ACORNS alumni and Kildare entrepreneur Caroline Cullen talks about how her business Roots of Ireland is embarking on an export journey.
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.
“Our jewellery is based on elements of nature taken from across Ireland”
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
The Roots of Ireland
Caroline Cullen and her husband Steve always had a yearning to set up a business conducive to family life and to their shared love of nature.
That yearning was fulfilled in January 2020, when Caroline, who is originally from Cork but based in her husband’s home town of Leixlip, Co Kildare, set up The Roots of Ireland, which produces contemporary handcrafted sterling silver jewellery.
The couple, who have two small children, wanted to create jewellery that would be a tangible reminder of our connection to nature.
“Our jewellery is based on elements of nature taken from across Ireland. To create our designs, we take twigs or leaves and other organic matter, and cover them with up to 13 layers of silver paste before placing them in a kiln, which burns away the original organic matter – leaving a silver representation of the original piece.”
The Irish Native Woodland Trust, which is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of Ireland’s ancient woodlands, receives donations for jewellery sold from The Roots of Ireland’s ‘Woodlands Collection’.
Their collection is now available through Blarney Woollen Mills, Bunratty Woollen Mills and other Irish retailers as well as through their own online shop. They export to customers around the world and have recently formed relationships with retailers in the United States.
“I found that being an ACORNS participant helped to make me accountable for business developments, and having support and feedback from fellow entrepreneurs, and Lead Entrepreneur Eimer Hannon, was invaluable.
“Our plans for the future include growing exports to those abroad with a connection to and love of Ireland and developing their collections of Irish nature-inspired jewellery beginning with a men’s range and a contemporary wedding collection.”