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Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a fifth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the company in 2015.
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How this sheep shearer (27) turned a hobby into a booming business

That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, speaks to sheep farmer, shearer and UCD graduate, Karol Devaney, about Eweknit.

27-year-old renowned sheep shearer, Karol Devaney, has turned an unrivalled passion into a thriving business.

Eweknit, an Irish-owned clothing brand and podcast for farmers, is the brainchild of the UCD food and agri-business management graduate.

The Drumcliffe, Co. Sligo native grew up on a sheep enterprise at the foot of Benbulben Mountain, where his family have farmed since the 1960s.

“I was brought up farming sheep and shearing sheep with my dad in the summertime.”

“Furthermore, I have been spending every summer at the shearing since I was 8-years-old. I am the eldest of nine children; 3-time ladies all-Ireland champion, Joanne Devaney, is one of my sisters.”

How Eweknit was born

Devaney founded Eweknit whilst completing his Professional Work Experience (PWE) module as part of his undergraduate studies at UCD.

He explained to Catherina Cunnane, editor of That’s Farming:

“Originally, I just started it as a hobby as I like business and digital marketing. I shut the store for my final year of college and while shearing in Australia.”

“However, people were messaging the Facebook page regularly throughout that time looking for hoodies. It remained in the back of my mind that I would give it a right go someday.”

“As it turned out, during the Covid-19 lockdown was when I decided to do it. I had moved home from Australia, and I was beginning to get good traction with a farming podcast that I had started.”

Content creation and farming

Karol relaunched Eweknit and has been podcasting and running the business since then.

“It is still early days, but I am enjoying it, and the support from people has been fantastic.”

“A clothing brand and podcasting are not a common combination, but it works. The podcast is a great way of getting the Eweknit brand and logo out there as well as a great networking tool.”

“I have had some great people on the podcast, from Dr Mark Ferguson and Dr Shane Conway to some of the best sheep shearers in the world like Matt Smith and Stuart Connor.”

“In today’s internet world, content is so important. The podcast is a great way of creating content, from full podcast interviews to video clips and quotes for social media.”

Eweknit, sheep shearing, sheep farming, sheep farmers

The Eweknit Farming Podcast

Eweknit is aimed at livestock farmers, people who work with and care for animals.

The Eweknit Farming Podcast is available on all the major platforms such as Spotify and iTunes etc. Karl also uploads clips and full episodes to his growing YouTube channel.

“I have done almost 50 episodes since I started it. The podcast is sort of like a separate arm of the business that requires a good deal of work.”

“The journey from booking a guest and researching them all the way to recording and editing an episode takes several hours. It is a satisfying feeling doing a good episode and getting great feedback about it from people.”

Podcast guests mostly consist of people linked to livestock somehow, although the Sligo native likes to “mix it up from time to time to keep things fresh and learn something new”.

“I also go more towards heavier and better-quality hoodies and shirts because farmers are severe on them.”

Eweknit, sheep shearing, sheep farming, sheep farmers

A family affair and global reach

Currently, he runs the business part-time as he contract shears for up to five months of the year and has his own flock of sheep.

“I will work on it practically full-time in the winter, though. In that time, I will try to get through a lot of work and prepare so that things can tick over without too much work during the busy summer months.”

“At the moment, I run it myself, but at times it looks a lot more like a family business.”

“My younger siblings are great to help packing orders, and they recently helped me run a stall at the Big Boy Ram Sale in Carrick-on-Shannon, which was a fun day out.”

His range is primarily hoodies, but the Sligo man plans to release more products in the coming months. “I am big on being fully happy with how good a product is before I start selling it.”

He is also in discussion with companies about sourcing some wool products in the store too. “Wool is making poor money at the moment, and it will be great to play our part in its recovery,” he commented.

“We have sent stuff all around Ireland already and further afield too. A few orders have gone to Australia and New Zealand, a couple to America and some to the UK and around Europe too.”
Eweknit, sheep shearing, sheep farming, sheep farmers

Powering ahead

“In the short-term, the plan is to do a good winter of podcasts and internet marketing and get the brand out there more.”

“I also plan to go to a few more shows next year if things open back up again, hopefully.”

“In the long-term, who knows? It might be nice to open an office and build a small team down the line.”

“We will see what happens; I am happy enough to keep putting in the work and enjoy the process in the meantime.”

“If I could have done anything differently, it would have been to start earlier.”

“It takes years to do anything significant, whether that is building a business or getting to a high level in shearing or any other sport or hobby, so starting young is a big advantage. Luckily, I am not that old yet, though,” he laughed.

Karol has recently purchased the eweknit.com domain and built a new website – www.eweknit.com

Read more sheep-related content on That’s Farming.

To share your story, photos and/or videos, email – catherina@thatsfarming.com

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