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'I started making donkey-milk soaps on my kitchen table as a hobby, now it sells all over the world'

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Tiina Laas of 12 Quail farm with her donkey milk soaps

Tiina Laas of 12 Quail farm with her donkey milk soaps

Brian Farrell

Tiina Laas of 12 Quail farm with her donkey milk soaps

Last summer, Tiina Laas started making donkey-milk soaps at her kitchen table in Co Leitrim. Little did she think that less than a year later a global preoccupation with hand-washing would make them a much sought-after product, and not just in Ireland.

A self-professed "city girl" who came to work in Bank of America in Carrick-on-Shannon around 2000, this native of Estonia discovered the health benefits of quails' eggs long before she got interested in the nutritional and cosmetic properties of donkey milk.

"I lost my job and my health at the same time," says the former public relations consultant, who was made redundant when the crash came in 2008. "I had two frozen shoulders. I could pretty much not do anything."