Monday 11 December 2017

Michelle Rudden: Making Ireland's only handmade crayons

Michelle Rudden
Michelle Rudden
Funky Crayon's Michelle Rudden

FORMER carer Michelle Rudden founded Ireland's only crayon making company in Ireland back in September.

Funky Crayons produces non-toxic crayons in a range of shapes like letters, numbers, animals, fairytale characters, etc.

"Anything is possible," said Cavan-based Rudden (32), who spent four years as a carer before making the move into enterprise through a back-to-work business scheme last year.

Currently her products are available through a network of online sites and she has already been approached by a US company and is planning to target the export market once she moves to a dedicated manufacturing facility.

Here are her top tips for success in business:

Plan ahead

It is so important to have a short, medium and long term plan for your business. Sometimes we entrepreneurs bite off more than we can chew. We need to have short term plans in place to keep us grounded in the day-to-day operation of the business. All the while having a bigger picture towards which we are aiming all the time. And medium term plans are those milestones along the way that remind you that you are getting there a bit at a time.

Be adaptable

Sometimes unexpected circumstances mean we have to change plans at the last minute. This could be in reaction to competition in the market or simply because an idea did not work. But you must be able to roll with the changes when necessary even if that feels frustrating.


Surround yourself with positive people who you admire. And to find those people you simply need to be positive yourself and you will attract them into your life. Your personality is a fundamental part of your business. Whether it's online networking like #irishbizparty or a face-to-face opportunity to connect with someone, take every chance that comes up to meet great people. They will always boost you on a bad day and cheer you on a good day. It is very important not to feel you are alone.

Take your time

It is hard not to let your thoughts run away with you when your head is full of ideas. But pace yourself. Have a place where you write down all the new ideas or make a memo in your phone. And if an idea comes to you in the middle of a completely different task, try to note it and then finish what you're doing before tackling that great new thought.


There are no clocking in and out times in self-employment. You don't stop being a parent when you go to work in any job. And likewise you don't hang up your boots at 5pm when you run your own business. You need to accept that you wear two hats and that sometimes family will have to be patient while you work unsociable hours and sometimes work will have to wait while you have some quality time.


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