Faerly is an Irish online destination for sustainable living. It is founded by couple James Byrne and Eoin Houlihan from Kildare, Ireland, who are passionate about supporting local and Irish makers.
Their mutual appreciation and respect for nature, wildlife, and biodiversity have led them to create an online store that supports mostly Irish independent brands and helps others to make small, positive changes in their everyday life.
With their core principles in mind – like zero-waste, ethical sourcing, and cruelty-free – James and Eoin have selected Irish eco-friendly brands and products made from natural ingredients, from brands they believe in.
When to start a business
Up until recently, James worked in Digital Marketing and eCommerce for a well-known Irish brand for 10 years, so his background and knowledge helped him to get his business idea off the ground.
Faerly began to take shape during the first national COVID lockdown in Ireland in early May 2020. The additional free time from retail closures and restrictions meant that James and Eoin could focus on starting a new business and explore their business idea with enthusiasm.
A great part of being an employee at the same time as running your own business is having a support network while you are getting your business set up. Being able to use what you have learned professionally and apply it to your own business is a huge advantage.
Starting your own online business gives you a sense of ownership and responsibility over more aspects of business than you have ever been exposed to before.
“For the first couple of months, I had to balance being an employee and setting up Faerly – which was challenging in the beginning.
Then, when Faerly started to grow, with the support of my employer I gradually reduced my working hours, and now, I have moved to full-time self-employment.”
Where to start
Before Faerly came to the market, James attended an online Start Your Own Business course part-time with his Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in Kildare. Using their practical support and his own experience in the retail and eCommerce industry, James could nail down the commercial aspects such as costs, margins, and pricing.
Finding suppliers that aligned with James and Eoin’s values was the biggest job during their startup journey. Most of their suppliers are Irish businesses who are crafting handmade products, and anything that they can’t source from Ireland is sourced throughout the EU.
While James was searching for suppliers online, he came across a Client Story Feature for Hawthorn Handmade Skincare on Accountant Online. James got in touch with Elaine to discuss a potential supplier relationship and if they would recommend Accountant Online as an online accountant for online eCommerce stores.
When I started looking for an accountant, I was looking for a small, local accountancy firm near us.
“I thought of an accountant as one person and one point of contact, but I couldn’t find anyone locally online that I felt was a fit, and I certainly couldn’t find any information on who their clients were or if they could support an online retail store like mine. When I came across Accountant Online, I appreciated how I could see real clients and team members. I now have an expert team helping me with each aspect of running the financial side of my company – a dedicated accountant, a Company Secretarial team, a VAT team, and a Payroll team.”
1) Communicating with Accountant Online
“Communications with Accountant Online are good, very professional, and I’m glad that I have a team with expertise in specific areas because I know that I am getting all the information correctly and up-to-date.”
“For example, when I’m speaking to someone on the VAT Team, I know that they are knowledgeable on the ins and outs of the technical VAT system.”
“The relationship with our accountants, Tom and Eoin, has also been great. I can use our meetings to ask for advice, rather than it being taken up by technical compliance matters.”
2. Using Xero online accounting software
“When we were just starting out, I attended the Xero webinar which was very good. Getting set up on Xero and HubDoc was brilliant for me. I don’t use a bookkeeper at the moment – I do all the bookkeeping myself and I only have a finite amount of time. So, I found that Xero is great, and it has sped up our processes considerably.”
3. Attending webinars
“I have attended a few webinars, and I think it’s great that I can register for them at any stage and get the link afterward in case I miss it. It’s brilliant that Accountant Online is continuously running webinars that can support me as I need it and they become more relevant as a grow. For example, the webinar on how to pay yourself wasn’t on my radar initially and now, thanks to Accountant Online’s webinar, it is.”
4. Working with an online accounting firm
“I would recommend Accountant Online to my friends and colleagues. I have had a good experience with them – the onboarding process is done online and it’s very smooth and professional. I get a digital copy of everything, and I really benefit from their digital processes as I don’t need to store paperwork or send paperwork into their offices.”
“Tom, as my principal in charge, has deep knowledge when I’ve needed it. For example, I’m currently looking into an investment scheme and I’m glad that he knows the ins and outs of it, which has been very reassuring.”