Changing direction in your business

New thinking in a Covid world – 3 businesses show it can be done

New businesses flourishing during Covid-19 lockdown

By Kayley Hardiman

Despite many businesses closing down or being unable to reopen some creative entrepreneurs have emerged with their own businesses since lockdown first kicked off in March.

The entertainment agency 360 Entertainment created Beat Builder during lockdown. It is a new service which motivates staff working from home due to Covid-19.

Remote workers can easily join the Beat Builder Virtual Drum Orchestra using musical instruments made from everyday such as pots, cutlery or cereal boxes.

Co directors of Beat Builder Dave McFarlane and Robbie Harris
Co Directors of Beat Builder Dave McFarlane and Robbie Harris

After watching an instructional video, staff record themselves playing a rhythm. The individual clips are professionally edited together to produce a video with all staff members performing as a virtual orchestra.

Director Dave McFarlane told us “the Beat Builder virtual drum orchestra allows staff to collaborate on a bonding project that relieves stress and creates a sense of achievement in a creative way.”

A recent survey carried out by LinkedIn found that more than half of Irish employees (56%) found working remotely stressful. One in five respondents felt lonely and isolated which highlighted the need for employers to find innovative ways of helping staff feel connected to each other.

According to Mr. McFarlane, they have had a great response so far with Circle K and JTI recently using Beat Builder to bring together hundreds of staff working from home.

You can find more information on www.360entertainment.ie/

Birdhouse building in Westmeath🐤🐦🐥🐣

Rachel’s Creations was established over lockdown by Rachel Kelly from Moate, Co. Westmeath. Rachel produces customised products for outdoors, mostly bird houses, but also creates clocks. It started as a hobby but when Rachel began selling the products it quickly turned into a business.

“The concept was to create something simple and decorative that would be attractive and affordable for people to purchase and to add to their summer garden. I wanted to create handmade bespoke items, using the skills I have while doing something I enjoy” Rachel disclosed.

On developing the idea for the business, Rachel said she was searching on Pinterest for ideas for something she could make for the garden and found some bird houses.

“I thought that they were something I could make myself at home. I made a few and some of my friends and family were interested in buying them, so I thought I would make a page to display them. I loved woodwork/construction in school and was awarded student of the year.”

New businesses are using social media a lot more to get the word out about their businesses than usual. According to Rachel, it helps that there are so many small businesses now using Instagram as a marketing platform which has been the main way she has sold her products.

Rachel is excited for the future of her business. “I would love for the page to grow and become better known. I would also love for my designs to be stocked in florists or small garden centres.”

Notions in Luimneach😉

Another exciting new business which created during Covid-19 lockdown is Notions in Limerick. Brothers John and Keelan Christie set up Notions which is an independent sustainable clothing brand. According to Keelan, it is an affordable, sustainable local brand with original designs produced by the siblings.

“We try to get new designs out each month. We only use 100% compostable mailer bags to keep our brand low waste and eco-friendly.”

 Like Rachel’s Creations, the sibling duo have utilised Instagram hugely to promote their business. The main challenge John and Keelan have encountered was getting their brand name out there.

“Seeing as we couldn’t advertise to the public due to the lockdown it was difficult and our main method of advertising was promoting our Instagram posts and working with other small businesses to help get each other some followers and orders. The only other difficulty was delays in shipping, once again due to the pandemic but we got around this by ensuring that we sent a   quick email of reassurance to whoever ordered a product.”

Originally, the siblings set up the business to cross something off their bucket list which they had always dreamed of doing. However, since the Notions brand has grown and they have received more orders and positive feedback than they expected their goals have changed.

“We feel the future looks bright for this very young company as each day we get new followers, new enquiries and new orders.”

Ear ear Orlala😉👂👂

Finally, Orlala jewellery was set up Orla McCarney and Orla Martin on Depop and Instagram in early June.

The girls produce unique handmade clay earrings. With lots of spare time during lockdown, they decided to set up the business. ‘We have always loved wearing unique jewellery and clothes and thought that we could probably make our own earrings.

“Originally we were just making them for ourselves but then we saw that there was such a huge interest in them amongst our friends and peers so we decided to set up a page where we could sell them.” says Orla McCarney.

The best thing about Orlala jewellery is how different and special the products are. Some of the earrings made are one of a kind which makes them very attractive to customers.

“The creative aspect of the business is definitely the best part of it all. We always have custom orders coming in and we love the fact that our customers are as creative as us!” remarked Orla.

McCarney and Martin have also found Instagram very beneficial to promote their business. They also held a giveaway when they started the business to attract more customers and to build up their following and engagement.

The entrepreneurs would love to reach 1000 followers on Instagram in the future and are exploring the possibility of selling their handmade earrings to boutiques.

“Our main goal though is to make our customers happy and keep on providing a product that they love as much as we do. We also have so many new designs coming soon that we can’t wait to share.”

Great to see the Irish fighting spirit coming through despite everything right now. 👏👏👏👏.

If you’re a business looking at potentially marketing on instagram you might be interested in this feature of ours!