Marjorie O’Malley, Co-founder of Achill Island Sea Salt

3rd August 2015

Posted In: Women Who Launch
Achill Island Sea Salt

Every month we speak to women entrepreneurs who have just launched into the business world.

In the hot seat for August’s Women Who Launch is: Marjorie O’Malley, Co-founder of Achill Island Sea Salt.

The Elevator Pitch

Achill Island Sea Salt was founded in July 2013, reviving the long forgotten tradition of salt production on the island.


The Operation

The company is currently operating from a pilot plant in Keel, Achill, Co. Mayo. We hope to upscale this year to an Údarás na Gaeltachta Factory on Achill Island; develop our export potential and increase employees.


The Financials

The business is financed from a variety of sources – personal investment; grant aid for equipment from Mayo Local Enterprise Office for the Pilot plant; an AIB Business Loan. We also received a Competitive Start Fund from Enterprise Ireland. Achill Island Sea Salt was revenue generating from inception.


Target Market

Our target market is the ABC1 demographic and in particular, the serious cook. High-end restaurants whose budget allows them to source high quality local produce and who value the provenance of produce. Also the souvenir/gift sector is on our radar, especially the Achill and County Mayo diaspora. Our sea salt will enhance the flavour of any dish and gives our customers a taste of Achill in every flake!


Brands You Love

Lir Chocolates; Nobo Ice cream; Barry’s Tea and Apple.


Biggest ‘Win’ to date

Featuring on RTE’s ‘Ear to the Ground’ and obviously my three children.


Biggest ‘Slap in the Face’

Running out of labels with a big order ready to go.


Are You Social when it comes to Media?

Twitter put us on the map in the first instance when ‘Ear to the Ground’ picked up our story from a food blogger on twitter. Many of our customers found us through our website. Our twitter feed which is linked to facebook, Instagram and the website has been invaluable in growing our business.


Technology & Innovation

Innovations in renewable energy will play a big part in our business in the future. Energy cost is the largest outlay in salt production in the northern hemisphere as we are unable to avail of solar evaporation. The market for innovative sea salt blends is ever increasing so the challenge for Achill Island Sea Salt will be to create original blends.


A Business Model You would like to Emulate

The family business model is perfect. This model is widely seen as the backbone of the economy. Family businesses create wealth, provide jobs, are locally rooted and connected to their communities. They seem to be around for long periods of time.

In a family business, you can think about something in the morning and begin working on it in the afternoon, the family is a natural team. Trust is essential in all businesses, family members can talk to each other very freely and openly. The ability to be fearlessly and emotionally honest can help a family business thrive.


If you had a blank cheque

– Build a state of the art, Sea Salt Visitor Centre on Achill Island right beside the shore.

– Invest in an international marketing campaign to promote Achill Sea Salt worldwide.

– Produce a variety of sea salt blends and sell these in premium packaging.


Best Traits

– Ability to work independently or in a team

– Multi tasker

– Strong communication skills


Worst Traits

– Impatience

– Procrastination

– Time Management


Best Business Lunch Date

Although too busy for business lunches, I’d love to have one with self-made billionaire Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook.


Best Advice to pass on

A set back is never a bad experience – it’s just a learning curve, so address solutions not problems. Trust your instincts, know what you want, and believe in your ability to achieve it.


(Pictured L-R: Marjorie and her daughter Maebh.