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Quirky Irish Icons, founded by North Strand native and proud Dubliner Patricia Pierce, is representing the Local Enterprise Office for Dublin City at the National Ploughing Championships this week (18th to 20th September, Screggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly).

Ms. Pierce was inspired to establish Quirky Irish Icons after an adored nephew moved to Dubai four years ago.  Unable to find gifts to send him to remind him of home, she made three fridge magnets depicting a chicken fillet roll, the Poolbeg chimneys and an ‘Up the Dubs’ sign.  The magnets were a hit, and orders soon poured in from other Irish people living in Dubai.
 
Today, Ms. Pierce says her busiest sales markets are the UK, Australia and the USA, as well as a growing number of orders from within Ireland.  Amongst her most popular products are:
 
A framed gift depicting the “Country Cousins”;
Magnets with the slogans “I love me Ma” and “I love me Da”;
Personalised Dublin street-signs; and
Products inspired by the Irish love for batch loaf, ‘real’ butter and chip sandwiches.
 
Commenting today (18.09.18) from the Ploughing Championships, Ms. Pierce said: “My nieces and nephews have moved all over the world, and they are the inspiration for Quirky Irish Icons.  They miss things like ‘proper’ Irish butter and batch loaf and Tayto crisps.  When I couldn’t find anything to send them to remind them of home, I took matters into my own hands.
 
“I didn’t know how to use a computer and I had never run a business, but – four years later – I am successfully trading online, and the business is growing every year.  We design and sell handcrafted fridge magnets and framed gifts from polymer clay.  From my first batch of three designs to test the market, I've expanded to offer 17 fridge magnets, a range of framed pieces and personalised street signs that can be made for any address.
 
“In addition to online sales, I sell my products at the Gravediggers’ Pub in Glasnevin every weekend, and we are also now stocked in the Irish Design House, the Little Museum of Dublin and the Glasnevin Cemetery museum shop.  The plan for the future is to continue to expand into physical stores, as well as growing our online sales.”
 
Ms. Pierce said the supports she has received from Local Enterprise Office Dublin City were essential in helping her establish and grow her business.
 
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the help I received from the Local Enterprise Office,” she said.  “I received a Feasibility Study Grant and I did courses in starting a business, using computers, and building a website.  I received a Trading Online Voucher, and I continue to attend training and networking events organised by the Local Enterprise Office now.
 
“I also got some help with social media, which is crucial in my line of business, as so many of my customers are based overseas.”
 
Ploughing Products
For this week’s Ploughing Championships, Ms. Pierce – who has never before attended the event – has developed some limited-edition products, including magnets depicting tractors and wellington boots.
 
While her focus to date has been on Dublin, she says the Ploughing Championships will help her assess how her products can be adapted to cover other parts of the country.
 
“I started by making magnets and framed gifts that show things you would associate with Dublin,” she said.  “But my plan is to expand and offer products that resonate with every county in Ireland.  I’ll use the next few days at the Ploughing for inspiration.  I’m looking forward to talking to people about the things they really miss when they’re away from home, and to seeing if there are particular associations for people from different parts of the country.”
 

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