28 Feb 2014

Update on The Stormy Teacup Crowdfunding Campaign

I thought I would do an update and let you know how my crowdfunding campaign is going for my new business venture with my friend Martins. Last time I checked in, in this blog post, we were just 5 days into our campaign to open the crafty cafe The Stormy Teacup. As of today we have 9 days left and are coming into the finishing stretch. We've managed to raise just under €5,000 and now have to make €1,000 to reach our goal, but if we don't get over the last hurdle we get €0, eek!

Neither myself and Martins are very good at asking for help, both of us are doggedly stubborn, and prefer to work all the hours under the sun rather than admit we need someone's help (something I'm working on!!). So it was quite surreal to so publicly ask for help and money. But we had a business idea that we knew would work, we just needed help getting it off the ground. We all know that banks are not lending to small businesses at the moment, so we needed to think outside the box if we were ever going to get this started.

It's been a really crazy and emotional process, we've both been amazed at how generous people have been. We knew that our friends and family would show their support, however much they could afford, but we were really amazed at the amount of strangers that donated to the campaign. It totally renewed our faith in humanity and also showed that there is a real desire for something like this to open in Limerick. We've been really touched by the outpouring of positivity and goodwill towards our project. Even if people haven't been able to afford to donate money they have been enthusiastically sharing and liking our pitch.

If any of you are sitting there at your desk daydreaming of the amazing boutique/cafe/barber/bookshop that you could open, maybe think about really doing it. Crowdfunding is a way for communities to help themselves, taking out the middleman of the bank. It gives people with the drive, energy, and ideas the power, rather than those who tick the right boxes for getting a loan. Over the years we've all seen small businesses dwindle in our towns and cities. I really believe that crowdfunding is a way for people to invest in a small way in the businesses/project that they want to see in their community.

If you would like to read about our experience over the past month with this campaign head over to Write on Track to and interview I did with social media guru Lorna Sixsmith. Also if you would like to donate to our teashop head over to our campaign, the clock is ticking!
Wish us luck!

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11 Feb 2014

I'm opening a Cafe in Limerick-The Stormy Teacup

It's been quite a while since I updated this blog, 2013 was a pretty strange year so I took a break from blogging. Part of this strangeness was re-evaluating my life and what I wanted, in the latter half this involved looking at what I want to do professionally. Having Nice Day Designs has been amazing but it hasn't been enough to live on, the balance of trying to make money out of crafts can sometimes feel creatively suffocating, I've realised after lots of soul searching that something needed to change.

As some of you may know I have run a craft pop-up shop Limerick Craft and Design for the past two years, and I was also heavily involved with Limerick City of Culture over the past several months. These two project taught me that I wanted to move more into retail, but do it for myself. The Creative Limerick projects, as great as they are, are not sustainable in the long term(because of the tenancy agreements), so it looked like I was gonna have to do something privately. All of these ideas about change, and my frustrations with craft were mulling around for a long time. About a year ago I became really good friends with fellow craftsperson Martins Punculis, we spent endless hours talking about how we could set up something really interesting, and eventually in the new year we decided to go for it.

Myself and Martins are opening a craft shop with an artisan tea and coffee shop upstairs, and we're calling it The Stormy Teacup. I am so excited by this new venture, I feel like it's the accumulation of all of my professional experiences; weaving together my experience in sales, hospitality, craft and books. That mixed with Martins unending enthusiasm and fanatical logic means that we make a really good team. We've already found a venue for this exciting new space and are currently in the process of raising funds for it on the crowd funding site Indiegogo. We've set a target of €6000 (but are actually aiming for €10,000), and we've managed to raised over €1,800 in 5 days. We have been amazed by the fantastic response, and only hope that this means we will reach our target in time.

Putting together an really good pitch for Indiegogo was a lot of work but we felt that it was worth it for the amount of money that we are asking for. We spent over a week working on the above stop motion animation, working lots of late nights and very longs days; from research we knew that the video is an integral part of the success of the campaign. If you want to read more about our dream cafe then head over to our campaign, if you have any money to spare we have rewards like this set of badges from as little as €7, every donation counts. 

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