Kenny Gracey, a pig farmer from Northern Ireland, had been struggling with his business. “Farming has taken a downturn. Costs are too high and we’re not getting enough for our produce. It’s a difficult time,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
Battling to keep his pig and beef farm afloat, he tried his hand at rare breeds even opening his own shop to try to market the unusual meat. It showed signs of potential, but then the recession hit.
However, in 2010 his name came up when the producers of the comedy film ‘Your Highness’ were looking for historic breeds of animals to populate their medieval sets. Then, when Game of Thrones set up shop within Northern Ireland’s growing film industry, they knew who to call.
Initially, they were just looking for a few particular ‘iron-age’ pigs with thick dark fur to fit the grimey look of Westeros and Essos. A couple of years down the line, Gracey has supplied the producers with everything from sheep, donkeys, goats, and deer, to his own two deer-hound wolf-hound crosses Hennessy and Murphy. “What I have is unusual. If I haven’t got it, I will get it for them.”
The prop buyer had even heard about the farmer’s collection of old farmyard paraphernalia, and asked to pop round for half an hour. 5 hours later she left, and within a couple of days they had collected an entire lorry load of items for use in the series.
There’s no doubt that Mr Gracey enjoyed a spell of good luck in being in the right place at the right time, but ultimately this story shows his tenacity and flexibility.
If you’re willing to tweak and change your business to fill a demand, even one you could never have anticipated, you stand a good chance of making a success of what you do.
“Where I would be today if it hadn’t been for the filming, I just don’t know.”
To read the news article about Gracey’s rare-breed success, click here.
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