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Women in Business part 2

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Continuing our celebration of International Womens Day we ask some more of Clare’s top women in business some questions.

Gillian Ennis
Carrygerry Country House

Tell us about your business:
We are a country house owned by myself and my husband Niall. With 11 bedrooms all en-suite and individually decorated in keeping with the charm and character of the 18th century house we pride ourselves on giving each individual the best experience possible. Our conservatory restaurant overlooks green fields with the Fergus Estuary in the distance which creates a beautiful setting and very relaxing atmosphere . Our functions room has the ability to cater for all types of events including family gatherings and weddings.
What 5 words would you choose to describe your business?
Welcoming , Intimate, Charming, Elegant, Quaint
What are your most popular products or services?
We have an array of products all created here in house – including our award winning seafood chowder, pates, jams, marmalades and chutneys.
What do you like best about owning a business?
When we receive wonderful comments from guests and diners the satisfaction from this is very rewarding.
What or who inspired you to start your business?
As a teen I worked in Haydens Hotel in Ballinasloe and loved the buzz of the hospitality industry and always dreamed of one day marrying a chef and running our own business together. And so here we are, married with two wonderful boys owning our own country house for the last 16years.
What makes your products/services special?
At Carrygerry we have a wonderful team of loyal staff who are just as passionate about Carrygerry as my husband and I are.
What is your biggest fear?
In this industry there are always fears, but with sheer determination and the fact that I am so driven to keep my business going I try not to let fear take me over and instead take on the challenge that we are faced with!
What motivates you on a daily basis?
My main motivation is my children. They are the reason I get up every day. Also the customers of Carrrygerry are my motivation.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
I suppose the obvious challenge that most businesses faced over the last few years was the economic down turn. But turning that corner and riding out the recession has made us stronger as a business and we are more determined to make it work.
What tip would you give women who are starting a business?
You can do anything you put your mind to. Don’t let negativity sway your judgement. Even though there are days when you may want to throw in the towel the satisfaction when you succeed makes it all worthwhile.
How do you relax?
As a business owner it is very hard to take a step back but when I do have free time I love to go walking and I really enjoy pilates. It is very important as a business owner to ensure that you do look after yourself to ensure that you are mentally capable and able to take on the challenges that may arise.
What place inspires you and why?
Ballynahinch Castle has always been one of my favourite properties in Ireland as they do everything so well
What has been your favourite moment as a business owner?
Winning our first award back in 2006 it was Country House of the Year
What are your future plans and what do you want to accomplish in business?
We have lots of plans for the future, as the house was built in 1793 there are always maintenance and upkeep throughout the year. This year we are renovating our bedrooms in the main house in keeping with the character of the house. We are also doing some work on our front garden and also our orchard area.
We supply a number of local shops with our Carrygerry Range of homemade products, we are planning to expand further in 2019.

 

Julie Kilmartin
Kilmartin Educational Services

Tell us about your business:
Kilmartin Educational Services is a Munster based educational services based in Ennis and Limerick. We offer a wide range of services for primary-second & third level students. Our aim is to maximise the academic ability of every student in a friendly, professional environment. Removing the distractions of the modern world from the study hall, offering expert tuition in all subjects.
What are your most popular products or services?
Evening and weekend tuition, providing students with the opportunity to maximise their academic ability. Our Intensive Revision Courses over the Christmas & Easter holiday periods are in demand especially for the Junior and Leaving Certificate students. Of course our Summer Courses are now growing in popularity along with our Study Skills Seminars & Career Guidance. This month our Oral Leaving Certificate courses are in high demand and these courses are run by top state examiners.
What do you like best about owning a business?
Having the opportunity to chose our team of expert teachers and to be able to provide a wide range of educational services to meet the growing demand of students. To have the ability to make decisions on the creation of a new product or service without having to seek approval from a higher power.
What or who inspired you to start your business?
The goal to provide an exceptional educational services for students at all levels and respond to their academic needs. To be one of the best, if not the best educational services in Ireland. We aim to be the best.
What makes your products/services special?
Our team of amazing teachers who are highly experienced in their subject matter with the ability to impart knowledge. Our study supervisors who are themselves parents and know how to look after our students. Of course, our wonderful inter-generational administration team. We combine the energy of the youth with the wisdom of the older experienced staff members. Our Revision Courses are probably the best in the country as we revise more vital exam topics and give students exceptional subject choice at a very competitive, affordable price.
What is your biggest fear?
None really. I guess if i had to give an answer, it would be ill health and not been able to do what I love, which is teaching and making a difference to the lives of our youth.
What motivates you on a daily basis?
When I see all our wonderful students excelling in their subjects. To see them going out of a class room knowing that they fully understand the topic and that we have removed a stress in their lives, the worry of failing an exam. To see students achieve their academic ability. To be able to offer students subjects that are not available in their school. Basically, to know that we have made a difference to the lives of a young person and their family and indeed their future.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
I am currently facing it. We are about to launch one of the most revolutionary educational databases/app/booking engine over the next few weeks. It has taken over 2 years to date to build and we are nearly there!. It has consumed a lot of our time and finances but it is going to be amazing.
What tip would you give women who are starting a business?
Build a strong team around you – from the solicitor to the accountant, to your Health and Safety Officers. You will need good advice along the road to your success.
What other female leaders do you admire and why?
There are so many but in this modern world and the fact that I am in the educational business, I must mention Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. Closer to home and in our business, the one and only Clare woman, Marie Moloney from Broadford. She is the back bone of our team, a great leader, administrator and a friend.

May & Summer
Mallee Thai

Tell us about your business:
We are a new restaurant in Ennis providing fast, tasty and healthy dishes.
What 5 words would you choose to describe your business?
Warm , Modern ,value , traditional, wholesome.
What are your most popular products or services?
Stir frys , Dumplings and Home made Deserts , Pad Thai, Firecracker Prawn.
What do you like best about owning a business?
Freedom to create great dishes and reward good customers.
What or who inspired you to start your business?
I had years of experience in catering and I felt we had something to offer Ennis people .
What makes your products/services special?
We make everything fresh, we tailor dishes to our customers needs. We seek feedback and I think people like that. It demonstrates our commitment. We really love our repeat customers and we like to give a warm welcome.
What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is fear itself. Lets not go there. grrrrrrrrr
What motivates you on a daily basis?
I dont know but I am driven. Sometimes I look up at our great ceiling and around the room at the beautiful colours and I think , my god this is mine and I get that warm feeling. It lifts me up.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
Sometimes machines break and water appears from nowhere so in time we might fully understand our building but it has a mind of its own sometimes.
Do you think there are any issues for women in the workplace?
I don’t think so. We have a lot of female staff and they get on well with the guys. One of our best Chefs is a woman and she is probably one of our main assets in the kitchen.
What tip would you give women who are starting a business?
Brace yourself and plan your moves well , reach out to people for help and take advice where you can . People are good and always have good advice.
What other female leaders do you admire and why?
You wouldn’t know their names but we have some strong Thai women and leaders in Business and politics
How do you relax?
I eat ha ha.
What place inspires you and why?
Big cities and bright lights
People may be surprised to know…
That I have been in Ireland over 18 years.
What has been your favourite moment as a business owner?
The day we opened Mallee Thai Ennis.
What are your future plans and what do you want to accomplish in business?
Whatever the future holds I’m ready. I am in the long game

Maeve Wilson
Fairgreen Stoves and Fireplaces

When Maeve Wilson 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 Wilson’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, free standing, electric and pellet stoves. They also have a range of stunning fireplaces and accessories.
The Fairgreen Stoves team offer a unique service that Maeve and Donagh 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.
However Fairgreen Stoves is a one-stop shop for all of the customers’ needs. Not only can customers make their purchase at the Ennis showroom, the Fairgreen Stoves team can then install the product and talk you through your servicing requirements.
“When people come in to the shop we give them the best advice that we possibly can to make sure they are getting the right stove for their needs and my husband goes out to complete the survey at the customer’s home,” Maeve said.
The 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 surrounding yourself with the best people.
“It’s in my experience that the key to running a successful business is surrounding yourself with the strongest team possible, and that couldn’t be more true of everyone here at Fairgreen Stoves. They’re the best in the business and we couldn’t provide such a comprehensive and personable service without them.

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