Helena Golden - Willow Woman


Entrepreneur: Helena Golden

Location: Leitrim Village, County Leitrim 

Established: 2019 

Famous For: Willow basketry products, Workshops and Classes

Supports received from Leitrim LEO: Start your Own Business Course, Trading Online Voucher, Sales & Marketing Workshops / Training courses

  • About Helena Golden Willow

Located in Leitrim Village along the banks of the Shannon Blueway, Helena Golden draws inspiration from her idyllic Leitrim roots. Helena began basket making in a recreational capacity 10 years ago and quickly became hooked on this ancient craft. She went on to develop a range of products for market and with a master’s degree in communications, she commenced her Basket Making Courses which have received national acclaim.

Also known as the Willow Woman, Helena creates stunning hand-woven baskets and unique home-ware items using sustainably grown willow. Helena delivers workshops, both online and in-person, giving participants the skills to weave their own practical and decorative home-ware items such as bread baskets, blackberry baskets, bird feeders, garden obelisks and plant pots.

  • Challenges you faced when starting:

Helena faced similar challenges to most Entrepreneurs when starting and believes her engagement in the Start Your Own Business Programme has been crucial to her success and development. The programme introduced Helena to a support network of mentors and fellow entrepreneurs which meant she was not alone – “There is always someone to turn to for advice and ideas whenever required”.

  • Key success factors:

Helena identifies her ability to deliver an ancient and traditional craft in a modern, accessible manner as being key to her success. The introduction of Online Willow Weaving Workshops meant that Helena was not only able to offer her key service during the pandemic but also to a much wider audience. Helena has brought people from all over Ireland together to learn the craft of willow weaving via zoom. She has also worked with various community groups and the feedback is wonderful with most online participants booking onto in-person classes and workshops as restriction permit.

  • Impacts of Covid-19:

The sudden impact of Covid-19 meant Helena had to quickly adapted her business to address the implications of not being able to carry out in-person classes and workshops. She began offering a range of Online Willow Weaving Workshops as she identified the value of keeping people connected, active and creative. Willow Weaving is a relaxing, therapeutic craft and at the end of a workshop, you have a created a piece of functional traditional craft such as a plant pot, vase or bird feeder.

Since the onset of Covid 19, Helena Golden Willow Woman has featured in the Irish Independent Hotlist. Irish Country Living Magazine and BBC Radio Ulster Farming Matters. She is also a member of the Irish Basketmakers Association and the Design and Craft Council of Ireland.

  • Where you can purchase products from Helena Golden Willow:

Helena’s beautiful Willow baskets and products can be purchased online through her website – https://helenagoldenwillow.ie/. Her basket making classes are available both Online and in-person. Helena has also developed a range of make-at-home Willow Craft Kits which come with illustrated instructions and a link to a video tutorial. A gift of a Willow Craft Kit or a Willow Weaving Class is a unique and thoughtful present that will provide creative activity culminating with a hand-crafted memento at the end.

  • Why Helena believes it is important to #LookForLocal 

Having grown up and spent most of her working life in Leitrim, Helena is passionate about being able to put her knowledge, skills and experience to use for the benefit of her local area. “It’s a privilege to be able to complement the list of attributes that Leitrim has to offer” she declares proudly.

For further information on Helena Golden Willow

Contact:              Helena Golden

Email:                  thewillowwoman@gmail.com

Website:             https://helenagoldenwillow.ie/

Helena Golden Willow