WE HAVE so many inspirational profiles in our Women in Business feature, we had to split it in two!
This section is jam packed with women who have built their business (and in some cases businesses) from the ground up.
Between retail, catering, solicitors and medical services, Co Clare has some of the most dynamic business women in the country.
Be sure to check out the full feature in this week’s edition of The Clare Echo.
Dr Emma Kearney & Tricia Russell, Ennis Medical Aesthetics
Dr Emma Kearney and Tricia Russell discovered a mutual passion for facial aesthetics when they worked together in a GP practise. The pair decided to set up Ennis Medical Aesthetics and have been going strong since September 2017.
The company offers the most up to date and top of the range treatments on the market including dermal fillers, anti-wrinkle injections, laser hair removal, laser ND:YAG and IPL treatments, medical grade peels and medical grade skin care ranges.
“We saw that there was certainly a need out there for medical grade advice and treatment. I was seeing a lot of people who were coming in to the practise who were getting treatment for acne and rosacea and scarring and pigmentation and there seemed to only be a limited number of treatments available with maybe mixed results,” Dr Emma said.
Dr Emma graduated from NUIG in 2005 and spent a couple of years working in a hospital before joining a GP scheme. She took on the challenge of starting a new business with three small kids in tow, as well as moving into her new home.
“I’m sure plenty of people thought that I was crazy to put on extra pressure but I suppose it was a case of there was never going to be a right time and I would have to give full credit to Trisha.
“There were days when I was sleep deprived and we were back at the outset where she really drove it on. That’s why it was great to have a partner in the business,” Dr Emma added.
Tricia Russell qualified as a nurse in 1991, completing her training at the Bons Secours Hospital in Cork. After she qualified, she worked and travelled all the way from London to Australia. She was also one of the first nurses to run and manage one of the first laser clinics in Dublin.
“I was never a businesswoman up to a year ago. Always a PAYE worker. It’s exciting, it’s challenging. I love it.
“Because of the industry that we’re in, it’s constantly moving, constantly upskilling, constantly retraining. There are changes every day of the week. It’s never boring. It’s always exciting,” Tricia said.
Tricia and Dr Emma are determined to drive their business forward and bring the best service possible to the people of Clare.
“We are the only full time aesthetic clinic in Co. Clare and have become well established and trusted in our area of expertise. The industry is challenging and always changing and we are determined to stay ahead with continuous upskilling and training,” Tricia added.
Linda Kelleher, Ennis Bridal Boutique
Linda Kelleher, a Clare woman herself, had always wanted to open her own business. She saw a gap in the market and combined with her eagerness to help people, she opened Ennis Bridal Boutique at 85 O’Connell St, Ennis in 2014.
Linda loves a challenge and if she isn’t helping brides to choose the dress of their dreams, she is busy visiting Irish and and European design houses to choose the latest styles in wedding dresses, veils and wedding accessories.
Linda is thrilled with the success of her Bridal Boutique and to celebrate Women in Business, there is up to 50 per cent off at Ennis Bridal Boutique this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Maria Carmody, Carmody Shoes
Maria Carmody believes that customers are the best teachers when it comes to learning about her business. Her background is in running a college and she took a couple of years out to take over the shoe shop when her husband passed away.
“Your customer is key and you have to listen to them. They want comfort but they want fashionable comfort as well and a something that’s a bit more funky and affordable,” Maria said.
Carmody’s Shoes are only the second shop in Ireland to carry Catwalk, a European brand known for its comfort, stylish creations and affordability. Other popular brands include Perlato, a Portuguese brand that is reckoned to be the most flexible leather shoe in the world, as well as Romika, Emu and Fly London.
Carmody’s also carry Caprice, which have the added advantage of a removal insole for feet prone to swelling.
Maria said that business is quiet but the shop is holding its own in the market as it has a lot going for it. She has huge admiration for any woman that has a career outside the home.
“I admire any woman that’s in business, that is running a home, and that is running a family. I would admire every single woman that gets out and has a career,” Maria added.
Vittorina Sampaolo, Numero Uno Pizzeria
Vittorina Sampaolo opened the first pizza place in Ennis over two decades ago.
Numero Uno’s super tasty pizzas and fast food have stood the test of time not only due to their amazing flavour, but also the quality ingredients that go into them.
“Everything is made from scratch. All Italian ingredients. All the vegetables are fresh. That’s what we’re known for. We cook our burgers, our fast food everything in front of the customer.
“It’s all cooked fresh, there’s nothing reheated. We’ve got quality. Quality is our main thing,” Vittorina said.
Though Numero Uno have a loyal customer base, the business is not without its challenges.
“There’s so many more rules and regulations than ever before. It’s way harder, more things to do. It’s changed an awful lot since I started,” Vittorina added.
Marina Clancy, The Good House
Marina Clancy has been working in the hospitality industry for nearly 20 years. She took over The Good House Bar and Restaurant in Inagh in July last year and has completely refurbished it. The Good House is open all year and has a warm, cozy atmosphere with locally sourced food, fresh fish and homemade desserts.
“I always aspired to own my own business & in the current climate where it is hard to get finance, I had to save hard over the years. It was a struggle to buy the place but I got there in the end. I felt that the bar & restaurant in Inagh was a good opportunity and I had my eye on it for a while. With the way motorways are, I am lucky to be one of the first stops on the road to
the Cliffs of Moher which means we cater for a lot of tourists. I have a lot experience working within tourism industry in Lahinch over the years so I feel I know what they want. We have plenty of parking, great quality fresh food & people in a hurry can get in & our quickly.”
Marina has a qualification in business management and IT, but she reckons her life experience is far more valuable when it comes to running a business. She said being a woman in business has its challenges, but I have great staff which allows me to do a lot of work behind the scenes associated with running a business.
“You have to keep everything maintained. It can be hard but it’s very rewarding at the end of the day when you see things working out for
you,” Marina added. However, she acknowledges that she would not be where she is today if she didn’t have her family behind her. “My family are so supportive and have helped me every step of the way,” Marina said. Not one to sit on her laurels, Marina is always looking for ways to grow her business.
“At the moment we are preparing for the 2018 tourist season and looking forward to a busy summer. I know we have made a lot of improvements but we are always looking to improve things further,” she commented. Inagh/Kilnamona is a big parish and the locals are very supportive which is a big help.
We have recently set up trad sessions on Friday and run a gamble every Sunday night. We cater for all types of family functions. Marina is also the proprietor of the Hair Boutique in Lahinch, which has been open since 2009.
Mary Cashin, Sheila Lynch and Marguerite Phillips, Cashin & Associates Solicitors
In a week when new figures published by the Law Society of Ireland reveal that 52% of practising solicitors are now women, Cashin & Associates are certainly proving that trend.
Mary Cashin, Sheila Lynch and Marguerite Phillips, Solicitors comprise Cashin & Associates, Ennis and are proud successors of Georgina Frost of Sixmilebridge who in the early 1900’s, in a time when women were considered “unfit to work as Lawyers”, became the first woman to successfully challenge the prohibition of women to hold public office in Ireland and Great Britain.
She took a case to the High Court, then to the Court of Appeal and ultimately to the House of Lords where she succeeded in being appointed Clerk of the Petty Sessions for the District of Sixmilebridge and Newmarket on Fergus in 1920.
Cashin & Associates Solicitors was established in May 1990, Mary having practised law in Ennis since 1983. The firm grew quickly and is now a three Solicitor practice who pride themselves on their integrity, honesty and loyalty to their clients. The aim at Cashin & Associates has always been to give comprehensive professional legal advice in plain English, to represent clients be it by way of pursuing a case through the Courts or, whenever possible, to settle it in the client’s best interest.
Their approach is one of inclusivity, and not making any decisions without full consultation with the client. Sheila Lynch Solicitor joined the Firm in 2004 and is an experienced Personal Injury and Family Lawyer. Sheila also practises in Wills and Estate Planning. Marguerite Phillips Solicitor who hails from Newcastle West and qualified in 1991 specialises in Commercial and Residential Conveyancing, Probates, Wills and Taxation.
Mary feels extremely fortunate in the quality of staff all of whom are specialist in their respective areas of Law and are seriously committed to ensuring a cost effective and quality service for clients. The firm are members of a number of legal bodies including the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, Resolution U.K. and the Mediators Institute of Ireland.
Mary Cashin says “ Initially, there was a slow progression of women in law since Georgina Frost took her “brave stand in 1920. Mary Dorethea Heron was the first woman admitted to the Role of Solicitors in 1923. Access to higher education and, perhaps, the Women’s Movement in the 70’s and 80’s led to a much higher influx of women into Law. I started my legal studies in the 70’s at a time when it was very difficult to get an apprenticeship and required great determination, particularly as a woman. The numbers of women qualifying in the 90’s and 00’s has increased considerably now culminating in women exceeding men in the legal profession.
“I think I can speak for myself and my female colleagues in saying that being a female lawyer as opposed to a male lawyer hasn’t made any great difference to our experience as Solicitors. They say that “justice is blind” and I don’t think that gender makes any great difference before the law. To be a successful lawyer requires hard work, intelligence, empathy and application. What gives me great encouragement is that today’s young solicitors are well educated, well-travelled, confident and ambitious, all of which helps them on their career paths. I am proud to have been part of the early change in the gender balance of lawyers in Ireland and I hope that days such as International Women’s Day will encourage young women and help them to realise that the “glass ceiling” is there to be broken at every level”.
Helen Gallery, Helen Gallery Auctioneers & Valuers
Helen Gallery has been working as an auctioneer in the Clare area for over 30 years and established her own company Helen Gallery Auctioneers and Valuers in 2009.
When asked about her motivation to open her own business Helen explained, “The market took a turn in 2007 and there was a lot of changes in the property market and in the firms that were in the business at the time. I saw an opportunity for a small independent firm that gives a personal service where the emphasis was on looking after the client’s individual needs”.
Her keen interest in property and experience as a Staff officer in the housing section of the local authority along with the completion of the Property Valuation and Management course in LIT, has now turned her passion into a very successful business. Helen is a chartered surveyor and a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.
The firm is going from strength to strength, so much so that Helen Gallery Auctioneers and Valuers have moved to a larger premises at 68 Parnell Street, Ennis in September last year to accommodate a growing team. On the topic of gender in the auctioneering business, Helen stated that she believes that gender was not important. She added, “I think having a good work ethic, whether you are male or female, is what’s needed to be successful in business. The work has to be done, just get out there and do it.”
Demand for property is currently very strong, keeping Helen and her team, Rita Kitson and Stephen Barry, very busy. “We have sold over seventy modern new houses in Clarecastle for Fitzgibbon Developers as well as a mix of second hand homes across the county in Ennis, Shannon, Lahinch and Ennistymon,” Helen added.
Her company features a wide range of properties to suit every budget – the starter home for those looking to get their foot on the property ladder, the dream cottage in a rural location, the site to build your own home and the larger secondhand home for families.
There are also some great opportunities from a range of commercial properties in Ennis, Clarecastle and Mullagh. When Helen first opened in 2009 the initial business was in the property rental market and this has remained a strong section with properties available for rent in Ennis, Shannon and Lisseycasey.
Why not call in to see Helen, Rita or Stephen in their bright new offices to discuss your property needs “where your property is not just listed”. Helen is available on 086 250 4671.
Maeve Galvin, Fairgreen Stoves & Fireplaces
When Maeve Galvin was looking for inspiration to establish Fairgreen Stoves, she didn’t have to go far. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, including her great grandmother who had her embroidered cloth stocked in Macy’s in New York City and Harrods in London.
Her great grandmother started a cottage industry in Donegal and providing employment for women who embroidered cloth. As well as having a shop in Donegal where she sold her wares, there is also a story that Maeve Galvin’s great grandmother used to smuggle embroidered cloth over the border to Northern Ireland.
“You always kind of think back. It’s quite inspirational that in my great grandmother’s time she was running a business,” Maeve said.
Maeve and her husband Donagh worked for a stove company in Scotland before moving home to Ennis to start their own company. Fairgreen stoves stock solid fuel stoves, free standing stoves, electric stoves and pellet stoves. They also have a range of stunning fireplaces and accessories.
Maeve and her crew offer a unique service that they brought home from Scotland. It’s common practise in Ireland that customers buy their stove from one company and employ someone else to install it. Fairgreen Stoves are a one stop shop for all of the customers’ needs not only can they buy their stove there, the company will also install it for them
“When people come in to the shop here we try to give them the best advice that we possibly can just to make sure that they are getting the right thing for their needs and my husband goes out and does the survey out at the house,” Maeve said.
All of Fairgreen Stoves’ fitters are trained to HETAS standard; this means that the installation that you get will comply with Irish Building Regulations and comply with house insurance requirements. Maeve believes that being successful in business comes down to working hard and facing up to the challenges that come about.
“It’s difficult for anybody to be in business. But you just do what you have to do and that’s it.
“The Government are making it easier and they’re trying to give you some kind of support and they’re doing a lot of support at the moment which is great so that’s very positive,” Maeve added.
Shirley Gillespie & Emily Ryan, Supermac’s Ennis and Charleville
Go into Supermac’s in Ennis or Charleville and you will more than likely see franchise owners Shirley Gillespie and Emily Ryan working on the shop floor. Shirley was working in Supermac’s in Dublin when she came to Ennis to cover the All Ireland Final in 1997.
She loved Ennis so much, she decided to stay. Shirley has worked in catering from an early age, having moved to London to work as a waitress in the 1980s. She worked her way up to become a manager and moved up the ranks again to become an area manager.
Emily Ryan started out working part time in Supermac’s in Galway while she was in college. Emily holds multiple qualifications and has been working in the industry for over 20 years. She has decided that she wants to dedicate her career to running the business in partnership with Shirley.
Shirley and Emily took over the Supermac’s in Ennis in 1999 and have had a Supermac’s franchise in Charleville for the last eight years. Shirley and Emily currently employ 45 staff, with 28 team members working in the Ennis store. Shirley said the business would not be as successful if it wasn’t for their hardworking staff.
“We have been extremely lucky, we have some excellent staff working for us in both shops and they pull together, they help us a lot, we all pull together as a team,” she added.
Shirley pointed out that the catering industry has its challenges, but being successful in business comes down to how you deal with those issues.
“We had the downturn which affected everybody in its own different way and we have been very lucky. It’s not back to what it was I don’t think it ever will be, I think business has changed but
“As with any challenge that you take on and see in life, as long as you learn from it and just become better from it and stronger.
“There’s always two ways of approaching any opportunity you have been given so it’s a matter of if you go down one road and it doesn’t work, you just have to go down the other one,” Shirley said.
Shirley is a great admirer of Jo Malone, who has built an empire of luxury candles and fragrances.
“I think her story is quite interesting, what she has done with her life and the fact that she has sold on her business and then restarted again,” Shirley added.