Inspiring Limerick woman with Down Syndrome starts her own card business

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Molly Ryan, Cappamore, is fondly called the ‘Puptown Girl’ by her sister Caitriona due to her love of Billy Joel and dogs Picture: Michael Cowhey

Molly Ryan, Cappamore, is fondly called the ‘Puptown Girl’ by her sister Caitriona due to her love of Billy Joel and dogs Picture: Michael Cowhey

IN THIS dog eat dog world a young woman from Cappamore with Down Syndrome has started her own canine card company.

Maura Ryan, known to one and all as Molly, set up ‘Molly’s Cards - unleashing potential’. 

With the help of her sister Caitriona, they sell frames and cards of dog phrases. They include, “The journey of life is sweeter when travelled with a dog”; “A house is not a home without paw prints” and Molly’s favourite “Always kiss your dog good night”.

Caitriona was inspired by Molly’s love of cards and animals. There has always been dogs in their home and Molly was very fond of Zoe, a poodle terrier cross, that suddenly died two years ago. Molly even goes to her grave to say goodbye if she is going away for a few days.

“Molly loves making cards and giving them to people – that is how it came about. I studied it and for somebody that loves dogs you wouldn’t really see cards with anything to do with dogs. I started looking up dog phrases and there are some lovely ones,” said Caitriona.

There are 21 cards in the collection, a nod to trisomy 21 – scientific name of Down Syndrome.  Caitriona hopes her 28-year-old sister’s story will be inspiring to other adults with Down’s. 

“Maura says ‘I want to go to work, I don’t want to stay at home’. So we put our thinking caps on,” said Caitriona, who is a teacher in Cashel. The sisters sat down with graphic designers – Lion Print – in Cashel to create their logo of ‘Molly’s Cards – unleashing potential’.

“We were delighted when we got the cards. Molly is well able to fold them and put them into the little plastic containers. For every sale she actually writes a little thank you – she loves that,” said Caitriona. Next came a business meeting with management of Super Valu in Cashel. That went so well that Molly and Caitriona were allowed set up their colourful banner and sell their frames and cards. Molly was out front and centre promoting her wares.

“It was very well attended. It is all a learning curve for the both of us. She had her iPad with a picture of a dog and everybody saw her can-do attitude. She practices her lines and making eye contact – it is lovely to see. Everybody was saying ‘fair play to you’,” said Caitriona, who has seen a big difference in Molly’s confidence and communication skills.

“She is calling herself a business woman now!” smiles her proud sister. They hope to link up with Super Valu stores in Limerick and have a stand at Cappamore Show. This Saturday, July 14, Molly and Caitriona will be selling their cards and frames in Petmania, Ennis Road, from 2pm to 5pm. And the same time at Maxi Zoo on Saturday, July 21. They have also struck deals with Barker & Bowes in Annacotty and www.busterbox.com to stock their products. Any profits will go towards Molly’s speech therapy. Log onto facebook.com/mollymadra21 or email mollymadra21@gmail.com for more.