John Paul Prior Making Waves in Porto and Dublin

On the theme of harmony and an edgy approach

In anticipation of the upcoming Dublin Member Meet Member and Porto Member Meet Member events on June 30 and July 7 respectively, the IPBN would like to introduce John Paul Prior of Musicmaker Dublin, our host for the Dublin MMM, who has moved to the Porto region and has gladly accepted to be head the IPBN Porto Committee which is orchestrating the Porto MMM at the Porto Innovation Hub. A man currently wearing two very important hats for the network, John Paul originally moved from Ireland to Portugal when his partner accepted a job with Farfetch, which for him allowed him to better promote his vertical farming new Dublin-based Agri-tech startup called Farmony, as well as to get a better lease on life as, in his opinion, it should be lived. While he still travels frequently between Dublin and Porto, he had a lot of things to say about Porto as a city that brings with it a lot of promise to like-minded business people such as himself.

John Paul led a keynote presentation at the IPBN's first-ever Porto Conference in April of this year discussing his reasoning behind making the move, both on a personal and professional level. "Almost instantly, despite the restrictions, I instantly fell in love with Porto." he said in his opening remarks. 

He went on to present both his companies, starting with Farmony, a layer-based farming concept that can allow users to grow leafy greens and herbs 365 days a year, pesticide-free, and hyper-local. He said, "In Ireland, we import over 1 billion Euros worth of fruit and veg a year, we import our herbs from Israel and Kenya, and the opportunity that Farmony offers is to grow locally. So, already we have five quite large vertical farms in Ireland that are replacing imports, and producing basil locally, pesticide-free, for both the food service channel and also retail."

John Paul continued to describe Dublin-based Musicmaker, for which has been the General Manager for the last 15 years, as a business where 60% of its revenue comes from retail, the rest comes from e-commerce, distribution, events, logistics, and education. As a space that John Paul describes as "the stuff dreams are made of," in 2016 Musicmaker was voted the best specialist store in Ireland by readers and the judging panel from the Irish Times, and gained praise as a vital artery in Dublin's music scene from Oscar-winner Glen Hansard. "A key focus for me was the customer experience and making sure that we are a welcoming store, no matter who you are, whether you're a celebrity [or not], everyone is equal in our eyes...We set about differentiating ourselves...and the key factor is undoubtedly our staff. It's about our passion, our history, what we stand for, within music and the musician community in Dublin." Merging his love of music with his new life in Porto, John Paul has shifted some of his acoustic guitar purchases away from China and supporting local Portuguese manufacturers in Braga. "We will probably do in excess of 30,000 euros worth of Portuguese instruments this year," he said.

Strangely enough, the worlds of vertical farming and music are making their own harmony for John Paul. In a recent post that the entrepreneur made on LinkedIn, he said "[It's] not often my two worlds of Music & Vertical Farming collide, but such a pleasure to finally meet up in person with GreenTech's Jim Pantaleo, one of the most influential figures in the Vertical Farming world. Then to receive a call that he was at Musicmaker Dublin taking in the full experience of Lowden Guitars in our acoustic rooms on his trip ‘home’ to Ireland— This man has the most amazingly positive energy." As Prior said in his presentation at the IPBN Porto Conference, "I feel like Porto is edgy and a bit rock 'n roll!" This concept is undoubtedly alive and well at Musicmaker in Dublin where John Paul will be hosting the IPBN's upcoming Dublin Member Meet Member Event on June 30 in which a panel of Portuguese IPBN members will be discussing “Doing Business, Hiring, and Living in Portugal” followed by a networking event for attendees to meet and connect with IPBN members and members from other business associations. Essentially, Musicmaker will be the venue that will bring new harmonies to the network across borders, further fostered by offering attendees a selection of Portuguese wines that will be available for tasting.

Keep the music flowing by registering for both events if you can! We would love to see you there so we can shake, rattle, and roll into a prosperous future together.