...Making It Happen

Duck Blue - Creating 'Cards you want to keep'

Duck Blue -  Creating 'Cards you want to keep'

Duck Blue photo


Entrepreneur: Ruth Cahill

Business Name: Duck Blue

Business Location: Maynooth


Established in: 2009

Famous for: Creating 'Cards you want to keep...' - sold in retail up and down the country. Illustrating the children's book 'Our Baby has Sixty-Five Roses.' Former Chairperson of Original Kildare


Tell us about your business and what you do….

I am an illustrator who has a small studio in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Each day I draw and paint small watercolour and pen designs and these drawings become the designs for my cards and prints. I love what I do and I have enjoyed building my business up from a part time business to what it is today. All the cards and prints are designed, printed and packaged in my studio by myself. 


What can you tell us about the early days and how it all started?

My first child was born with a chronic illness and life took a turn I never expected. I knew the daily 3-hour commute to and from Dublin was no longer for me so I set up my own business. Being a carer and mother meant for many years I could only work part time, but over this time I grew my business. I made mistakes, I learnt from them, I also learnt what customers and retailers wanted. It was very much a slow and steady expansion for me. In 2020 I set up my e-commerce website with the help of the LEO and the trading online voucher and the rest is history. New medicines for my child meant a more stable life and in 2021 I went full time in my business. 


What were the high points and low points when you were a start-up?

Illustrating the book and launching it in 2019 was a real highpoint personally but for my business launching my website and being selected to go to Showcase 2022 with Kildare LEO was the real highpoint.

What was your big ‘break-through’ moment?

In August 2020 Ryan Tubridy on this RTE Radio 1 show gave my business a big shout out and this really was the turning point for my business. Still to this day customers say to me that was the first time they heard of Duck Blue. 

Local Enterprise Office Kildare has supported your business. Tell us about these supports and what impact they have had?

LEO have helped me so much. From the first courses I did, 'Start your own business', 'Taxes', 'Social Media' etc to bigger courses like the Building Craft and Design Enterprise programme and the LEADER/LEO course which lead to the creation of Original Kildare and most recently Kildare Creatives Course and mentoring. Through each course be it a day or one over several months I have learnt so much. In particular the Building Craft and Design Enterprise programme. This course pivoted my business to what it is today. Lastly, being selected to do Showcase in Feb 2022 was invaluable to my business.


Has COVID or Brexit affected how you do business?

In fact COVID helped my business as I launched my website in the first lockdown when everyone was online shopping. So over the past two years people have realised how easy and helpful it is to shop online for things like cards and for gifts like card boxes or prints.

What’s next on the business agenda for your company?

Keep expanding into retail and creating new designs weekly for my online customers who are so loyal to me.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about running a business?

Get in touch with your LEO, do the courses, network, get mentoring and most importantly speak to an expert about your pricing. If your prices are not right your business will not grow. You need to enjoy what you do but make a living too. 

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