How'd they get to where they are now? Let's find out.
Megan Roantree chats to brilliant Irish women in all areas of business about the daring chances they took which made their projects all the more successful – and the advice they’d give to those looking for a push.
First, it’s Chupi Sweetman, designer and creative director of jewellery brand Chupi
“When I left fast fashion and fell in love with jewellery everyone was aghast, leaving a relatively stable industry for what’s perceived as merely a hobby by most people seemed crazy. I remember a dear friend asking if I was sure I wanted to make jewellery as there were lots of people making jewellery already! But I genuinely believed that we could make beautiful things in Ireland that would be loved all over the world.
It’s crazy that even in today’s liberal age that the biggest challenge I’ve overcome has to be being a woman. When I was twenty-one and had this incredible contract with Topshop I applied for a credit card for the company, I was refused at the same time my boyfriend who was only in college was given a card with €3k on it. I’ve had to fight harder and smarter, but it’s made me who I am so I’m okay with it.”
Chupi’s advice: “Life is meant to be loads of things, challenging, busy, hard, exciting, but it shouldn’t be boring. I quit my first career because I wasn’t being challenged. I think if you want something bad enough you will find a way to make it possible. If you have a dream chase it.”
Grace Reed, CEO of online beauty store TRND Beauty
“People were cautious of me taking on too much. I work in sales and marketing for a fire and electrical company, own and run TRNDbeauty.com by myself, own and run L.A. Girl Cosmetics Ireland with my business partner Karen, am a mum to two-year-old Fionn and am expecting baby number two in May. I have a very supportive system around me, my parents have their own business and have been a huge help in making business decisions etc – but I am also the type of person that has to do things for myself and if in my gut I feel I need to do something, I do it.
Still every day I am faced with challenges. I studied and am trained in Food Science, I never did business, even in secondary school. I think that has been the biggest challenge for me. I had to not only learn the processes of business, the lingo but also the fact that sometimes these processes don’t go the way you expect and you have to learn to pick yourself up very quickly. The major challenge with TRNDbeauty was getting brands to believe in you at the start, and the only person that can convince them of that is you.”
Grace’s advice: “The main thing I will say is – believe in your own capabilities, make decisions but make calculated decisions. Cash flow is king and never underestimate that. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, make friends with people in the industry and chat to them, ask them what you don’t know. It has been very rare that someone hasn’t been willing to help.”
Niamh Herrity, CEO of Pink Kong Animation Studio
“Some advice we were given was ‘Don’t rush into launching your showreel, make sure it is really good so you wow potential clients’. This was something we thought about hard and could see the merit in it. But we felt that we needed to get out there and start making a name. So we launched whatever we had very early on- I think this worked in our favour as it allowed us to do smaller projects and bring in some money while we were working on our own ideas. It also gave us credibility when we were pitching for larger commercial work and our TV/Film ideas.
Like every company we’ve had a few knock backs along the way. Not every pitch we have put forward has been successful, but what we do when that happens is we regroup and take a serious look it. If we feel the concept is worth another look we will spend some more time on it. If not, we put it on the ‘shelf’, we learn from it- try to understand what the market is looking for and move forward. It’s about learning when to let go of ideas as much as pushing them forward.”
Niamh’s advice: “Research, research, research- know who your target customers are, where you can reach them and then start knocking on doors. The worst that can happen is someone says ‘No’, and if that happens keep going until you get a ‘Yes’.”
You can read more from some of the most inspiring Irish women in business in the May issue of STELLAR Magazine, on shelves now.
Get the latest news, hottest trends & biggest competitions to your inbox.