Maeve Gallagher’s Rawsome Goodies have been found in some very picturesque settings: at the cliff edge overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, perched on the side of a bathtub in a bubble dome at Finn Lough, and in the cobbled courtyard of Enniskillen’s Buttermarket.
While this venture is in the early stages, the Belleek woman has ambitions to expand her business from her home kitchen into a suitable premises in Fermanagh.
Accepting voluntary redundancy after six years in the civil service was the catalyst for Maeve to follow her ambition to establish her own business.
Dealing with her own food intolerances led Maeve to experiment with gluten and dairy free recipes. She missed the convenience of sweet but healthy treats and that’s where Rawsome Goodies was born.
Maeve decided that there is a market for naturally sweet treats that are free from refined sugar, gluten and dairy.
“Any city you go to now, on every street there’s an outlet that caters for people who want healthy food. I want to replicate that in Fermanagh and make it accessible,” said Maeve. “Primarily I wanted to address food intolerances because more people are aware of what they are putting into their bodies and are seeking good products – that’s where I come in!”
“I am making healthy treats more convenient and accessible,” she added.
Currently stocked in Enniskillen’s Buttermarket, Maeve’s Rawsome Goodies were also sold in a pop up café at the cliff edge in Bundoran and were purchased by Finn Lough Resort during the peak holiday season.
“It currently suits me to make-to-order as I am self-financing at the moment. I may take a business loan and go for it but I am also looking into options such as Lidl’s Taste of Success programme which sees members of the public and local producers compete to get their food product on the shelves of Lidl Ireland’s 140 supermarkets,” she explained.
Maeve has decided to focus on her brand as an ‘artisan producer’ and to stay local because “the artisan brand draws people in; people like the idea of everything being handmade and the attention to detail.”
Such is her passion for supporting local, Maeve used local designer John Woods to produce her logo, leaflets, business cards and packaging stickers. “I was delighted with his suggestion. It was based on a nature theme and it was quirky, it was exactly what I was aiming for,” she stated.
Maeve also sings the praises of local networking group the Network For Enterprising Women (NEW).”
“The Network for Enterprising Women have been fantastic. I had a stall at a Christmas fair in Belleek in 2015. It went really well and Teresa O’Loughlin [Chairwoman of NEW] encouraged me to get a name and a concept for my business. That’s when I created my logo, set up on facebook and put myself out there. It was really exciting,” said Maeve.
She added: “I want to try to use other local businesses where possible because it’s important to support as local as you can.”
The people she most admires in business are local ladies too. “I admire Shauna Gallagher, Proprietor of Natural Beauty Pot and Sharon Morrison who runs Rebecca’s café in the Buttermarket,” said Maeve.
Social media “is huge” according to Maeve who cites Instagram as a great source of boosting your brand and connecting with other success stories across the globe. “There’s a really great community of like-minded people on Instagram and I’m getting interaction from all over Ireland,” she observed.
Her advice to entrepreneurs is: “If you have something that you are really passionate about you should seriously consider it and explore all your options. There’s a lot of help and support out there. Don’t be afraid. Weigh it all up and do your research.”
Working for yourself “feels great” because “it’s opened my mind to a whole new world.” Maeve added: “As a civil servant you are closed off to what’s going on around you. This gets you interacting and exploring a lot more.”
Setting up Rawsome Goddies has taught her to “be fearless and to adopt a ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ attitude.”
Ultimately it was Maeve’s desire to remain in Fermanagh which prompted her to take the leap of faith. She concluded: “If you want to live here and are not particularly happy in the job you are in or you can’t get a job then it makes sense to set up on your own. Being in your home place gives you more drive to be successful whereas in a city you might see more obstacles.”