There’s an entrepreneurial gene coursing through Louise Cooney’s veins.
The Limerick woman’s grandfather, Nicholas Cooney, and his brother Patrick, started Tipperary Natural Mineral Water in the 1980s.
Ms Cooney, a well-known influencer and former model, is now poised to dip her entrepreneurial toe into the water with two businesses launching three months apart.
Next week, the 29-year-old officially launches Cloo, an active-wear range for women in a mix of fabrics which she has been working on in Dublin throughout lockdown.
And in February, Louise follows it up with a new drinks venture with West Cork Distillers.
She has been working with them on low-calorie wine spritzers for the last two years and has been involved in all elements, from the taste to the branding.
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak in me and I’ve got a creative eye and wanted to have my own brand and stand behind it,” said Ms Cooney, who has degrees in communications and marketing and a post grad in international business development from DIT.
Designed in Ireland and manufactured in China, the Cloo range plays to her twin loves of fashion and working out. Launching with seven styles in three colours – dusty pink, grey and black – prices run from €35 to €95 and are available in sizes 6-18, with more to come.
“I’m very lucky that I regularly work with incredible brands but it’s only natural that I’d like to have my own,” said Ms Cooney, who has 213,000 followers on Instagram. “I’m probably best known for my fashion credentials and I love working out. I shared so many different work-outs when we were in lockdown.
“I understand my audience and I see the return on investment when I work with other sports brands,” she said.
After college, Ms Cooney worked for Fáilte Ireland in the US.
When she realised she was making more money in her sideline hobby/job as a fashion blogger, she decided to go full time.
She moved to the US in 2019 after securing an Exceptional Ability visa and was carving out a career for herself as a lifestyle influencer when the pandemic brought that to an abrupt stop.
“I had planned on being there for a couple of years. So back in Ireland, I had to go back to the drawing board and start again.
“I’m at the point in my life where I wanted to really focus on the future and to think where I’m going to be in 10 years’ time,” said Ms Cooney.
“I would not call myself a risk-taker. Doing Cloo is a calculated risk. Let’s just say, the plan to buy a house is firmly on hold. I was mortgage-approved and I was looking, but the market is just not where I would like it to be right now.
“So I put all my savings, and my livelihood into investing in it. It’s daunting because I’ve done Cloo by myself. There are no other investors.
“I wanted to do it after I looked in my wardrobe and thought, ‘what am I wearing most?’ and I wanted to have styles that people would get lots of wear out of.
“I see myself expanding what I’ve started. It’s a lifestyle brand and there’s so much you can do within that.
“I really am focused on active clothes as opposed to dressy pieces and definitely want to move into accessories. I feel New York didn’t work out because this was supposed to happen for me,” she said.
“Because I’ve come home and readjusted my focus, all this has happened. I am so happy and I’m so excited. It feels like where I’m meant to be.”