Arlene Foy Arlene Foy

Supporting Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

The Laois Local Virtual Market – created to help support small businesses and entrepreneurs

This year has been testing for so many of us. From it all, a newfound sense of community has arisen. I wanted to be part of this. Everyone loves a market day. So because we can’t go anymore. I thought why not organise one online. I know there has been a lot of this happening online but I wanted to support my town and county.

So many small businesses have been struggling. This includes those with a physical shop, as well as creatives, craftspeople and other producers. Below are some of the amazing business that got on board with my idea. I am ever so grateful for your help in pulling this all together. Thank you!

Link to Facebook Event

Soap Sisters

Soap Sisters – Sam and Sinead

Sisters Sam and Sinead (hence the business name!) are Tipperary girls now living in Portlaoise, Co. Laois.

Sam like so many lost her job due to COIVD-19. It was Sinead that pushed her to start selling the handmade gifts. Sam usually created these just for family and friends every Christmas. “It was supposed to be a project just until I could find another job”, said Sam.

Things escalated very quickly. They now have a website and are a registered company. They are also on the shelves of Breslin’s Pharmacy in Portlaoise. As well as in two other stores in Ireland which is more than they ever expected.

Soap Sisters makes all-natural products such as soaps, bath bombs, lip balm and pillow mist. They also make bath salts, body scrubs, soy wax melts and candles. They are growing and learning every day.

“We are very grateful for all the support we have received so far”, said Sam & Sinead.

The Soap Sisters also have a discount code especially for the market. Use code ‘market’ on the website for 10% off until the end of November.

How to get in touch: Website / Facebook / Instagram

Con Murphy Photography

Images shot by Con Murphy

Con Murphy is a well-known photographer from Portarlington Co. Laois. He has a passion for Wedding Photography and has photographed many local couples on their special day. This passion is what drives him towards his excellence in photojournalism, fine art and portrait wedding photography.

Con’s photography captures the real-time emotion, character and flamboyance of every shot. At this time of year, he is busy with Christmas card orders of beautiful Winter scenic shots of local areas and gift certificates. Get in touch to order some of these amazing prints or surprise someone with a gift certificate as a pre-wedding present!

How to get in touch: Website / Facebook

Handbags and Gladrags

Handbags and Gladrags is owned by Anne Colgan. Anne’s family are no strangers to the world of retail. She runs her physical store from inside the family business Colgan Sports. The store is located on Patrick Street in Portarlington, Co. Laois. Handbags and Gladrags is also available to shop online.

Fashion has always been a passion of Anne’s. She just loves finding different styles, pulling looks together and happy customers. Being a small business she is a champion of great customer service. She is always there to answer any of your questions.

How to get in touch: Website / Facebook / Instagram

The Little Usborne Book Worm

Pamela Devereux sells the most amazing, beautifully written and exciting books for kids of all ages. From tots to teens!

There is everything from crafts to activity and history to nature. As well as languages, fun children’s stories and much more!

How to get in touch: Facebook /

Bella & Bob

Written and Created by Helena Emerson

Bella and Bob is a fun, child-friendly, interactive workbook that teaches your child about ponies.

The book created by Helena Emerson uses simple language, activities and engaging graphics. Which makes this book suitable for children of all ages who have an interest in ponies.

The books cost just €12.50 with FREE postage throughout Ireland.

What a fantastic gift for little readers and pony lovers! I would have been delighted with this as a kid.

How to get in touch: Facebook / Instagram

Kind Jewels

Kind Jewels is the brainchild of Lyndsey Sweeney who set up the business in March 2019. The jewellery is all handmade, ethically sourced and created with sustainability very much in mind. Lyndsey had returned to Ireland after spending months travelling and volunteering around Africa.

“Africa is my second home. You can see how much it inspires me in my jewellery!”, said Lyndsey.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Lyndsey had never made jewellery before. It all began by collecting raw gemstones as she journeyed throughout the continent as keepsakes. “Some I found in markets and some on the side of the road!”. She also visited the home of Tanzanite in Tanzania. This is where she saw first hand how mining could be beneficial for rural communities as a livelihood.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Prior to this trip, Lyndsey was working for a large fashion brand. The brand specialised in selling handbags for more money than she could fathom. After 4 years, she had pretty much hit her limit and needed to reset.

Speaking about her decision Lyndsey said, “For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with animals and nature. So far it has driven me to make some choices in life. Whether that’s deciding to give up meat 6 years ago. Taking part in a Black Rhino conservation project in Zimbabwe. As well as volunteering with rescue animals as much as I can”.

One day she hopes to have her own animal sanctuary, where it’s perfectly acceptable to cuddle animals all day! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
From the beginning of starting Kind Jewels, her vision was to have all pieces animal and earth-friendly. “I don’t use pearls, coral or any other animal products. All packaging used is eco-friendly. I try to source what I can as locally as possible”, said Lyndsey. Being super passionate about ethical/responsible sourcing when it comes to finding gems is very important to Lyndsey.

She is currently offering a FREE GIFT with purchase for every Irish order during this lockdown. This is a small gesture of help and thanks for the support of small businesses.

How to get in touch: Website / Facebook / Instagram

Stone House Organic Shop

Stone House Organic Shop came together from a love of all things natural and organic. With over 20 years of experience in the Hair & Beauty Industry both here and abroad. An established Hair & Beauty Salon in the beautiful countryside of County Laois. As well as the opportunity of working with many different organic brands. It was the natural next step for sisters Mags and Pauline Palmer, to launch this side of their business.

“We have always been conscious of what we put on our skin and hair. What we use topically can have a huge effect on health and the environment around us”.

​After making a conscious decision to only work with ethically sourced organic brands. As well as support local Irish brands and clean organic products. This has enabled them to bring you the most beautifully curated gift boxes.​

Treat yourself to some me-time or gift someone special a part of our beautiful collection of special organic and wellness gift boxes.

How to get in touch: Website / Facebook / Instagram

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