Limerick businessman donates €100,000 worth of bobblehead stock to SVP

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh

Mark Carey donated €100,000 worth of stock—around 12,000 pieces—to St Vincent de Paul Picture: Adrian Butler

Mark Carey donated €100,000 worth of stock—around 12,000 pieces—to St Vincent de Paul Picture: Adrian Butler

A LIMERICK city businessman has donated around €100,000 worth of figurines to St Vincent de Paul to help them raise funds for the charity.

Bobbleheads - also known as nodders, wobblers or just plain bobbles - are type of doll or toy whose oversized heads are attached to a solid body by spring.

Its function? Other than a weird accessory to your home or car, it does exactly what it says on the tin - it bobbles.

And Mark Carey, who runs Steamboat Music on Steamboat Quay, was sitting on around 12,000 of these, residual stock from his former business Irish Bobbles.

Established in 2011, Mark sold bobbleheads of Irish soccer players, GAA players and many more. According to the website, they sold for €15 a piece.

Now focusing on the redevelopment of his music and record store, Mark wanted to find a way to give back to charity, so he decided to donate the bobblehead stock to St Vincent de Paul.

“I do try to donate on a much smaller scale to homeless charities and mental health. They are the two big things that I would be a supporter of. I wasn’t just handing them a cheque for €100,000. I’d love to be able to do that on a regular basis. I knew what I was giving them was the ability for them to raise money for themselves. So obviously it was important that it was with a charity that I knew had either a strong volunteer network or a strong retail presence, so it could literally turn it into cashflow for them,” Mr Carey, 31, told the Limerick Leader. 

After the charity agreed to accept the 12,000 bobbles, they were then sent over to St Vincent de Paul’s warehouse in Nenagh.

Asked if he was at a loss, Mark said he was at a “little bit of a loss”.

“We were able to write off quite a lot of it against my tax and stuff for this year. I looked at it, and I was like: ‘I either need to put such and such amount of work into moving these, which would mean firstly having to reinvigorate our distribution network. A lot of the shops around the country have been opening and closing, so I’d have to do a big review of that, find more shops to start selling to and then put a lot of time and effort into it. It wasn’t something I was really passionate about. If I could have written off even 20% of what I donated, I kind of felt like that would mean more to me, just to kind of have it out of my head, to focus on things for the future.”

He said the business was becoming “mental clutter”, adding: “Every year a business is open it is still costing you money”.

“I just kind of wanted to give back, do something on a national scale that would really benefit people. It was just nice to do something really positive with it, to finish it on a high. It was worth more to me to do that than to think about start selling them again.”

He added that the business “went pretty well” while it was in operation. However, between bobbles and a growing record and music store, his attention was “quite divided”.

“It helped pay for an awful lot of redevelopment in Steamboat, but I achieved what I wanted to achieve with it.”