My name is Maura Ryan and I live in Co Limerick with my mother. My family calls me Molly. My shop is called Cards by Molly Madra 21. I have two sisters and one brother. I enjoy spending time with my family and visiting them in Kerry and Tipperary. I am the youngest in the family and have Down Syndrome.
My family helps me with my business. During the week I go to a training center in Tipperary called The Hub and have made a lot of new friends. We go to the gym and we swim and we do art and new classes. I really like it.
My sister Caitríona and I started making cards so I could have a small job. Finding a job can sometimes be difficult for people with Down syndrome.
I love dogs and my dog’s name is Toto. During the lockdown we had fun evenings at home. I dressed up like Dorothy because my dog Toto is like the dog from the The Wizard of Oz, and we also had Abba nights. I love dancing and I do ballet at Dance Academy in Limerick and I love zumba.
When we started making cards they were for people who love dogs, but now we have a lot of new cards, Irish ones too. My favorite is the one that says Grá Mór, which means ‘great love’.
Our cards make you happy. I love making videos for my Instagram page. That makes me proud. Lots of people from all over Ireland have sent me nice messages when they get their cards in the mail, even Leo Varadkar.
I also love making card deliveries to the local vets and going to the post office to place orders. I like to wear my hoodie with my logo: Unleashing Potential.
When we collect our cards from our graphic designer, I fold and wrap all the cards. I like being busy. People often take photos of their cards and send them to me on my Instagram page and it makes me smile. We also make prints with my slogans on them. I make videos for my Instagram page and they make me proud.
I love doing pop up stands in supermarkets and at fashion shows. I meet new people and they take the time to listen and learn what I’m doing. I have to work hard to speak publicly, but I’m always proud when I do it. Sometimes words are difficult to pronounce, but people are very nice to me.
I like Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show. I like when he says, “There’s one for everyone in the audience.” I practice this phrase every Friday. One day I might meet Ryan and give everyone in the audience one of my cards.
Last year I saw a project called The perfect gift on Instagram. The ladies give gift baskets to new babies born with Down Syndrome. I thought that was nice. When I see a new baby with Down Syndrome, I think of an angel.
My sister and I made a special selection of cards to celebrate Down Syndrome and I sent some to The Perfect Gift for new babies to get something nice from me. My favorite card says “I’m Rocking My Extra Chromosome”.
For this year’s World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st, I was invited with some friends to a photo shoot at Dunnes Stores. It was very exciting to see the posters in Limerick shops. Everyone at the photo shoot were members of Down Syndrome Limerick who put in a lot of hard work. I like that the photo shoot celebrated people with Down Syndrome. That’s very good to see.
In the future, I would appreciate it if many people found out about my business and sent cards to their friends. In the summer I want to do more pop-ups and make people happy with my cards and prints.
I will always come up with new ideas for my cards and also make new videos. I love my little business and I hope everyone knows that if you say to yourself every day, ‘I can do this’, it’s hard things to do.
To buy Maura’s cards and prints visit cardsbymollymadra21.ie, where you can also learn more about her story, her dog Toto and why some slogans mean more to her than others. Check out her Instagram @mollymadra21 for dance routines and messages from happy customers.
https://www.independent.ie/life/platform-it-can-be-hard-for-people-with-down-syndrome-to-get-jobs-entrepreneur-maura-ryan-on-her-greeting-card-range-41566037.html Platform: “People with Down Syndrome can find it difficult to find jobs” – entrepreneur Maura Ryan on her range of greeting cards