Even in their college days, Eadaoin Ní Chrualaoi, Ciara Smyth and Kate O’Flynn dreamed of building a business from scratch.
As obsessive organisers themselves, they understood the many benefits of plotting a course before embarking on a goal or project.
The Cork trio decided to use their skills to encourage others to follow suit. Now their online business, Leanún, creates eye-catching stationery designed to help women achieve their ambitions, whether they include world domination or simply fitting in an extra session at the gym.
Leanún (the name is a take on the Irish word leanúnach, meaning to keep moving or progress) currently stocks a selection of creative ideas for keeping your schedule in check, from their sell-out day planners and notebooks to meal planners and even a handy baby activity tracker.
In their own words, this is how they’re WORKING IT…
Starting a business is a serious learning curve. We are so new and learning new things every day. When we started, all three of us were living in different countries so we had to battle time zones, trying to communicate and build a brand effectively through WhatsApp. That was definitely a challenge.
Leanún is an online store, so our customers depend on our social media to see what’s new. We find Instagram stories great for showcasing our product and giving people an insight into what makes our planners different from all the others out there. Everything is shipped to our lovely customers so there are plenty of trips to the post office involved.
‘If you can’t find opportunities then make your own’ – that’s a saying that really resonates with us. We self-funded our first product and we have bootstrapped every step of the way since.
We build each other up. When one of us is feeling like an imposter we rally and boost each other. We all really believe in our brand. Once we all agreed it was worth a shot we were all in!
The three things in our working week we love doing are:
- Instagram; it’s a huge part of our brand – we have met some amazing women on this platform and of course creating content to post every day is fab.
- Before we were business partners we were best friends so getting to work together every day is so much fun.
- We also love packing up the orders and sending them to their new homes! We still get so excited knowing our planners are going to help another women nail her goals and get shit done.
When we created our very first planner, we had no idea how it was going to turn out. When we explained what we were doing people seemed a little confused. However, the day we received the first stock order we were beaming with pride. We didn’t think anyone would buy them (only our mammies!) and we didn’t care – we were in love!
Our advice to another wannabe entrepreneur in this industry? Don’t take no for an answer. People will shoot you down and tell you it won’t work. Believe in yourself, have patience and put your foot down. Go for it! It is tough out there – find what works for you.
We have an amazing bunch of creative entrepreneurs who follow and support us. It is so important to have a community of followers who are genuinely interested in what you create rather than thousands of followers who don’t want to engage. We rely heavily on social media for our promotion stream and it works. It can be hard work to get it right but social media can produce great results.
We are fanatical about organisation and whenever we think of something that would help us be more efficient we get going on creating it.
Come lunchtime, Eadaoin’s mom makes a killer Asian noodle salad – when we can get our hands on that it’s a good lunch day!
Networking is something we need to do more of. Especially now that two of us are back in beautiful Ireland! Networking with other business owners is so important for growth and we want to dive right in, especially here in Cork. Everyone is super supportive.
How do we switch off? Kate is the gym bunny so she loves to lift some weights unwind. Ciara and Eadaoin are drawn to the ocean; when we need to clear our minds and turn off we head straight down to the beach with a book – rain or shine.
We have loads of new products in the pipeline. Leanún is growing with us and as we reach new milestones as women we find ourselves coming up with new ideas for stationery that will fulfil a need we’ve found.
To stock up on gorgeous Leanún stationery (every piece is designed and made in Ireland) visit the website.