS Official Winners!
SBS with Theo Paphitis
We are delighted to announce that The Wonky Woolins have been crowned an official SBS winner with thanks to Theo Paphitis (shopkeeper UK's Dragons Den)
We are huge fans of Theo on Dragons Den so we are over the moon that he chose our Wonky Woolins as winner.
Newstalk with Pat Kenny
It was great to chat on behalf of the Woolins on the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk FM.
Well done to all our competition winners from the show!
Thank you to the Galway Advertiser for the feature on the Woolins and BAA BAA Bandits Small Business Sunday Awards with Theo Paphitis
Woolins travel to Today FM
Dave Moore receives chenille elephant
Our wooly chenille elephants travelled to meet Dave from Today FM and Dec Pierce from Today FM and Block Rockin Beats in August 2020
A special thank you to Dave and Declan for sharing these pictures!
Mullet Mix 2FM
It was a pleasure to speak with Lottie Ryan from the Jen Zamparelli Mullet Mix on Tuesday the 27th of October on 2FM.
Small Business Sunday with Theo Paphitis
Baa Baa Bandits
Not exactly Woolin news but I am delighted to announce thatour sister enterprise the Baa Baa Bandits,
is an official #SBS winner with thanks to Theo Paphitis. It is an honor to be awarded this prize as part of Small Business Sundays 10th anniversary celebrating young entrepreneurs.
I have always been a huge fan of Theo on Dragons Den so it means the world to myself and the Baa Baa team to be chosen as a winner!
With Sara Davies
Thank you to Sara Davies a.k.a the Crafting Queen for her fantastic Twitter shoutout as part of her introducing independents campaign.
We are huge fan of Sara on Dragons Den so it meant the world to myself and the Woolins that she would choose to promote The Woolins!