In a day and age where video games and television are winning the hearts and minds of children, Jade Goodfellow is providing an outdoor alternative which not only promotes health and social interaction with other children but the most critical ingredient to securing the attention of any youngster; fun. She sat down with advertiser.ie to chat about the development and growth of her business, Zip-Lines Ireland, being the only female zip-line constructor in Europe, and the organising of the first trail run at Monivea Woods.
Zip-Lines Ireland was launched in April 2014 by Bohermore native, Jade Goodfellow, when she was researching outdoor activities for her own children. "I was looking for activities for my own children to do outdoors because a lot of children these days spend their time in front TV screens instead of being outside, playing and creating memories. I came across an American website which was selling domestic zip-lines and after some research, I discovered that there was no business in Ireland specialising in zip-lines for a domestic setting and after contacting manufacturers and working out logistics, Zip-Lines Ireland was registered."
Working out of her home in Athenry, Jade's entrepreneurial spirit and success have been recognised with multiple awards including Best Young Business Person in 2016 and Most Creative Website in 2017 from the Micro Business Awards. "It is always nice to see your efforts and hard work acknowledged," says Jade. "I am always looking for ways to improve the business and the products that Zip-Lines Ireland have to offer. I source my products from all over the world including the USA and China."
This innovation, drive, and determination to raise the standards that have been set by Zip-Lines Ireland are best espoused by the launching of Jade's own ZLI branded zip-lines with newly designed trolleys.
"The kits are stronger than regular zip-lines," explains Jade. "What I found was that zip-lines were catering for children with a maximum weight of eight stone. Children are obviously bigger and taller these days so there is a need for zip-lines that can accommodate more weight. ZLI zip-lines can hold 17 stone so even grown-ups can have a bit of fun with them as well. We added plastic on the ends of the cable that connects to the trees in order to protect the bark.
"Last year I also expanded Zip-Lines Ireland's services range by introducing commercial zip-lines. Domestic zip-lines are easy to install but commercial lines need a little bit of extra expertise to set up, so we will call round to the premises and complete the installation ourselves."
Delving into the world of commercial zip-lines led Jade to find out that she was the only female zip-line constructor in the whole of Europe. "A commercial zip-line inspector came over from the UK to inspect my first zip-line construction in Cork and that was when he informed me that I was the only woman in my area in Europe. It was definitely a surprise."
Looking to the future Jade hopes to expand the business by exporting her products abroad as well as designing new products like the Hang Time Slackline. But first she is looking forward to hosting the first trail run In Monivea Woods with Trail Kids on April 29.
"Kevin (owner of Trail Kids ) would have been a previous customer of mine. We discussed an idea of a joint activity event for children and we came up with the idea of the trail run at Monivea Woods. There will be three sessions; session one for five to six-year-olds; session two for seven to 10-year-olds; and session three for 11 to 13-year-olds."
The date the run takes place is special for Jade and Zip-Lines Ireland as it is the four year anniversary of the launching of the business. "It is great to celebrate the anniversary of the business with this event. Kevin and I are looking forward to the day and we hope plenty of people will come along to enjoy it."