Irish Design Spotlight: VIBO Vision Boards
Set up by Hannah O’Neill, VIBO Vision Boards has popularised vision boarding for Irish consumers (helped in part by one Ms Joanne McNally). Here Hannah takes us through the best business advice she’s ever gotten and what’s in the pipeline next.
Tell us about you and your shop/brand
My name is Hannah O’Neill and I am the founder of VIBO Vision Boards. In June last year, we launched our hero product The VIBO Vision Board Book. It is a first-of-its-kind product that has completely simplified the vision boarding process.
What is your mission?
Our mission is simple. We create the space for people to get clear on what they really want from life, and the confidence to go and make it happen.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Definitely not. VIBO happened when I was in a transitional phase. I had just handed in my notice at a job I was unhappy in. I was making a vision board as part of my usual process for planning my next chapter. To do this, I bought every magazine I could get my hands on, but I could not find the content that was reflective of my ambitions. Frustrated, I started searching for content to make my own vision board and by doing that, pretty organically, VIBO was born. Looking back, I had been really craving creative freedom, and, once I started, I found myself in a happy state of flow. The ideas kept coming, and I kept creating, and the result is The VIBO Vision Board Book! I definitely am more creative and brand-led than entrepreneurial. I am trying to get better at that side of things, but it is a learning curve!
What kind of items do you stock?
Our core product is The VIBO Vision Board Book. Part-workbook, part-content-catalogue, it has everything you need to get clear on your vision and make your vision board. The book takes you through a sequence of coaching-style exercises, which guide you in establishing your values, and setting out your goals and ambitions. Then, with over 1,000 aesthetically themed images to choose from, you can create your vision board. We sometimes say it is like a printed version of Pinterest! We have two additional products: a hand-finished solid wood frame, which is made by a family-run business in Clonakilty, Co. Cork, and a 5-day online mediation course that was designed to support the vision boarding process. We partnered with yoga teacher, Yoga With Kate on this.
Was money/funding a concern when starting out?
Absolutely, it was and still is! VIBO is completely self-funded, which can be pretty scary. I have a really clear picture for what VIBO can be and where I know it can go, but at the moment there is such a gap between the big ideas that I have for the brand and the resources that I have to achieve them. For me, it is an equation of time, energy and money. That means being strategic with where I invest the funds that we do have, and, where I can’t invest money, I focus on investing my energy and time in developing the skills myself.
Best business advice you’ve gotten
A real learning for me was that if you wait for perfection you are robbing yourself of a valuable chance to learn and grow. The earlier you start, the more you know, and the faster you can go. In practice, what that looked like for me was a distinct shift away from viewing things as right or wrong, good or bad, success or failure, and instead accepting that your business is in a constant state of evolution. It is about being where you are and using that to fuel how you move forward.
Favourite fashion/design accounts you follow
I adore Miss She’s Got Knits! I love her approach to slow fashion. Her pieces are timeless, original and so much fun! I love Aisling Kavanagh Design, I think she is such a talented creator in both her design and her content. Aoife McNamara is sensational. Aoife Ireland is such a deeply considered brand, Aoife’s ethos shines through every single piece that she makes and she is a fantastic storyteller. I am also lucky to have grown up beside Folkster in Kilkenny and it has always been my go-to for any special occasion – it never lets me down. There is a great energy around greens are good for you who are making aspirational pieces accessible and affordable with their rental service! Lia Cowan’s designs are also absolutely breathtaking!
Best fashion purchase
You can’t go wrong with a pair of well-fitting jeans!
Other Irish brands you love
I love Ciara O’Neill art, I want a piece for every wall! Cliodhna Doherty is another incredible Irish artist who I really admire! For jewellery, Angela Scanlon’s frkl is oozing with personality – everything is fun to wear and fun to gift. Betty and Biddy is another go-to, they always have the exact necklace that I am looking for! Foodie brands would have to be Harry’s Nut Butter and White Mausu – both to me are absolute stand-out products and stand-out brands. Magic Earth is an Irish Cacao brand I love… a cup of their cacao is my favourite way to start the day. Reuzi is brilliant for all things sustainable. The Crate are an amazing Irish flower delivery brand who have an extremely sustainable approach, offering just one style bunch of flowers every week. The flowers are joyful, the packaging is stunning, and most importantly, they give incredibly generous space to write a message so they always make the perfect gift. I love buying Irish brands, and I especially love gifting Irish brands!
Most useful learning since setting up a business
I saw a quote that was shared by the influencer Tinx, I am not sure of the original source or the exact wording, but the sentiment was about measuring your success not by the flowers in bloom, but by the seeds that you sow. That has been such an important learning and mindset shift for me. When you have a business, you show up every day with all of this energy and ambition for your brand, but there are days, sometimes weeks, when it feels like you aren’t making enough progress or moving fast enough. This quote reminds me to be patient (which doesn’t come naturally to me), to keep focusing on creating the best experience for our customers, to stay true to the brand vision, and to trust the process.
Proudest moment so far
Oh wow, there have been so many, but a major one was when Joanne McNally posted about us! Joanne features in The Vision Board Book in an illustration series by Dublin illustrator Niamh Eile Design. Often people like to put pictures of role models on their vision board, so we created the series to feature eight Irish women with truly authentic visions. Joanne was a perfect choice for this. After she posted, we sold out twice in two weeks! It was a huge milestone that came at just the right time, and I will be forever grateful for it. I also have such a moment of pride every time somebody shares a picture of a vision board that they have created with VIBO. Or when people send us DMs to tell us about the realisation they made by going through the process, the positive changes they have made in order to create their vision, or when we hear stories of things from people’s vision boards coming to fruition. Every one of those moments means the world to me!
I want my brand to be remembered for… how it made people feel – which I hope is brave enough to set audacious goals and bold enough to take the actions needed to make them happen.
Tell us about your yoga and vision boarding day retreat… this is going to be such a fun day! This is the first time that we are bringing people together as a brand so we are really excited. Together with yoga and meditation teacher Erica Bracken, we have created a truly magical and special experience. The first time I went to a vision boarding workshop was about five years ago and it was a bit of a disaster! On that day, I did not stick a single image to my vision board. I had been feeling so far removed from myself, that, when given the opportunity to think about what I wanted from my life, I realised that I had absolutely no idea. I left with a blank vision board, feeling confused and disappointed. That has been a huge driver of how and why we created this event. We have put our hearts and souls into making it a fully holistic experience. Through yoga and meditation with Erica, guests will be guided to really connect within. Then, from that place of connection, we will begin the vision boarding workshop. Guests will be guided through the day with openness and ease. There is a powerful energy that comes from vision boarding as a group, and from the feedback we have gotten from those who have bought tickets; people are most excited to be in a room discussing their goals and ambitions, and being supported by like-minded people. There are still a couple of tickets left, you can grab them here.