What a journey it has been … it all started back in 2005 with a table, a big umbrella and a huge amount of passion. We took over our parents’ kitchen table, cooking up big pots of homemade soup
surrounded by the smell of freshly baked scones and carting them off down the Coal Quay to be sold at the farmers’ market.
The seed for JOUP was planted in 2001 when I was on my J1 student visa in Seattle. I was taken by the juice bar concept and the idea of healthy yet convenient food. My idea was to adapt this juice bar idea to soup more suitable to Irish weather.
The idea really sparked a lifelong interest in food and I began to research the market. The more I looked into the food industry the more driven I became to provide Cork people with an alternative to mass produced food. We called it the “food revolution”. Our mission: To provide local, natural and handmade food in a fast and convenient way.
This food concept went on to win many awards including the Student Enterprise Award and I went on to do a Masters in Entrepreneurship with the management and marketing department in UCC. It wasn’t until 2005 when Orna, my sister came on board and we literally went to market with JOUP. I was to learn there is a big difference between a business plan and the reality of business.
The early hours and hard work of having a stall on 2 farmers’ markets (not to mention battling the Irish weather!). The need to do everything ourselves in order to get the business off the ground: from cooking; to accounts; to marketing. The relentless belief and energy you need to have in yourself and your ideas in order to get over the many barriers to starting your business. Charming bank managers and Cork City Council members in order to secure a stall in the English Market. Learning on the job how to recruit and manage staff. Changing your skill set as your business moves from a start-up to a growing business. And to know that every day each customer is a blessing and not a guarantee.
We have survived tough times in the economy over the past 10 years and we put it down to providing an honest food service and not over-stretching ourselves too much when the times were good. We have a loyal and discerning customer base that understands the importance of supporting local.
We now face new challenges with our business 10 years later. Adapting the business to our own changing life circumstances and to the fast-paced online world. I have 3 young children and I’m conscious of balancing family life with work. I want to be at home with my children but also do something for myself and what I’m really passionate about.
Orna is also on new adventures starting a new business in holistic massage, her original field of study. She’s a student of a unique tribal massage in Hawaii and has brought this technique back to the people of Cork, whilst still contributing to the success of JOUP.
We are excited with what the future holds and with the launch of our new website, blog and online shop.
I’m looking forward to sharing recipes and foods that inspire me and my family, cooking and activities with kids, general musings on life, being a mum and the ins and outs of running a small business.
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