Sweet Succession

10th May 2021

Posted In: The Interview

A simple ring doughnut, still warm from the fryer and tossed in granulated sugar, served in a white paper bag from a Kiosk on O’Connell Street was love at first bite for Lisa Quinlan.

Her Father, Michael Quinlan, set up The Rolling Donut in 1978 and since 2012, Lisa has taken the business to new heights, dressing her donuts for success. Lisa spotted the trend for filled donuts and created an imaginative range of handcrafted sourdough & vegan donuts as aesthetically pleasing as they are tasty.  She was on a roll with multiple outlets and poised to go nationwide when covid-19 shut everything down overnight.

Like many others, Lisa had to reimagine her whole business and shift quickly into online deliveries to keep the business afloat.

“I was really shocked and never imagined the restrictions would continue for so long or that the virus would become such a global health crisis with the whole world living under some form of lockdown,” she admits. “I guess, like many people, I tried my best to adapt my business and remained as optimistic as possible.”

It was during this time that Lisa decided to take a leap of faith to set up a new sister company for The Rolling Donut and Very Berry was born.

“It was quite a rollercoaster of a year but there were some positives in that it gave me time to really focus on the online business which took off massively for us. I think orders online are here to stay but I can’t wait to get all my staff back to work and enjoy the excitement of busy retail life again,” she acknowledges.

Very Berry is a deliciously decadent collection of fresh, juicy Irish strawberries generously dipped and drizzled in rich chocolate ganache and adorned with pearl chocolates, gold leaf, edible flowers and sweet surprises. The crunch of deluxe hand-made Belgian chocolate coating and the luscious texture of a sweet strawberry is a proper match made in heaven.

The inspiration for Very Berry came from Lisa’s lifelong love of strawberries, a desire to support other Irish businesses and work with celebrated Irish ingredients.  The strawberries come from Pat Clarke of Clarkes Fresh Fruit in Stamullen, Co Meath who stem pick their strawberries, ensuring superior quality and sustainability.

Lisa is passionate about business and loves the interactions it brings – “I’m very lucky to have made such great friends through business some of them being suppliers of both Very Berry and Rolling Donut and I love nothing more than to meet them regularly and chat about the day-to-day running of a business or share our thoughts on new ventures coming up. We thrive off each other’s energy and excitement. I live for it!” she declares.

In line with the Very Berry sustainability and zero waste plan, any strawberries that are not used will be made into strawberry jam and sold online as well as in Lisa’s Wildflower Café in Ratoath. The chocolate ganache used on the strawberries has been perfected in-house by a team of confectioners. Adornments and ingredients come from Sweet Stamp and Sugar Sisters, both young dynamic Irish companies, as well as O’Brien’s Ingredients, another well-known Irish company.

“The pandemic gave us all a chance to reflect and slow down a little, take stock of what we have and think of others.  I think it is very important to support Irish businesses as we emerge from this pandemic to help get people back to work again.”

The pretty packaging is all made from recyclable materials and Very Berry is the only producer in the business offering next day delivery (currently in Dublin only).

“Sustainability and Zero Waste is the future,” she says, “It has to be.”

“The world is not getting smaller, population growth will continue, our resources are finite and we need to make this planet a sustainable home for all.  As conscious consumers and businesses, we have the power to adopt a lifestyle that will contribute to a natural, beautiful and sustainable future.”

Currently there are four Very Berry options available. The Very Berry LUXE range has beautiful embellishments, gold leaf, pearl chocolates and edible flowers with stunning pastel coloured chocolate ideal for summer occasions.  Lisa takes inspiration for the names & colours of these boxes from flowers & nature like Pretty in Pink, Glistening in Gold, Blue Azure, and Garden of Vegan.

The Very Berry Pastel Skies range with unicorns is luxurious, delicately handcrafted and carefully pieced together – perfect for children’s birthdays, Confirmations and Communions.

The Very Berry Death by Chocolate box has proven to be the most popular with customer favourites like double dipped kinder & chocolate, Biscoff & Terry’s chocolate, Reeces pieces, Oreo, Malteser and many more.

“I am really excited about the country opening up again and I can’t wait to showcase my new Very Berry offering in a retail setting,” says Lisa. “I’m also really looking forward to the reaction to our Corporate Very Berry offering. We include edible company logos on each strawberry with the option to customise each box for a great corporate gift, summer event or incentive.  We are already getting orders for corporate gifts and we can customise them for all sorts of occasions like hen parties, baby showers, weddings and events when restrictions lift.”

Lisa is also looking to expand The Rolling Donut and is currently in negotiations for new locations both within and outside of Dublin. For now though, these Very Berry delectable delights are available from www.VeryBerry.ie