It’s been a difficult year for Irish business. This International Women’s Day 2021, we’re shining a light on the businesswomen in Ireland that we admire. Fairy Elle is a magical companion to help kids grow up strong.
What is your name, and what is your business?
My name is Therese Wright and my business is Fairy Elle. She is a wellness doll and whether she’s taking worries or comforting children at night, she’s the perfect magical companion to help kids grow up strong.
How long have you been in business? And what was your mission from the outset?
With anxiety on the rise I believe addressing issues at a young age gives kids the best chance to become resilient and help them feel more secure.
Fairy Elle started by chance rather than design really. I have four kids. It all started with bedtime stories. I used to make up a story of a fairy (we called her Fairy Elle) who had adventures. We’d bring things into the stories that were happening in our lives and Fairy Elle had a great way of making things work out for the best. These stories really helped my kids in so many ways, so I decided to develop Fairy Elle to help other children too.
Designing Fairy Elle to go to sleep when you turn her over was the eureka moment and pivotal to her concept and uniqueness (children let Fairy Elle sleep by day and wake her at night to take their worries as they sleep). We then wrote the story and finally late 2019 we got our first shipment and launched her at the Gifted Fair in the RDS along with help from my fab cousin Barbara.
Of what part of your business are you most proud?
The letters and emails I get back all the time. I love to hear about the children that Fairy Elle has helped. I’ve heard the most incredible, heart warming (and heart breaking) stories from parents. Fairy Elle has managed to offer some comfort to these children along with helping them open up about how they are feeling. Every story I’m excited by and to know Fairy Elle played a part in helping these children makes me very proud.
Who are your business heroes? Personal heroes?
I love businesses that take something normal and make something new from them. The Irish example I love is the Irish Fairy Door company and also love the (controversial) Elf on the shelf. Both of these companies made something so simple into the craze they are today with a simple and clear vision. I actually hounded the Local Enterprise Office until they allowed me to access Niamh Sherwin Barry as a mentor (of which I’m very grateful for, thanks Niamh and thanks LEO). She’s been an inspiration when developing the Fairy Elle brand.
My personal heroes are my kids, all four of them. I wish I’d had the confidence they have when I was their age. I’d love to tell you about how incredible each of them are, but want you to keep reading too – lol.
How have you found the last six months? – professionally and personally
I’m a graphic designer originally and the past few months have been slow on that front, however, I’m still at my computer 24/7 creating content and developing the Fairy Elle brand. I could never in a million years anticipate the amount of work that went into having your own brand. But it’s starting to pay off as the word is spreading and people are buying her for little ones in their lives.
What keeps you positive?
Being able to work for myself. I’ve been very lucky and have been my own boss for 20 years. I’m definitely happier at home too and since having my 2nd child 13 years ago, I moved my office home. Fairy Elle, being all about positivity, also keeps me positive. I write a lot about positivity on Instagram and I’m on a particular high when I’m packing up my orders, so to all those customers who I’ve said thank you to, I really mean it from the bottom of my heart. The satisfaction I get from knowing people believe in Fairy Elle and the positivity she can bring makes it all worthwhile.
What new perspective (if any) have you gained from 2020?
New businesses take time, especially a new concept. If I’d simply wanted a change in career, I’d have started selling other people’s products, but I’m passionate about the benefits children can experience through the power of their own minds with the help of Fairy Elle. I’ve lots of ideas for new products and I’m sorry to those who thought I’d have the ‘boy’ version this year, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for next year.
Best/worst moment from the last year?
I started fostering kittens and getting them is pure joy, however giving them away to their new adoptive owners is the worst. It’s probably one of the only times my kids have seen me cry – I’m usually hard as nails (ha ha).
Other good things were getting grants from the Local Enterprise Office and Facebook. But probably the saddest was my aunt’s funeral where a limited number could attend.
Another Irish business you want to shine a spotlight on?
I’m a big fan of Lottie Dolls (Ian Harkin) from Letterkenny who are all about giving positive messages to kids, promoting leadership in girls, encouraging STEM careers and making children’s voices heard. Their messages are very powerful. They must be proud to know they’ve played a part in changing mindsets all over the world.
I’m also really impressed by Carol Ann Laydon from CA Design and the way she’s grown her interior design business and drool over her every item and every Instagram post. One day, I’d love to add Carol Ann’s magic touch in my home.
Anything else you would like to let us know?
Fairy Elle comes with a notepad to let her know how you’re feeling and by writing it helps children work through thoughts. She comes with a ‘Promise’ that both child and Fairy Elle sign. When children see her signature they know she’s ready to help them. There is also the book and a spray bottle to create the magic. Bedtime routines are really useful to wind down and kids love the ritual with the magic and waking up Fairy Elle. I’m also keen to create a limited edition version, handmade in Ireland, next year.
I’ve lots more plans for other wellness toys, but one step at a time. We support Irish charity To Children with Love and am a huge admirer of founder Debbie Deegan. I’m blown away by her passion and love for children and urge any one support them if they can,