We chat to sustainable entrepreneur Eoin McGuinness about his brand Crann, the benefits of social media and his hopes for the future
Crann create stylish sunglasses and watches from sustainable materials including recycled plastic and wood that would otherwise go to landfill or end up in our oceans. These materials get reused and reimagined into Crann’s sunglasses and watch collection. The entire product range offered by Crann is an ode to Irish culture and traditions. Crann is the Irish word for tree and so each product carries a unique Irish name that holds a personal significance to Crann Founder Eoin McGuinness.
Eoin, from Co. Meath, Ireland, started Crann in 2018 and wanted to introduce eco-friendly products to a large demographic of Irish consumers. Eoin believes that by upcycling and recycling materials into products he can play his role in the clean up and reduction of waste pollution in the world. “Recycling materials can reduce the consumption of new waste materials, reduce energy usage and ultimately reduce pollution,” says Eoin.
“At Crann, quality and innovation are at the heart of everything we do. We create sleek and minimalistic sunglasses and wrist watches yet we want sustainable and eco-friendly products to be affordable. Customers can make a style statement without breaking the bank or our planet.”
What’s the hardest thing about running your own business?
Trying to fit everything into a 24hour period for me is the hardest part. I guess as a business owner you have to wear a lot of hats which is a time killer honestly I wouldn’t change it at this point.
Where do you find your inspiration?
110% my mam, it’s a bit of a cliché but watching what she did for me and my sisters is the driving force behind everything I do. I have no idea how she even managed to do all, so I guess that gives me the inspiration when I’m having a hard day or feeling stretched I just think Lorna managed to do twice as much with three children!
Do you think social media is a help or a hindrance?
I might be a bit controversial here but I think it’s a help! Let me explain why, we all have total power over the content we consume so if you feel bad about something you see or a comment you get then remove that negativity from your life. There is so much positivity out in so many social media channels. I feel it also brings people closer, right now I’m in Australia and I don’t feel as discounted from home as I would have 15 years ago! I do feel limiting your time is also an important factor on this.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes, I think some entrepreneurs are born and I perfectly fit this mould. From selling fish around a campsite on my summer holidays at 7 to running a disco in my shed at 12 to opening my first “business” at 17 I’ve never really wanted to be anything else. I love the freedom and excitement it brings. Yes, there are cons but for me, I will never be anything other than an entrepreneur.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Listen before you talk. I know many of my family and friends will laugh hard when they read that but I honestly think listening is under-estimated. Take a few seconds to listen to what someone is saying and understand their point of view then speak.
What have you learned over the years?
I’ve been very lucky to work in two amazing tech companies over the past few years as well as working for myself and two things stand out to me the most. Solve for the customer first and never be afraid to ask for help. Two very different things but equally important. If you don’t give a customer the best experience possible, you are only hurting yourself in the long run. If you can make someone happy, go above and beyond and exceed expectations then you’re on to a winner. The second point is something I was terrible at early in my career but now I have realised that I’m not good at everything and there are skilled people out there who are amazing at something I’m terrible at. You don’t have to go it all alone. Partner with the right people, when you don’t know something ask and when you feel down/stressed/lonely speak to people there’s always help around the corner.
If could go back and do it all again would you change anything?
Definitely not for every wrong decision and silly mistakes I have made there has been a blessing at some point in down the line. I feel learning as you go and making mistakes is part of being a true entrepreneur and without them where is the fun of it!
What’s your plans for the future?
Long term I would like to make Crann a household name when it comes to sustainable fashion but for the next two years we are planning on growing our market here in Ireland and the UK as well as in Australia where we launched Crann Australia only this week. We want to help educate people who little changes they make can make a massive impact on the environment and their pockets.
Why is sustainability important to you?
I get asked this a lot and to me it’s simple, to pass on the planet to my children in a better place than we received it. Some of my happiest memories are out in the woods, beaches, and mountains and when I was travelling in South-East Asia or Ireland and you see all the wasted materials or thrown away plastics or clothing or wood. I soon realised there is a little bit of an eco-warrior in me. I wanted to make a difference in the only way I know-how. For me, if we continue the way we are going with over-use of the natural environment we take away from the beauty of what we have been lucky enough to have. We are only visitors here so to me it’s of my duty to protect and conserve what we have.
What would you love to see happen with sustainability in the future?
I would love for people to stop focusing on good marketing and kick “Fast Fashion” out the door along with single-use plastics. If we could do just these two things we would make such a difference. I’d love to see sustainable fashion and reusable materials being cool and the norm. On a personal note, I would like to number of trees being planted to at least double the numbers being used. Right now we cut down 15 billion trees a year and we only plant 5 billion. This needs to change!
What’s your favourite piece?
Can I say them all! I think my favourite sunglasses are the Darach ones, I love the hardwood Oak Temples and they’re simple. From a watch I love the Obair one it’s only new but every time I look at it, it reminds me to work (yes this is a bad Dad joke).
Stockists: Reuzi, Foxrock, Dublin. Contain Coffee, Donegal. Slieve Russell Hotel, Co Cavan