Designer Sabine Lenz of Enibas Jewellery
makes silver and gold jewellery inspired by her love of all things Irish.
Below, she speaks to House of Ireland
about balancing creativity and finance in business, about her love of the Irish language and why trusting your gut feeling is
the key to success.
What inspired you to take that initial leap into starting your own business? How did it come about?
Twenty-six years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, I met my husband while hitch-hiking around Ireland (I am originally from Germany). We fell in love and I moved to Ireland 6 months later. He is an accountant and was running a construction firm at the time that went bust in the recession. We needed to make money and he encouraged me to make a business out of my hobby.
How do you balance the creativity and design element of running a business with day to day finance, sales and marketing?
I really enjoy building the Enibas brand from a creative standpoint, including marketing campaigns and social media, to point of sale material and packaging. I also understand that financials are the backbone of success in a business but mostly I leave that to my husband, who is an accountant by trade.
Do you feel there is enough support for aspiring businesses in the design industry? How can this be improved in your opinion?
The Crafts Council of Ireland is very supportive especially to up and coming designers. They were with us when we started off, providing training courses, bursaries and financial support to visit fairs etc. The same goes for the Local Enterprise Office; we got mentoring and financial assistance from them. I believe that if you really want to make a success out of your creative talent and are driven and hard-working, it will happen for you. However, it takes time and the beginning can be tough.
“Repeat what works, change what doesn’t and trust your gut feeling. Women are often very intuitive and great multitaskers, which is a huge advantage when starting out.”
What is one thing you have learned as a small business owner (and woman in particular) that has served you well over the years?
Repeat what works, change what doesn’t and trust your gut feeling. Women are often very intuitive and great multi taskers, which is a huge advantage when starting out.
What achievements are you most proud of? What challenges have you had to overcome?
I am proud that although I am not Irish from birth, the Irish language itself has become our signature design element. It is humbling to see the love people have for the Irish language and how much they treasure Enibas. I feel hugely grateful.
I have faced a lot of challenges: overcoming my shyness in public, starting out with no money, long hours in the studio and learning how to manage a business.
How do you manage your wellbeing while simultaneously running your own business?
I am blessed with a wonderful team that keep the business running smoothly on a day to day basis. I walk most mornings for an hour in the beautiful West Cork countryside and I keep flexible hours that allow me to garden and pursue other hobbies. It took 20 years to get to this stage and I feel it’s very important to start prioritizing lifestyle when it’s possible financially.
“I believe that if you really want to make a success out of your creative talent and are driven and hard-working, it will happen for you.”
What other Irish women in business are inspiring you right now?
Saoirse Ronan is smart, grounded and very true to herself - a wonderful ambassador for Ireland around the world.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Trust your gut feeling. After 20 years in business, I still live by this simple truth in business and in private. It’s such a powerful tool and in our rushed, busy world, not always easy to access. We need to find stillness and space to connect with our intuition.
What is in the pipeline for your business in the next few years?
I’m working on new Irish phrases to engrave on my designs. It takes time to discover messages that people connect with; I run my ideas past different lovers of the Irish language - teachers, native speakers and friends.