Posted: Wed 16th Nov 2022
Black Friday is upon us and it's becoming tradition that small Irish businesses turn Ireland green for the occasion.
The Champion Green campaign – which has backing from trade bodies, commercial partners, government ministers and economists – is in full swing, and in the run-up to Christmas this is the initiative's time to shine.
We grabbed a word with one of the Champion Green giants to find out what it means to 'champion green' in small business.
SIAR – meaning 'west' or 'westward' in Irish – is a range of contemporary photography prints of Ireland, owned by husband and wife team, Gary Collins and Aoife Lenihan in Co. Clare.
How is the business going during these times?
This year, we've really focused our efforts on building out the retail and the wholesale side of the business. The company came into being in November 2019 and we always imagined that it would be a wholesale retail business. But obviously we had to move online with the pandemic.
Our e-commerce is holding strong, even with the current trends – this year, a big focus was to build out the wholesale side. That's going very well – we're in about 15 shops, mainly Clare and Cork, but we're in Tipperary now and Laois. So we're slowly getting to take over the place.
Does Black Friday mean anything to you as a small Irish business?
We've never participated in Black Friday, but we do Green Friday – the 'Irish-made' side of it with Champion Green.
For us, being 'of Ireland' and 'by Ireland' is big to the company. We're not running any particular offer this year – which was a decision in the current climate – but we have a new collection launching next week. We haven't had to increase our pricing but we're not offering a discount either for that reason.
How did you get involved with the Champion Green initiative?
It happened during the COVID lockdown. It was a fantastic movement to support local and buy Irish online and Champion Green really pushed it. We got in there from the start, especially on Twitter, and engaged an awful lot with the Champion Green movement.
The support we got from that, and the feedback and follow-through from the purchasing was fantastic during lockdowns. We support Champion Green with the use of our images for the backgrounds of their logo launches.
It's a fantastic initiative and it's so closely aligned with our brand, why wouldn't we get involved?
What does it mean to be a Champion Green business?
We feel like it's a modern take on small and medium enterprises, and Irish enterprises in general. It's about keeping green front of mind when you're shopping or when you're considering where to go on holidays, and just promoting Irish producers and suppliers.
We've noticed it's really expanded into the supplier side of things – it isn't just products. We think that's really important too.
It's showing our business ethos as well. The aim is that we have high-quality but affordable products that are made here in Ireland, and we don't have to resort to external providers.
We get great pleasure out of people supporting our small Irish business, and we'll always try and support other small Irish businesses.
Our paper and ink comes from Dublin, our framing comes from Cork, and our packaging comes from Donegal. Where we can support other Irish businesses, we do our best to do that.