How I Got My Job: Ella de Guzman, Founder At Siopaella
We quizzed Siopaella's Ella de Guzman on what it takes to run a successful retail business, and how she's got to where she is now.
Name: Ella de Guzman
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Job Title: Founder, Siopaella
Studied: Anthropology, Real Estate and Fashion
How did Siopaella come about?
I moved to Dublin from Vancouver in 2010 with my boyfriend Steve and saw there was a gap in the marketplace for consignment stores – a concept super popular in Canada. I opened Siopaella in January of 2011 in Temple Bar.
Did you always want to work in this area?
Yes! I love fashion and interiors and I have always wanted to have my own consignment boutique. Back in Vancouver I loved buying and selling everything from fashion to interiors and would constantly trawl through garage sales and the classifieds to find new things.
Did your previous experience help you?
My previous professional experience included commercial real estate and employment services, so I was always involved in dealing with lots of people, which is what I love about this business. Back home in Vancouver I was also buying and selling everything from clothing to chairs as a side hobby.
We’re always looking at ways to expand and grow the business so I’m always researching new opportunities.
What does a typical day look like in your job?
I’m involved in all aspects of the business from authenticating designer bags that come in, styling customers and buying from the public. We’re always looking at ways to expand and grow the business so I’m always researching new opportunities. No day is the same for any of us at Siopaella!
What challenges have you experienced?
Securing additional retail premises has been a challenge as we grow. We now have three locations but we still want to expand in to other areas in Ireland and Europe. Competing with international firms is very challenging. Good real estate is always hard to find as the wrong location can kill a retail business.
How have you dealt with challenges?
We keep researching new opportunities and have recently launched siopaella.com which is effectively our fourth store and luckily does not require prime real estate!
There’s no such thing as saying ‘that’s not my job’ and I think this ethos is what has made us grow as a business and be successful.
What have been your career highlights?
Being featured on Xpose and Ireland AM was a definite career highlight, as well as being chosen by Galaxy Ireland to be their partner in their 2014 Style Exchange campaign. We’re extremely lucky to have such a loyal and wonderful customer base and we’ve made so many great friends along the years.
What’s the best bit about your job?
Aside from getting to bring our two dogs Louis and Raquel to work everyday?! I love how every day is different and that we get to meet loads of new people and hear the histories of pieces that come into Siopaella. Being able to be around Chanel and Louis Vuitton bags isn’t bad either.
And the drawbacks?
Not having enough time to just relax and chill out. Myself and Steve work crazy hours, most times it’s seven days a week and 14 hour days but luckily we love what we do.
What’s been the key to your success?
I have the best team and without them we wouldn’t be where we are today. We all work really hard and try to provide the best possible service imaginable. There’s no such thing as saying ‘that’s not my job’ and I think this ethos is what has made us grow as a business and be successful.
To be successful, work with people who inspire you and support you and always be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.
What advice would you give anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
Be prepared to put in a lot of hours and hard work, and find the right team. To be successful, work with people who inspire you and support you and always be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.
What’s the earning potential?
Limitless… Or at least a nice wardrobe.
What sort of career progression is there?
There’s the possibility to grow the business across the country, Europe and abroad. We’ve looked at properties in Cork, Edinburgh, Vancouver and London so fingers crossed one day we can get there! We’re lucky that our team is pretty adventurous and are open to the idea of buying and selling Chanel abroad.
Psst! Catch Ella’s Style CV in STELLAR’s June Issue – out 13th May!
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