Meet The Entrepreneur: Belinda Cullen – Good Craic Gifts and Souvenirs

Belinda Cullen (44)  originally from Australia now lives in Rostrevor Co. Down and owns Good Craic Gifts and Souvenirs, a fabulous little gift and souvenir shop celebrating all things Irish and Mournes. It stocks loads of locally made pieces plus the best, silliest and fun gifts Bellinda can find around the world.

She is passionate about helping new/less professional artists make some money from their work.

Before launching her business, Bellinda worked with a circus, then with a financial planning company and most recently as the head cook at a missionary training centre.

Find out more about Bellinda and her brand:

How did you come up with the idea for your business?

I realised that if I went home to Australia I would want souvenirs of Rostrevor. There was no such thing! So I created a whole range of t-shirts and hoodies…. then I made postcards, magnets and mugs and before I knew it artists started bringing me things to sell. For a small village we are well celebrated now!!!

Who/What inspired you to start your business?

I was running a small snackbar for the missions community I lived in, selling chocolate bars etc and the leader said I obviously had a gift with business. It was a fairly successful fundraiser. I decided he was right and so Good Craic Gifts was born!!

Who is your target market?

Locals sending gifts overseas or after something local, visitors to the Mournes area and anyone who fancies a gift that is a little different. People who love to support their local community.

What gap in the market does your business fill?

I am VERY enthusiastic about my area! As a blow in who has been adopted I love celebrating the culture I’ve landed in. Mine might be the funnest shop you ever visit. I often share a good laugh while people find the perfect gift. It really is good craic!

Have you received any significant funding for your business? If so can you reveal it and tell us what different it made to the business?

No. My mum helped me buy the property and I’ve done it all myself. I did get some unexpected support from the govt during the pandemic which has helped a lot.

Who are your main competitors and what do you think sets your company apart from them?

There are lots of craft shops and lots of souvenir shops. You don’t see many who blend handmade with a range of other gifts. Nor many run by such a passionate Australian.

What is your vision for the company over the next few years?

I hope to open a second shop. I really want to create employment for others in addition to the money I pay local artists for sale of their products. I also plan to keep adding products to my online shop and keep creating lots of new products celebrating the glorious Mourne region.

What are the main achievements of the company so far?

I recently released the Good Craic Guide to Rostrevor and the Mournes- a free 40 page guide to visiting this area. It was designed to support loads of small tourism businesses here plus make it easier for visitors to find fun things to do. I printed 600 but they were gone super fast so I printed more!

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?

Work with others but find those where it is a win/win. There are a lot of people who just want you to do things to help their business with no sense of actually working together. Together we really are stronger! Business in this country really does run on relationships so invest in them!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a business?

Keep your expenses low, especially monthly ongoing fees. That will give you a much better chance of success. You don’t need custom branded tissue paper or expensive displays to get started. When you start making money you can upgrade. By then you’ll have a better idea of what you actually need anyway.

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