24-year-old Klara O’Leary gave up her secure corporate office job to pursue her dream and business idea and hasn’t looked back since as The Care Box Collection goes from strength to strength.
Ms O’Leary’s company, which is based in Co Wicklow, produces handpicked gift boxes that have a thoughtful and positive meaning for any occasion.
“Essentially we are a wellness gift box company for primarily our online retail and corporate customers. We deliver across Ireland, the UK and the EU at the moment,” Klara told WicklowNews.Net
“Really the whole idea behind the company was to create thoughtful, meaningful and affordable gifts that are easy to access.
“We want to make thoughtful gifting very easy for the consumer.”
Klara said she came up with the idea after struggling to find a gift to send to her friend who was going through a difficult time during the pandemic.
“I didn’t think flowers were appropriate and I couldn’t find anything that really was a hug and a kiss in a box or something more meaningful then,” she said.
Through courage and encouragement from family and friends, Ms O’Leary decided to set up The Care Box Collection.
“I had always wanted to go into business since I was a child but coming out of college I definitely felt I needed a lot more experience and probably more academic qualifications than I had, so I went into a corporate job and then the pandemic hit and I was left in a position where I realised I had an idea that could be a viable business,” she explained.
“I threw my hands up and just said ‘why not? I’ll give it a go’ and I gave it my best shot and thankfully it took off. I have an incredibly supportive network of family and friends that definitely spurred me on.”
“The day I quit my corporate job was quite a scary moment but it was brilliant and I’m very glad that I did it.”
While the company first started shipping in just Ireland, Klara said they now ship to the UK and the rest of the EU as the company has experienced “exponential growth”.
She said it was important for her to make her product available to any consumer and so prices start from just €14.95.
“That was something really important to me when I set up the company that I could create something that was affordable,” she said.
“They’re just token gifts and not every occasion needs an elaborate gift and sometimes all someone needs is just to know that you are thinking of them when they’re having a bad time.”
Ms O’Leary is apart of Network Ireland, an organisation which represents and supports women in business.
Explaining how she became involved, Klara said: “I was delighted to join a women in business program previous to joining Network Ireland and it was actually one of the other women who recommended I join the network.
“The Care Box Collection grew very quickly through the start of last year so it’s really only in the last few months that we’ve expanded the team that I’ve had the time to actually network and get to know other business owners.
“I think a lot of the time for business owners it can be quite isolating most of the time especially if you’re working on your own. I know from myself I went from working in an office with over 700 people to working on my own and it can be quite an adjust and I know a lot of people felt that during the pandemic.
“Having people that understand what you’re going through on a day-to-day basis and the pressures that comes with owning a business is so helpful.”
Asked what her advice is for other women who have a business idea and think it could be a success, Klara said it’s important to ask people for advice and their opinion.
“Start at the beginning. My best advice is to just do it and that doesn’t necessarily mean set up the business and go in blind, it means do your market research, find out more and investigate it. If every box is getting ticket and you’re only getting more and more reasons as to why you should do it, then you’re convincing yourself.
“Ask for people’s advice and their opinions, that is very important. Don’t be scared to do that.”