independent

Monday 1 September 2014

Beautiful creations crafted from small beginnings

Published 22/10/2013 | 09:18

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THEY DEFIED the recessionary blues and decided to start up a new Sligo business. Roll on two years and Lime Green Umbrella is reaping the rewards of success.

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Ursula Connolly and Olga McCarrick are behind the art, craft, and gift store, upstairs in Lyons'.

Ursula said: "When we set out, there were six of us. Some have gone on to pastures new in Australia. Olga and myself are running the shop now."

Lime Green began as a pop-up shop in Rosses Point.

"We found a little space in the Waterfront, and it worked well.

"Then we decided to find somewhere in Sligo. Lyons' were very good to us and we now have a lovely spot behind the cafe."

Olga is a furniture maker in North Sligo, while Ursula previously worked as an interior designer.

She added: "That business is not like it used to be."

Instead she used her creative instincts in a different way – and started upcycling sample books.

"I made a handbag for myself from the fabrics in the sample books.

"Then a few friends asked if I would make them some, and it grew from that."

Instead of dumping the sample books and fabric, they are being transformed into stylish bags.

Ursula also creates baby quilts from upholstery, which are selling well.

Olga mixes natural wood to make furniture, combining beech, hazel and ash.

"She has more recently turned her hand to soap making, which is very popular."

The entrepreneurs have jewellers and artists who also sell their products in-store.

The unique jewellery includes work from Jean Whitfield, who covers leaves and flowers in silver.

Jack Bascoulergue is another featured artist; the Dromahair-based painter immerses Sligo landscapes onto slate.

Textiles, such as hand-made slippers are 'flying out the door'.

Was it difficult branching into a new business during the recession?

Ursula recalled: "It wasn't entirely easy, but as there was a group of us involved we shared the costs and the running of the shop.

"Luckily, it is growing all the time.

"But I don't think anyone could have set Lime Green up on their own.

"It helps too that Lyons' have been very supportive of us."

They get plenty of tourists browsing the shelves too.

"This summer has been fantastic.

"There were lots of visitors and a definite increase on last year.

"Even though this year, coming into winter, there is normally a slump, we haven't seen that yet, which is great."

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