Monday 23 April 2018

The loves of my life: Erica Sheehan, founder, Homespun Foods

Erica Sheehan, founder, Homespun Foods.
Erica Sheehan, founder, Homespun Foods.

The founder of Homsepun food on the depth and wisdom of her husband on memories of catching fish in nets in Ballinskelligs as a child.

The person

My husband, Michael. He's got depth and wisdom in spades, and is a great dad. The first date was in Hogan's. He upped the budget for the second one, and we went to Peploe's for dinner. I knew he was interested then!

The memory

Putting out nets with my dad to catch fish in Ballinskelligs as a kid. We'd swim out to place them one day, and go back and haul them in the next. There'd be plaice and crab, and we'd cook them

The moment of the day

Being woken up by our little girl, Katie, who is one. She literally wakes up smiling. At times, I feel we're winging it on the parenting front, but when I see her so happy, I'm reassured that we're getting some of it right

The song

I spent a summer in New York in 1998, working in the Irish Echo, with Christine, one of my best friends from Trinity. For some reason. U2's Angel of Harlem always reminds me of that summer. Years later, I still feel a sense of belonging in NY

The movie

Too many to mention, and I watch boxsets more these days. Homeland, The Good Wife, House of Cards, The Affair, The Killing - you name it. My latest addiction is Billions on Sky Atlantic

The hero

My Mum, Emer. For lots of reasons, but mainly because she's so charitable and decent. She's also fun-loving, adventurous and young at heart. She knows exactly what's important in life

The book

Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. One of my best friends from college, Owen, gave it to me the day we graduated. He wrote on it, saying I'd turn to the book again and again for its timeless wisdom, and I have

The outfit

Since becoming a mum and starting my own health-food business, I've dispensed with high-maintenance clothes. Heels and dresses have been replaced with jeans, T-shirts and trainers. Last autumn, I invested in a Canada Goose parka. It's like wearing a stylish sleeping bag, and was worth every cent

The accessory

I jokingly called my little girl Katie my 'sales accessory'. Before she went to creche, I'd no option but to bring her to work meetings with me. Initially, I felt self-conscious arriving with a baby in tow, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It took the formality out of situations. In ways, it's easier to strike up a rapport when you're relaxed and relating about things other than work

The gadget

It's a cliche, but my iPhone. Since I've set up Homespun, I'm using some new apps such as Zoho for invoices, reports and accounting

The pet hate

Flakiness of any sort. And I try not to be flaky myself

The friend

I have a circle of close, long-standing, trusted friends. Some I've known since my childhood, others from college and work. A few of them live overseas now, but we still meet a lot and, when we we do, we pick up where we left off.

The beauty product

Sleep - nothing can replace it. And juices I make in my NutriBullet. I throw in the lot: chlorella, hemp protein, spirulina. The trick is to add lots of lemon and ginger. Makes it all bearable!

The holiday

California, summer 2012. Michael and I had been going out for a month and spontaneously decided to book flights to LA, hire a Mustang and take a road trip up Highway One. It was so amazing, we returned a year later - on honeymoon! That was when I seriously started thinking about starting a health-food business. The health and food scene there is inspiring

The piece of advice

In business terms, I've heard it said many times, treat your suppliers as partners. Everyone who has helped me launch Homespun has contributed a lot to its development. A good working relationship goes a long way.

The bar

Cable O'Leary's, Ballinskelligs. It's my local when I'm in Kerry, and it's situated right on the beach

The drink

A good Margarita - always salted. A non-alcoholic drink I like is One Water, an Irish brand which donates 100pc of its profits to water projects in the developing world

The hotel

San Ysidro Ranch, Montecito, California. We stayed there on honeymoon. It's a gorgeous hideaway in the foothills of the Santa Ynez mountains, overlooking the Pacific, just outside Santa Barbara

The hobby

Reading cookbooks, cutting out recipes - though not necessarily following up by actually cooking them; reading restaurant reviews, shopping for food and mooching around specialist food stores. Bit of a theme going on!

The part of my body

Hands and feet - where would you be without them? - and I love them both best when I've treated myself to a manicure or pedicure

The vice

Good wine with great friends. Also cheese, chocolate, coffee - the stronger the better

The celebrity

I'm not into celebrities, but I admire people who use their fame for a good cause, such as Jamie Oliver, for his campaigns to improve the nutrition in school dinners in the UK and to end the battery farming of chickens.

The virtue

I like introducing people. I'm constantly putting people in touch. I like to pay it forward

The smell

Homespun Quinoa Crunch, of course! It is hand-made in Ireland with raw, virgin coconut oil - cold-pressed to retain the health benefits - and it has a divine coconut aroma. It's the first thing customers comment on when they taste it

The taste

Fresh lobster, served with a simple salad and a glass of chilled white wine on a summer's evening in the Point Seafood Bar, Renard Point, Co Kerry, served by the wonderful proprietor, Bridie O'Neill.

For stockists of Homespun Quinoa Crunch, see

Instagram: homespun_foods

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