ACORNS alumni Sara Ross has built a thriving jewellery business from rural Kerry called FiorSó that is taking the fashion world by storm.
We talk to rural women entrepreneurs from across Ireland who recently took part in the ACORNS programme.
Women in rural Ireland with new businesses or at least with well-developed ideas are being invited to join next phase of the programme ACORNS 8. The ACORNS programme is designed to support early-stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland through a peer learning approach. Thanks to the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the voluntary contribution of time by Lead Entrepreneurs, there is no charge for those selected to participate.
“It can be quite lonely setting up a business, especially with a family and trying to juggle responsibilities. Having other women as a sounding board was invaluable”
The call is now open for applicants for ACORNS 8 and 50 female entrepreneurs from across the country will be selected to participate. Anyone interested in receiving an application form ahead of the midnight 23 September deadline for ACORNS 8 should register their interest here
Sara Ross had been working as a lawyer when her daughter was diagnosed with a serious illness in 2018. After some time off – the end of which saw her daughter given a clean bill of health – Sara decided that life was too short for dispassionate pursuits.
“I’d always made jewellery as a hobby. I never thought to sell any of it but when I came to set up the business, I found there was a real appetite for my kind of aesthetics,” she says.
Sara is from the North East of England but lives in her husband’s home county of Kerry, in the village of Kilflynn between Listowel and Tralee. She operates her jewellery firm, FiorSó, from her studio where she makes statement jewellery inspired by the Art Deco and Art Nouveau influences in London, Paris and Shanghai – where Sara lived and worked for many years.
FiorSó now exports to markets in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States where FiorSó jewellery is stocked in stores in Chicago and South Carolina. The company was also recently selected to be stocked in Brown Thomas on Dublin’s Grafton Street over the summer months.
This year, Sara saw her profile raised even further after country music star Lainey Wilson wore a pair of FiorSó earrings at the Country Music Awards in Nashville.
“Her stylist contacted me after having seen my pieces online. It was a real thrill to see her with something I’d made,” says Sara, who was this year named Contemporary Jewellery Shop of the Year at the Corporate Livewire Innovation and Excellence Awards.
Sara hails ACORNS for putting her in touch with a network of female entrepreneurs facing similar challenges. “It can be quite lonely setting up a business, especially with a family and trying to juggle responsibilities. Having other women as a sounding board was invaluable,” she says.