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8 Irish Family Run Business That Prove Blood is Thicker Than Water

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

They say blood is thicker than water, well these families are proving just that. Having a family member as your business partner can have some real benefits, you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses inside and out so you can utilise this to really help your business grow. You also have the added benefit of being comfortable with one other which can relieve any tensions that may arise if less familiar.

We’ve explored some of the most impressive and interesting Irish family-run businesses today who are truly doing Ireland proud.

Appleby Jewellers

Appleby Jewellers is one of the biggest brand names in Ireland and it all started when founder Margaret Appleby began making handcrafted pieces of jewellery in her home during the 1950s for a select group of customers. Her husband John soon joined her on her business venture and it wasn’t long until they were opening their first store in 1960 in Dublin. The Appleby brand has since been passed down through the generations to get the whole family involved as John & Margarets’ 4 children all help in running the business now, along with a third generation of cousins. This is one family brand that isn’t going anywhere.

Bean & Goose

Bean & Goose is a craft chocolate brand founded in 2014 by two Irish sisters, Natalie & Karen Keane, from County Wexford. It all began when Natalie enrolled the two of them in a course in hand tempering chocolate using marble slabs, which they both loved. This is when they decided to further explore how they could work together in this process.

Bean & Goose is premium chocolate brand that is unique in both look and flavour, these two sisters wanted to create a chocolate that had the flavour of Ireland which can be seen in their branding and ingredients. An exciting brand that has a very bright future.

House My Dog

House My Dog started in 2013 when two brothers, James & Timothy McElroy, were struggling to find the perfect accommodation for their dogs when they were going on trips. Described as an ‘Airbnb for dogs’, they created and founded their solution themselves, ensuring they never had to worry about finding accommodation for their pets again. This online platform has since taken off and is now widely used throughout Ireland and the UK.

When asked in an interview with Lovin Dublin what it was like to work with each other they said, “it’s good. We have our disagreements but it’s good because you can be honest with one another and don’t have to worry too much about tip toeing around an issue,” something all business partners can relate to.


Founded in 2012, Nobó was set up by husband and wife, Brian and Rachel Nolan. They decided to take a leap of faith, quit their day-jobs and embark on a new journey with a goal to setup a food business together. Nobó was established from a combined passion for health and nutrition, creating an icecream that was tasty, vegan and much lower in calories than dairy icecream. They’ve since grown their range to include chocolate and they’ve grown their team to include Sam, their first born baby.

Sister The Agency

Entrepreneurial blood runs through the McGin sisters’ veins for sure. This family trio have been running their own businesses for the past eight years now starting with a fashion blog ‘What Will I Wear Today’ which they developed into Prowlster, and sold the company so as they could set up a new venture in 2013, OPSH. Since then, sisters Jennie & Grace have recently set up Sister: The Agency and business is booming. They’ve taken all of their startup experience and are using it to power this new digital marketing agency and are very comfortable in working together after all of their previous endeavors.


Stripe is one of the most successful businesses to come out of Ireland. The Collison brothers, Patrick and John, who set it up are now valued at a net-worth of over $2 billion and are just 30 and 27 years old. Always eager to learn, these two brothers were always destined to be successful in their career paths with being very academic growing up. The two brothers began working on iPhone apps from an early age and in 2009 they dropped out of college to start working on what would become the 7 lines of code to change their lives, today known as Stripe.

The Happy Pear

Back in 2004, when twin brothers Dave & Steve Flynn were travelling the world, they both decided to try out a plant based diet. It was at this point that The Happy Pear seed was sown. Over the past 14 years this pair have managed to create an established household name that encourages others to adopt this healthier lifestyle by trying out plant based recipes and meals for themselves. First they started out as a shop and café which they have since progressed massively over the years to now have their own cook books and online courses known as Happy Heart Courses. Not only do they have their brotherly bond but they also have their mother, father and younger brother on board this family-run business.

White & Green

White & Green was set up by Interior Designer, Sari Winckworth and her three daughters. This close-knit family have created one of the world’s first organic fairtrade cotton bedding products companies led by Sari. After years of frustration with the poor quality of so many brands, Sari sought out to do something about it. She spent a year researching the industry and sourcing the best suppliers before White & Green was launched. Fair trade and high quality is at the core of this business creating bedding products that are made to last.


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