Burnfoot, Co. Donegal native Clare Mc Laughlin has embraced entrepreneurship in one rather unique way and she is running a business with a difference.
From quirky farm fashion to children’s toys, All Ears is an enterprise offering variety.
A Blossoming business venture
With a background in showing cattle, the Donegal lady spotted a potential niche in the market shortly after her son was born.
“I was on the search for farm-related items for my son and there was no such thing really. I noticed that there weren’t any Agricultural toys for children available that people could purchase at Agricultural shows.” Clare explained.
Little did she know that this would develop in a new business venture and ‘All Ears’ was the result, many months later.
Clare and her husband set up a new business, specialising in children’s toys and they have since branched into many other areas, creating a very powerful mark in the industry.
The enterprise has continued to flourish since its establishment and All Ears offers a varied product range to a dedicated and returning client base.
Soft toys including cattle, sheep, horses and pigs, along with a safari range are just some of the purchases that one can make for young children.
The toys are manufactured across the waters in China and they make their way to Clare’s premises in Donegal.
Fashion and Farming
Children’s soft-toys make up a fraction of Clare’s business and she has continued to explore new avenues.
Clare has always had a vision to combine fashion with farming and her business has allowed her to do just that.
“It’s important to dress up well for marts and Agricultural shows, so that why we have branched into farm fashion too. We are always expanding our range to meet the needs of our customers.” Clare explained.
A range of quirky farm wear has garnered the attention of many Rural and Agricultural enthusiasts.
The stylish country tweed jacket is one that Clare is struggling to keep on the shelves and the product takes its well-deserved place with outdoor wear clothing for kids and even a collection ornaments.
“There is something for everyone, from your baby, right up to your grandfather.” Clare said.
Clare has turned her attention to a very exciting development over the past number of months, with the result being an outdoor animal prototype, following the success of her soft toy range.
With all the details currently under wraps and the project is work in progress, it is hoped that all will be revealed by early next year.
“The aim would be to allow children to play with their toys and tractors outside with the outdoor animal. I am very excited about this particular project.” Clare added.
Making a purchase
Clare’s sales have continued to climb now months into the business, with all orders received by direct contact through her Facebook page, with a number of telephone orders also.
“I have found social media very powerful for sales so far. We offer next day delivery, meaning that you order can come from our base here in Dublin, right down to Cork within that timeframe.” Clare explained.
As one can only commend Clare’s sheer passion and dedication to her business, the news she received as recent as last week comes as no surprise.
The Donegal lady has been tapped forward as a finalist in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in the Best Business Start-up category for the Donegal region.
“I applied and was delighted to make it through to the next round, meaning that I had to pitch my business to a panel. I got a call a few days later to notify me of my success to the next stage and I couldn’t believe it. The standard of the other applicants was unbelievable.” Clare added.
Clare is set to battle it out against four other applicants in her category at a Business event, to pitch her business and her business plan to panel of esteemed judges.
The lucky winner will walk away with the prestigious title and a hefty €20,000 on 1st December later this year.
“It would be fantastic to win because it would be such a boost to the business to improve my product range.” Clare explained.
The future of All Ears is a bright one and Clare is gearing-up to take her business to the next level.
She plans to kick-start 2018 on a high-note by taking a trip to China, the place where her toys are manufactured.
“I have so many ideas that I want to thrash out when I get to China. I want to improve and expand my product range. We are going to offer specific sheep breeds and cattle breeds too, which would include Charolais, Limousin and Belgian Blue cattle.” Clare added.
Clare has intentions to add a further collection to her clothing range, targeting mart and agricultural shows attendees.
“Really and truly it’s not all about the animals. I think it is important that the handlers look good aswell. Everyone needs to be need and tidy. I was involved in this circle for many years and I realise the importance of looking well too.” Clare added.
Striking a balance
As Clare juggles life as a wife, mother and a business woman, she has once again got “bitten by the bug” to show cattle and she has intentions to return to the show ring very soon.
She is hoping that her passion will bounce off her 19-month-old son, although the adoration for Agriculture has got quite a few years to blossom yet.
Clare's son pictured in a country tweed jacket from All Ears.
Facebook or call Clare on 086-894 9484