I’m not the kind of person you’d invite to write up a cosmetics promotion: I don’t wear make-up or buy much in the way of “products”, but THANK YOU Suzan the Aquarian for inviting me to last night’s demonstration of the newly launched Dr….
So the Aquarian health store story continues, so now let’s get right into it.
In 2002 I opened ‘Hemp & Things’ and now I had to find suppliers for all sorts of natural products. Martin Benham, owner of Munster Wholefoods at the time, was my saviour, with several others to follow. Bless you Martin. We will never forget you and what you’ve achieved.
There was space to display the full hemp range including clothing, bags, foods and cosmetics but what else to get? At this point I’d also like to tell you about how often my hemp shipments from Germany had been opened by customs. I guess when a package had ‘hemp’ written on it in those days it had to be Cannabis! Not only were those shipments delayed, but the chocolate had always gone missing. Hmm, lost in transit along the way …
Back to getting the shop ready … I got myself a €1500 loan and started with organic cornflakes, bread flour, tinned tomatoes, herbal teas and other very basic foods. Some shampoos, body lotions and soaps. A bit of Arnica and Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils. I really hadn’t a clue what I was doing or what I should be stocking but, thanks to my new customers, the selection grew rapidly. Any suggestion and request I received, I stocked. Every product I took in, I had to learn about and become an expert on. And I follow this philosophy to this very day – I only stock products that I believe in, that my customers believe in and that I have tried and researched myself to the point that I know the product better than even the supplier!
After 2 years I had outgrown the existing premises and moved to a more central location in the car park at the back of Main Street. Again, my husband Anthony shelved it and I quickly filled those new shelves with an even larger selection of organic and ethical product. By now Ireland was experiencing its first ever economic boom and people had a good disposable income to experiment with new foods, cosmetics and eco cleaning products. Another three years saw me outgrow these premises too and a move to Main Street was on the cards. Unfortunately, Anthony did not shelf this store. We have gone our separate ways, again, as life would have it …
This particular move had me take stock and really scrutinise my wholesale situation. The Hemp-Cottage brand had become my own and the product range was now available pretty much nationwide. Mission accomplished. After several years of promoting and educating about the health benefits of hemp, people no longer associate hemp solely with the Cannabis drug. The nutritional and environmental benefits of hemp had become common knowledge. I decided to pass the brand and its distribution to my dear friends at the newly formed Independent Irish Health Foods company, the former Munster Wholefoods. (And this is another story I will tell you in one of my next blogs …)
I decided that time had come to rebrand the store. So what will I call it? After some weeks of brainstorming with dear friends, I decided to name it after my zodiac as I am a true Aquarian in all its shades and traits. New colours, new logo, new layout. It is very refreshing to give your business a face lift and it also gave me the opportunity to look at it all and take stock of where I was at in my life. Of course, recession had hit hard since 2008 and I had moments of doubts over the years. They were very brief though.
Thanks to my wonderful and loyal customers I am still trading in the rural town of Cahersiveen on the Iveragh peninsula. The variety and quality of stock is unrivalled in any other small town like ours and this is something I am very proud of. The encouragement, support and compliments of my South Kerry customers, both resident and visiting, have kept me looking for the best quality products, the latest and most nutritious foods, the most ethical and functional supplements and the finest organic fruit, veggies and cheese varieties.
It has been such a wonderful and passionate journey so far and I intend to stay on this path.
And so we will put the Aquarian Health Store Story on hold for now … What I would like to share with you on this blog are the stories of my suppliers, manufacturers, farmers and producers of all those wonderful products. Let’s admit it. We take it for granted that all this is sitting on a shelf for us. But where does it come from? Who makes it? How is it made? What’s involved?
Throughout this blog, I will introduce you to some of the most wonderful and dedicated people in the natural and organic product trade. I am sure their stories will fascinate you as much as they fascinate me. It is so interesting to become aware of how much effort, passion and dedication is needed to produce and supply those very fine and precious products mother earth supplies us with. Please visit again. I invite you to send me your comments and questions on anything you read here. So long for now …