My Facebook feed has suddenly gotten a lot more interesting. I’m having a great time window-shopping and marvelling at the wealth of talent spread across Ireland.
On 7 October, someone created a FB group named Buy Irish 2020. They changed the name to Shop in Ireland a couple of weeks later, and since then, more than 130k people have started following the page. I’m one. The concept is simple. Artisans post the images/details of the products, say a little about themselves, mentioned what county they operate from, and then link to their website noting if they offer both domestic and international shipping. Artists. Jewellery makers. Knitters. Bakers. Gift boxers. Hamperers (there has to be another word!). Potters. Ceramists. It’s truly astounding. By the comments, it seems as if they’re doing great. The posts I’ve seen have at least 1000 likes and lots of comments with plenty of people ordering. One chocolatier had to apologise -they’d sold out and it would take a few weeks to restock. That’s a great complaint, surely.
Photographers. Coffee roasters. Sockers. Booksellers. If you can think of a gift, it’s there. And best of all, it’s all Irish. Plant hangers. Sweaters. Hoodies. Babygrows. Jumpers for your dog. I’m telling you, it’s all there.
I can’t remember being this excited about a new initiative since we had the old Guaranteed Irish symbol back in the day.
The original Guaranteed Irish campaign was developed from December 1974 by the Irish Goods Council, originally the Working Group on the Promotion and Sale of Irish Goods within the National Development Association, which was incorporated separately in 1978. […] In 1980, 1,000 companies were participating. In 1982, the European Court of Justice ruled that, since the Irish Goods Council received state funding, its Guaranteed Irish campaign contravened the Treaty of Rome’s rules against protectionism. As a consequence, the campaign was separated from the Irish Goods Council into an independent nonprofit organisation, Guaranteed Irish Limited, which does not receive state funding. It was launched in 1984 by Patrick Hillery, then President of Ireland.
I remember a Dublin lad I knew in LA telling me he’d gotten it tattoed on his ass. I wonder where he is now.
What makes this more than a quickly expanding online catalogue of great gift ideas is that it’s personal. Sellers are posting their stories. Some started to pursue their hobby and turn it into a full-time job in the aftermath of a serious illness. Others took stook of their lives, decided what they were spending much of their time on simply wasn’t what they wanted to be doing. So many of them decided that enough was enough. That life is too short to be miserable. They’ve taken the plunge. Chucked in the paid, pensionable position. And gone for it. And kudos to them.
It’s heartening, too, to see the number of young people who have come up with great ideas. My pick for this week are two young lads, Peter Timlin (19) and Richard Grimes (20), operating out of Mayo who have sent up an ethical clothing business and they are seriously walking the talk.
Our mission is to provide ethical alternatives to fast fashion brands and we are based in Ballina, Co. Mayo. Our range has grown to include hoodies, sweatshirts, jackets, t-shirts and other biodegradable products. All our garments are mainly made of organic cotton that is free from any chemicals. Their secondary component is recycled polyester produced from recycled bottles. All of our products are PETA approved which certifies them as vegan friendly. Production of our garments is Fair Wear approved, meaning workers receive a living wage and are provided with fair working conditions! Our products are labelled with a 100% recycled polyester yarn and are sewn on with an organic cotton thread. They are embroidered in a fully wind-powered factory in County Mayo. Packaging is also something we put a huge onus on and our products are shipped in natural kraft recycled cardboard boxes which are 100% biodegradable and compostable. These are manufactured in a factory that sources its energy from renewable sources and has a clean air policy. Our garments are wrapped in recycled tissue paper and we include product information on a sheet of seed paper with every order. This paper can be planted after use to grow flowers that are rich in pollen and nectar which is great for bees and other pollinating insects.
I’m telling you – I’m mega impressed with this pair. They’ve even a section on their site talking about their models and the sizes they’re wearing. Beats a size chart any day. I’ll be watching to see when they add some new necklines. Crew necks just ain’t for me.
I’m grateful to whoever set up this page and got it rolling. Fair play to you. I’d be even more grateful if someone would do the same in Hungary … or if it’s there already, ping me and let me know.