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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Nadia Breen

Belfast woman's 'dream come true' with six-figure jewellery business

A South Belfast woman has said that her successful six-figure jewellery business is a 'dream come true'.

27-year-old Aoife Malone, a fashion graduate and influencer, launched Réalta on November 11, 2021 and her first drop sold out in a matter of hours.

Her pieces are now sold worldwide and are worn by a number of influencers across the UK.

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Aoife, who also works full-time for a technology company, has been shortlisted for the Young Business Woman of the Year Award at the Women in Business Awards 2023 - which she said she "couldn't believe" and said she feels "honoured".

She told Be: "I've always been interested in business, I loved business at school, was always doing a side hustle... but never actually started a proper business.

"I studied fashion communication which was great as it gave me a really broad skill set. I then fell into working in tech, moved to New York for a year and then I came back home and my company is remote."

Due to working from home, Aoife, who is based between Belfast and Glasgow, said she had a good bit of spare time - which pushed her to find something new.

She said: "I thought I needed something to focus on. This one night I said I wanted to start a business and thought, 'What can I do?'

"I was looking in the mirror and I was wearing all my jewellery as I always do, and I was like - 'Jewellery!'

"For me, I don't take my jewellery off. I sleep in it, I shower in it... I hate when you buy it and it rusts or turns your skin green.

"So I was like, if I'm going to do it it's going to be waterproof and tarnish-free.

"That night I mocked-up the website on a free trial, was looking for suppliers, started designing the packaging and made the logo.

"My boyfriend came home from work and he thought it was going to last two days. This was in May 2021."

The businesswoman said she had no financial backing or savings, so every month she would put away a portion of her wages. She launched her brand a few months later in November.

Aoife added: "I would buy stock one month, pay for the website one month, buy packaging one month... It did take quite a long time.

"A bit of a labour of love. By the end of summer time I was nearly ready to launch and was thinking when to launch.

"I thought I would do it on 11/11 as I am very into manifesting."

The 27-year-old said this was quite daunting and she panicked a little.

The Belfast woman said: "The night before, in my head I was like, 'Is this really embarrassing?'

"I did really start to freak out but when I launched, it sold out in a matter of hours. I have a Claddagh ring, it sold out in seven minutes.

"It was crazy. Then I ran out of packaging and all as I didn't think it was going to sell out - never in my wildest dreams. I was buying makeshift packaging and stamping it with my logo.

"It was a really stressful time but obviously it was amazing that so many people supported it - and lots of people from Northern Ireland."

From there, the Réalta owner invested all the profits into new stock and the business has grown majorly.

Aoife does all the day-to-day jobs herself and employs two part-time members of staff.

She said: "It has been a crazy year.

"When I look at the sales I get every month, when I started this I never would have thought that this would be the amount of people that are interested.

"Now, in a bad month I'd get 300 orders but in a good month, it's much more than that. Every day people are buying.

"And I don't even know where they are finding me. People in Australia, Saudi Arabia..."

The entrepreneur said she is "so glad" she took the leap to create Réalta and also explained the sentimental meaning behind the brand's name.

"The best thing I ever did. It's so good. Changed my life for sure.

"The support of Irish people is just insane, they really get behind it. It's just crazy and the support is amazing...

"Just really delighted."

She added: "A lot of the brand is inspired by Ireland and a lot of names are Irish or different places within Ireland.

"The name means star in Irish. The reason I've called it star is because my dad died when I was really young and my mum always said, like when your parents always go, 'The brightest star in the sky'. That's why I called it that."


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