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Meet the Future Shapers : A conversation with Eric Maher, Rural Vagabonds

We love to share stories from past entrepreneurial students of Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace. Here we chat to Eric Maher who runs a bespoke freewheeling cafe business called Rural Vagabonds. Eric recently completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship, having started with ideas about encouraging sustainability for cafe owners and managers. His one-of-a-kind cafe, which he owns with a friend, has been busy turning the challenges of Covid-19 into opportunities, the cafe is now available for hire and they've plans for an online presence in the future. We find out what started his journey and how the course helped him to reflect and grow the business.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

I'm a former English Language teacher and communication advisor, now living in Naas County Kildare after spending a period travelling and living abroad in Africa, South Asia and New Zealand.

What has inspired you to do what you do?

I currently run a bespoke freewheeling cafe business called Rural Vagabonds with a friend, following principles of acting environmentally responsibly, using local produce and products and committing to the community. This has informed our approach of being more than the same with our product and service - offering better quality and competitive value for something that should have more substance and a story to you, with the help of the community we reside in, with a touch of tongue in cheek fun.

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When did you first hear about the Tangent Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship course and why did it attract your interest?

I first saw the Tangent course on a Facebook ad in late November and attended an information session in early December. I was attracted to the course as it approached being from a different angle and building from a foundation of creativity with tangible outcomes in mind

Did you have any reservations about applying?

Absolutely. I don't consider myself a creative in terms of being an artist or writer unlike the wonderful contemporaries I would meet on the course.

What you did enjoy most about the Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship course?

Practical parts of the workshop and preparing for the first pitch. The online pitches were enjoyable too, despite our inability to meet in person due to Covid-19 restrictions. Having Blackboard recorded workshops also helped unpack learning after the course.

What were you key takeaways?

It helped me define and stand over the value of my ideas and reflect more fairly when things aren't as successful as I would like. It was great working with people who have different strengths. The practical tools to use in business and the chance to network were hugely beneficial.

How has the course most helped you & your business?

It allowed me to look at my current business retrospectively with new learning and frame it differently, particularly when I moved myself to using a growth mindset reflection. It helped me structure my planning and ideas with the tools from the course too - like the LBMC and drilling down into my value proposition.

We look forward to watching Eric’s journey and continued success with Rural Vagabonds! If you are interested in finding out where to visit the cafe or to hire it for your special occasion, you can follow them on Instagram or Facebook @ruralvagabonds.