Gerard is a 29 year old male from Ireland. He is an avid thrill seeker and travel junky. To date Gerard has lived in 7 different countries and speaks 4 different languages. Gerard has primarily worked as an elementary and middle school teacher in Mexico City but has since started his own business with his sister selling care packages. When covid hit Gerard and his sister were badly affected and both lost their jobs. In only 3 months they have turned an idea into a growing business. Gerard works solely with other small businesses and is partnering with a number of foundations and charities to give back to the local community. Gerard and his sister started the business out of necessity to find a way to survive this period of unemployment but it has since given them much more than a distraction. The support the sibling duo have received so far is uplifting and makes the business all that more sentimental and validated after being inspired by their late mother who passed away suddenly when they were kids.
Where did the idea for From over th’Éire come from?
The idea stemmed from both of us losing our jobs due to covid. My sister is a single mother to an adorable 3 year old boy, Finn, with an autoimmune disease Mastocytosis. We were struggling with money and needed a solution. We talked about how nice it is to receive gifts from home with products that are hard to find abroard. We decided we would start a care package business. In one afternoon we were standing in the kitchen with a cup of tea, stressed about money, and suddenly the name just came to us out of nowhere. From over th’Éire. A nice play on words with an ode to our homeland. That same afternoon we designed our logo and got to work on the website. Our idea really came from our late mother. She was also a single mother and always made time for each of her 5 kids. We try to find ways to stay connected to her even though she’s no longer with us. So, we wanted to provide a means for families to stay closer while further apart during the worst global pandemic of our lifetime.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Our typical day usually starts with a morning coffee chatting about the emails we received, orders we may (or may not) have received, plan of action for adapting and curating our care packages, assigning daily tasks to each other and setting goals that need to be achieved by the end of the day. We are currently working out of our apartment so it is not glamorous behind the scenes at all but no one needs to know that. We take it in turns for dropping off the care packages to the post office. We always say that on the surface it looks like it’s easy but behind the scenes we are working hours on end sourcing the best fit handmade products for our care packages.
How do you bring ideas to life?
An example of bring our latest idea to life would be when we were ready to go to bed and we suddenly had a brainwave. We were discussing how to deal with the upcoming holiday season. We thought about how families will need to celebrate the holidays while physically apart. We thought of the kids and how they are anticipating Santa’s arrival and how they are probably confused and have so many doubts. We decided to curate a socially distanced santa box including handmade items to help santa safely deliver presents around the world. Products include hand sanitizer, face masks, a special key to drop off the presents, reindeer dust, creative instructions for santa and a donation envelope for kids to donate some pocket money to sick kids at the Ronald McDonald House NYC charity. We wanted kids to learn that Christmas is a time for receiving gifts but also a time for giving. As such, wearing a mask is about receiving protection from germs but also providing protection for others.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I wouldn’t say it’s a “trend” per se, but it is positively becoming something much more widely acknowledged. Gender neutrality. I love that society is progressing in such a way that we are accepting people for who they really are. As such, our newest care package, Misneach Matters is gender neutral.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I would say that when I get motivated about an idea or a task, once I begin, I cannot stop until it’s in someway completed. I will work and work and perfect my idea without realising that hours have passed.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say, “Stop spending so much time trying to figure it all out. There’s actually not much to figure out”.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
All of us are capable of achieving great things academically. We all just learn in different ways. I believe in concept based learning as the transfer of knowledge into understanding. I believe that every child has the ability to understand and it is the job of the teacher to adapt to that child’s needs.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Research. Research. Research. This has proven so fundamentally important to me. I don’t mean in a “get ideas from some other place” rather, learn more about SEO, learn more about coding your website, research about different marketing strategies. You will improve. When you think you know something, think again! Research and you will be surprised. There’ll be something new to add to your equation that you may not have considered before!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Since we are a very new business, 3 months post-launch, it’s difficult to say with certainty. What is standing well for us is following an A/B strategy. Trial and error, in other words. Don’t be afraid to adapt. Always keep the main goal of the business in mind with each decision. Try not to get emotionally attached to your idea – it might be what’s holding you back. If anything, use your ideas as building blocks to the next big idea.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
International shipping. We struggled to provide this option for our customers for a while. It was just not working out financially profitable. We sat and scrunched the numbers. Once again I did more research… and suddenly found a shipping platform I hadn’t seen before which offered much lower international shipping rates than the one we were using. Never get comfortable with your choices. There may be a better solution out there!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Regardless of what business you want to set up – your customers need to be at the centre of that. It sounds cliché but by making your product an emotional and memorable experience for customers will get your business booming.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 we’ve spent recently was on shipping for a unique product from Ireland to get here so we could sample it and see if it would be a good fit for our care packages. It’s the Snow Patrol Hot Sauces.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Honestly, we use G Suite and google drive. As a teacher these works wonders in my classroom so I’m familiar with the user interface. They are proving very reliable when it comes to the business too.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The title is a little vulgar but it is a bit of a wake up call. It’s a book called “Unf*ck Yourself” by a Scotsman named Gary John Bishop. This book has so many key takeaway points that will leave you feeling inspired and motivated.
What is your favorite quote?
The only thing I know is that I know nothing.
- Research is your best friend.
- Don’t get emotionally attached to an idea
- Take risks