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What is this Artisans Market on Sundays in the Rowing Club all about?

Article by Martha Begley Schade -Author of Galway Fairytales

Managing a business is never easy. Managing it on your own is even harder. There are so many aspects to be thought of, so many different hats you have to wear – and let’s be honest, it’s a question of luck too.

Many who have studied business will have learned that it belongs to looking up and setting your product right, setting your price correctly, promoting it to your customer and then, placing it correctly on the market. There is also the packaging to consider, the customers, social media, and a lot more.

But what if you have something you are passionate about and would love to use it to help get family finances into a better position? You can indeed be very successful if luck is on your side.

Or… you join a group of like-minded people. A group with whom you can cooperate, learn from, collaborate with, console each other, commiserate, find your motivation, create new product ideas… This can be magical. They say if you go to snap a twig, it is easy, but if you have a bunch of twigs bundled together, you cannot. The power of a group is magic.

Umbrella Eile is such a group, where many of us have found this support. As a social enterprise, it is a not-for-profit organisation and similar to the farmer's co-ops, we work together for the benefit of all. There is a board, a set of accounts, an annual AGM with elected officials. Any profits made are redirected back into the community.

Our ethos is “By the people and for the people”. Our aim in being a social enterprise is to be of benefit to the community of our own members, the community in Galway and to the community at large. We take our role in our communities seriously. We see these communities as being the benefactors of our existence in whatever form and however that may take place. Socially, environmentally, educationally, emotionally, or whatever.

Starting with our members; some gave the following comments when interviewed:

“I am an artist working alone most of the time. Umbrella Eile gives me the opportunity to showcase my name and work to the local community. But, more important, is a feeling of belonging to something bigger. A community that supports me and allows me to support others. An incredibly active and positive group, of mostly women.”

Umbrella Eile is the most progressive and positive support I have ever encountered for small businesses. I was at the point of closing my business due to a lack of supports, but this encouraged me to continue. The support system is remarkable and I have made enormous connections and amazing friends.”

I love being part of Umbrella Eile - being part of the group is exciting and fun. Having the opportunity to attend markets as a trader and successfully selling is a huge boost for me, to know that my art creations are enjoyed and appreciated by so many people is very satisfying.

“Being a part of Umbrella Eile is excellent, it’s a lovely bunch of people, all so friendly and welcoming. It’s great to be involved in such a diverse group of like-minded people who are very supportive and encouraging about your work and business. Everyone is there to help in whatever way they can and we all work together to create a fun and friendly environment for both our customers and the traders”.

So far, we have held 7 Artisan’s Market days in the wonderful venue of the Galway Rowing Club in Woodquay. They have been so supportive of our initiative and we cannot express enough thanks for that.

Without exception, they all feel that it is a welcome addition to the social life in Galway. It’s new but it is exciting to be part of the Artisans market.

When you support local small businesses, all of that goes right back into the community. Most of it goes back into families who are the backbone of the group. Supporting the market helps make dreams come true for little businesses.

So I would encourage all to give us a visit and enjoy the Sunday afternoon event with us. It takes place in the Woodquay Rowing Club and doors open from 11 o clock to 5. Who knows who you might meet there or indeed, what you might find!

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