Celebrating International Women’s Day by acknowledging our Women Chamber Members who started and grew their business during Covid.
Meet Kamila Niedzwiedzka from Autoboom. Autoboom is situated at Crotty’s Corner Abbeyside and specialises in Premium Car wash, Valeting, Scratch Removal and offers a Shop and Petrol Station.
Originally from Poland, Kamila moved to Ireland in 2007 and then to Dungarvan just 5 years ago. Already Kamila has taken on the sole management of Autoboom. Kamila is the only female in a male dominated business, and she’s delighted to be ‘in charge’!
Kamila says “It was a big decision to make, because cleaning cars is a very hard work and it wasn’t something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I found that I was good with coordinating our great team, logistics, scheduling and all the background management. I am fortunate to be surrounded by specialists, professionals, and they always help me. We are a great team!”
Autoboom are always busy – you just have to look as you’re going past the site. They look after individuals who own cars of all shapes and sizes and numerous local car dealers and garages including Paul O Connor Cars, Dungarvan Nissan, Kieran Sandford, Tommy Kiely, Kevin Shields and more. Autoboom are not limited to cars though, they also work on vans and commercial vehicles too. Kamila specifies that their biggest business is cars for the purpose of premium car wash, valeting, and preparation for sale.
Kamila says the biggest lesson in business so far is not to lose your focus. Give your core business full concentration. This has been a happy journey for Kamila who exclaims “I love my job! This is something that I would never have expected. I can’t live without it!”
Speaking about what she loves, Kamila identifies her customers are very kind, her employees (men only) are excellent to work with and overall the atmosphere is great.
To switch off Kamila enjoys reading books and fashion magazines like Vogue and watching TV. Kamila loves her work so much, “But I am really relaxing when I am working, whoever knows me will confirm it”, Kamila says.
Kamila’s guilty pleasures are white chocolate and comedies, separate or simultaneously, she’ll enjoy them either way.
To find out more about the services and options at Autoboom or to book in click on https://autoboom.ie/
Balloonatics was an idea conceived and developed during the first Covid lockdown by Mary Curran and her children Morgan & Marley Mae.
In addition to Easter Eggs, in 2020 the Easter Bunny left an “Easter Bunny Balloon” display in the Curran/ Kelly household. So impressed were they, that they decided to recreate the arrangement about a week later, and encouraged by their own attempts, they started to watch balloon making tutorials on YouTube where they learned how to make many more designs and displays. This passed a lot of time for the family during Covid, and so when restrictions lifted a little and they were delighted to do drive by’s at their friends’ houses for their birthdays they began making little balloon displays as gifts to brighten up the occasion. They also dropped balloon displays to neighbours doors out of the blue for no reason just to cheer them up.
After a couple of months, and much more experienced at making displays, Mary was asked by various people to know if they could order some balloons as gifts for people and that’s how it started to turn into a commercial venture!
This busy Balloon Company now makes themed balloon arches, balloon displays, balloon clusters, balloon towers for all ages, occasions and interests. The trio love to be challenged with new requests and find it really enjoyable as well as creative.
Mum, Mary, takes care of advertising, the design is a collaboration of ideas and the delivery is back to mum again (well Morgan & Marley Mae are 9 and 7 so a little young to drive)
The market for Balloonatics is people of all ages and for all occasions. It’s also companies, offices, different types of businesses, and is quite popular in pubs, hotels and restaurants.
The biggest lesson Balloonatics has learned so far was not to have done it sooner, there is huge business for events and decor etc going forward and they are already branching into full event decor.
What they did not expect was how busy they got so fast!
Chill out time is Sunday afternoons, where they go for walks, spend time together doing other activities or just rest at home catching up on a movie etc.
To view the fabulous arrangements and arches
Click on to Facebook Balloonatics Instagram @molls_balloonatics and you can also order by phone 087 9907588
Copper Coast By Lisa
Copper Coast By Lisa is a new online business that specialise in bespoke and personalised gifts. Every design is created and handcrafted by Lisa, which means everything has a real personal touch. The business offers the perfect solution for gift giving to those individuals who ‘have everything’. Lisa’s products are simple but yet they prove to be meaningful gifts. Copper Coast By Lisa products are said to pull the heartstrings of many customers, especially the bespoke portraits.
The start of this business was a happy accident… Lisa says she never intended on setting up a business when she first started out. “I simply created a hobby during the first Covid lockdown to keep my mind occupied, but when I began to grow an audience and a customer base I immediately knew this was something I wanted to do long term. Although at the time I was in my final year of college and I struggled to balance both, business was always a priority.”
During lockdown, many individuals were looking for thoughtful and sentimental gifts when they couldn’t connect with each other in person, but this thoughtful gifting has continued despite the lifting of restrictions. Lisa says she has received many videos of customers opening their portraits and shedding tears of joy, which reminds her continuously that what she does is so special.
Currently Copper Coast by Lisa’s main cohort of customers are females 20-50 years of age.
The biggest lesson Lisa has learned so far is being aware of how much a person can achieve if they really put their mind to something. Being a business owner comes with a lot of challenges, but Lisa always likes to try and focus on the positives!
A positive Lisa didn’t expect was “During the summer of 2021, I was shortlisted in Arnotts Pitch ’21, where Arnotts department store gave an opportunity to support start-up businesses to showcase their products in store and give the ultimate winner €10,000. I applied on a bit of a whim, not expecting to receive a phone call but low and behold I was called up to Dublin to showcase my products in front of the Pitch ’21 judges. Out of thousands of applicants less than 30 made the shortlist so I was absolutely thrilled to be one of those chosen. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the final 5 but it was such an amazing experience and really gave me the confidence to grow my business.”
Lisa is always creative and considering ideas for her creations so she finds it hard to switch off fully, but she chills out by spending time with her friends and boyfriend.
The guilty pleasure Lisa enjoys is an early night in with her doggies and a Chinese takeaway while watching a good series on Netflix.
Check out https://coppercoastbylisa.com/ to see more about Lisa’s business and the range of thoughtful and individual gifts available.
Dungarvan Chiropractic Clinic
Dr. Anita Gleeson BSc MSc DC
Following five years of intensive studying, and subsequently graduating from the reputable Glamorgan University in Wales, Anita returned to Ireland in 2009 to begin work in busy clinics in the midlands and Tipperary for three years. This led to the setting up of Dungarvan Chiropractic Clinic in 2012, firstly working from a rented room in the Dungarvan Alternative Health Care Clinic and later, in April 2020, moving into a new state of the art premises on Sexton Street, Abbeyside, Co. Waterford.
With the opening of the new clinic, a second chiropractor and a receptionist joined the team.
Chiropractic is a primary health care profession that specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and management of problems relating to muscles, bones and ligaments of the body.
Speaking about being inspired to work in this sector and opening her own practice Anita tells of her own experience with a Chiropractor at age 13 which helped a chronic problem she had, since then she was fascinated by the mechanics and scientific evidence behind Chiropractic. When it came to work experience in transition year in school Anita went to shadow a number of Chiropractors around Ireland. Straight away she realised this was the career path for her.
Currently, there are no universities in this country training chiropractors. There are just 150 chiropractors in Ireland, the majority being from New Zealand or Australia. Anita knew there was huge demand for chiropractors in Ireland which encouraged her to open a business here. A lot of people are now understanding how important spinal health is and realise that the spine is the one thing you cannot replace, unlike hips/ knees! People are seeking more natural ways to treat back pain and trying to avoid medication and surgery and therefore the mindset towards spinal health is changing in Ireland which is exciting and something she wanted to be part of. Anita’s mother is originally from Dungarvan so a lot of her family live close by which encouraged Anita to set up business in Dungarvan.
The target market/ average customer at Dungarvan Chiropractic Clinic
Anita and her colleagues at Dungarvan Chiropractic Clinic treat a wide variety of conditions from babies with colic, adolescents with scoliosis, top professional athletes and geriatric patients suffering with arthritis. Chiropractic clinics tend to work within two different business plans. One being ‘pain based’ (just attend when in pain) and the other ‘wellness based’ (regular chiropractic treatment to stay well and avoid future episodic events). In DCC they offer both, which means patients have the option for maintenance, but they are also available if needed for injury or flare up.
Biggest lesson so far: This Anita admits is “One person cannot do everything! I have 15 years of experience as a chiropractor which I like to think I have achieved a high standard at, however I am most definitely not as expert in IT, HR, advertising, payroll, sales or cleaning, so for that reason the biggest lesson I have learned is to accept that fact and outsource these jobs to people who are experts in their fields and learn from them.”
A positive about her business, Anita didn’t expect, was her treatment numbers are most definitely higher since the arrival of Covid, which she put down to people working from home. It could be due to more clients needing her services as poor ergonomics has lead to a multitude of neck and back complaints. Also Anita observes that because people are generally working from home more people have greater flexibility to come in during the day as opposed to late in the evening after returning from their work commute. People are able to come into the clinic if called for a last minute cancellation appointment much easier and therefore it is rare now that we have empty treatment slots.
To switch off/ chill out, Anita enjoys horse riding, which has been her main hobby over the years. Yoga and running keeps her grounded, stress free, fit and strong which is needed to endure the long physical days at work!
The guilty pleasure Anita shares is a tall glass of merlot and a good catch up with friends!
To find out more click on to https://dungarvanchiropractic.ie/about/
Dust + Rock
During a 2010 epic backpacking adventure around South America, Susan Furniss Radley first encountered the problem: ”How could I keep my phone TO hand but not IN my hand?… and so the idea of The Original Wrist Pocket was born
Role on 10 years……. Susan was a commercial pilot, mom of 3 small boys and decided to take a risk, leaving her flying job behind to bring the Original Wrist Pocket to life.
That same year, The Original Wrist Pocket secured Susan a place at the finals of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. Then in 2021 more exciting news arrived in the form of winning Virgin Media’s Backing Business campaign!
Susan admits “It’s been a whirlwind adventure, resulting in the opening of offices + a fulfilment centre here in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford in 2021. Today, Dust + Rock are on a mission to empower women through fashionable + functional products that will assist them in living a safe and carefree life.”
A busy person to the core, when Susan is not parenting, designing or looking after her business operations, logistics and promotion, you’ll find her sea swimming here in beautiful Dungarvan!
To see more about Dust + Rock check out https://dustandrock.com/
The GreenWay Eco Store
Naoive Coggin opened the GreenWay Eco Store in January 2021 in the height of the pandemic. Enabling customers to buy plastic free, the emphasis is on refilling, so customers can bring empty containers from home, which are then refilled with products like laundry and cleaning products, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
The vision for the GreenWay Eco Store was to be enable customers to buy as much Irish plastic free goods as possible, without creating waste for the customer. In the last year, the laundry and cleaning refill station in this one shop had prevented over 5000 plastic bottles from being dumped and avoided a combined 230kg of plastic waste.
In the food range, Naoive sells dried fruit, nuts, cereals, granolas, spices, oils, vinegars and flour. Dry products are dispensed into paper bags if customers don’t have a container with them. Naoive also offers a carefully curated range of Irish artisan products and healthcare, all in recyclable packaging.
The inspiration to take the chance and open this business was Naoive herself always trying to avoid plastic and waste packaging. She gives the example of a supermarket cucumber “it’s very hard to get one that isn’t shrink wrapped, yet it has its own skin that just needs to be washed. Every single thing we buy generally has waste. So, my vision was to be able to buy as much as possible plastic free.
‘Typical’ customers for the GreenWay Eco Store are a broad range of people; from children who come in with their container to refill with sweets, to the eco conscious customer, to vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, as well as people living alone who only want 100g of rice not a huge box that ends up in the press for months. Naoive calls them all ‘conscious shoppers’.
The biggest lesson for Naoive so far on this journey is that it doesn’t happen overnight … you need patience especially when you are introducing a new way to shop, or maybe it’s reintroducing the way we shopped in the 70s!
A positive Naoive didn’t expect is the customers themselves … Naoive claims to have ‘the best customers in the world’. Developing this more she says, “We have the chat, there is a great social element to the shop. They talk to each other, swap recipes … it’s such a nice space to work in”.
To relax Naoive loves to read, she’s in a small local book club so they swap books, but she thinks they may need to rename themselves and call it a ‘media club’, as everything gets discussed films, plays etc. Naoive also loves cooking, baking and spending time with her kids, who also work in the shop from time to time.
Naoive’s guilty pleasure is a Tayto crisp sandwich … she says “it’s got to be Cheese and Onion with a can of Heineken. I know … totally unhealthy … about once a year I break out! My first job when I was 16, was working in Tayto crisps in Coolock, so there’s a bit of nostalgia in every bite.”
Call in to the Greenway Eco Store on 14 Grattan Square or see more on https://www.facebook.com/Greenway-Eco-Store-Dungarvan
Hive Education is a new after-school concept; bridging the academic and emotional wellbeing of primary aged children. People learn while having fun, building confidence, self-esteem, self-regulation and coping skills.
As a primary school teacher, specialising in Special Educational Needs, Aodhnait Flynn was concerned by the increasing number of children presenting with anxiety related issues. Throughout her Postgraduate Diploma in SEN and a Masters in Education in UCC, Aodhnait focused her research on anxiety related issues in children and how anxiety effects academic progress. Aodhnaits studies found that most teachers have not received adequate training in order to respond to the needs of children with emotional needs; therefore, she sought avenues to develop such skills; from play therapy to CBT for teachers. Aodhnait found that mindfulness was the best option for her and the children with whom she was working. It was then she undertook personal training and found it beneficial to her own life, before introducing it in school.
Through discussion with parents Aoodhnait learned there was demand for such an after-school service.
In the summer of 2020 Aodhnait began a business mentorship programme with the Waterford Local Enterprise Office in order to gain a greater understanding of starting a business. With this support, some risk, a lot of planning, plenty of help from family and friends and great determination Aodhnait launched Hive Education in August 2021. “It has been a great journey so far; encouraged greatly by the response of children and their parents on first seeing the inspiring space of Hive, on their growing happiness, academic progress and their ability to deal with tricky situations in a calm way” she says.
The biggest lesson Aodhnait has learned has been the importance of local support; word of mouth, alongside social media has been paramount to spreading the word about Hive. Although Dungarvan is a small town, Aodhnait has learned that it is not obvious to all that Hive Education exists. Aodhnait works extremely hard to get the news out but realises it can be difficult to keep pushing a business in general conversation, but that it is vital.
A positive in business which Aodhnait has experienced, has been meeting so many new people and seeing how Hive Education has helped make life easier and happier for so many children and their families.
Chill out time for this lady is time spent going for long walks in all the beautiful Deise surroundings, beach, woods, trails, mountains etc.
A guilty pleasure for Aodhnait is some reality TV, escaping into ‘ 90 Day Fiance ‘ (disaster) TV!
See more about Hive Education on https://www.facebook.com/HiveEd
IASC – Caitlin Ni Aodha
Following a 150-year family tradition in the fishing industry all her life, and being owner of a 24 metre freezer trawler which fishes off the west coast of Ireland, it has always been an ambition of Caitlin Ni Aodha to open a good quality seafood takeaway.
In 2020 just three weeks before the pandemic began, Cailtin opened IASC at 78 O’Connell Street (which was the former Dungarvan Leader Office).
Trying to establish a business which faced forced closures during some periods of restrictions was very challenging admits Caitlin. But she has been kept busy in other areas too saying that “in the last two years, I have been concentrating on developing my own brand and getting the name of IASC out there, as being a place of good quality seafood, my tartare sauce was selected by Aldi as part of the Grow with Aldi programme and the product was carried in all their stores in Ireland.
The target market for Iasc is those who appreciate and love a good quality fish and chips/fish dishes. Caitlin wasn’t expecting so many young people, and knows they’re attracted by the excellent food and really nice ambience. Caitlin likes to create an atmosphere of a friendly family run business, she has also noticed that many customers have a deep respect for Caitlins background in, and knowledge of the fishing industry.
If seafood is good quality, people of all ages will eat it. Caitlin says she has observed that ‘We as a country are changing our attitude to fish and a lot more people want to eat it. Social Media is so important in any business these days. This is one of the new lessons that I have learned. You can attract young people by social media, and they will return because of the tasty quality experience’
Speaking about her many strands of business Caitlin says “I own the MFV Dearbhla which is a 24 metre freezer trawler. I employ 6 lads, plus the skipper for my vessel. We fish mostly off the west coast and the Porcupine bank predominantly for prawn and monkfish. About 90% of the fish we catch is exported to the continent. The trawler supplies the excellent fish stock to Iasc which employs 4 full time staff and 2 part time staff.
Adding more to her repertoire, Caitlin has more plans! “Late last year I bought Maisie’s Gin Bar, which is a lovely and well known premise’s in Dungarvan. At the moment I am in the process of turning it into a Seafood/Steak restaurant” says Caitlin.
Switching off is important and so to do this Caitlin says she is “a passionate GAA fan. I love going on a Sunday to a match in Thurles and then afterwards meeting the family for Sunday lunch and enjoy a drink when I get home.
I also love music and I believe music has helped me get through some difficult times in my life. I am also a talker, so a good meal with friends is a great cure for anything.”
To find out more or book a table see https://www.facebook.com/iascseafoodbar/
Or call to the takeaway/ Restaurant at 78 O’Connell Street, Dungarvan
Isabel’s Place is an Irish design and gift shop in Dungarvan Co Waterford owned by Isabel Ronayne Healy. Currently stocking over 100 Irish makers and businesses. Isabel wanted to create a treasure trove, a happy place and somewhere that will make customers smile as they wander around. Isabel also offers ‘good music’ so the experience of viewing all the stock including ceramics, jewellery, wall pieces, socks, candles and lots of quirky bits is a really enjoyable one!
Promoting the venture, Isabel says “I always knew I wanted my own shop from an early age. I always knew I wanted to be my own boss. I thought the timing was finally perfect and everything had come together. Covid obviously laughed at my plans but I’m still glad I started when I did. In an age when everything is online I was adamant I wanted a brick and mortar as my main focus and while I still have a strong online presence I love the connection of meeting my customers face to face.”
When identifying Isabel’s Place target market, Isabel gets very passionate as she describes how she caters for people who love and care about quality, who love a story with their piece. Irish design with a modern twist. Isabel has worked hard to offer a wide variety of pieces so it’s as likely to see a teenager in store, as someone more senior, both finding something they adore.
Biggest lesson so far for Isabel since opening her business is not to obsess over the little things. She recommends that you ‘trust your own intuition and go with your gut’. This is a person who opened one week before Covid restrictions shut her shop down, if ever there is someone entitled to obsess or talk about lessons and negatives in business it’s Isabel, but her spirit is so positive and her resilience so strong, it’s like this ‘blip’ didn’t happen. Isabel used the time to concentrate on her online business which she was able to build forced retail closures.
A positive Isabel didn’t expect from this venture was all the relationships she’s made with her customers and suppliers, and the sense of community she’s found.
Switching off completely is hard for Isabel, but she admits that her ‘work life balance is atrocious!’ Her favorite thing to do in her spare time is research new suppliers or make plans for Instagram or new ideas for the shop. But she does have a guilty pleasure which might help her relax; a delicious Pinot Grigio – nothing wrong with that!
For more see the Isabels Place website https://isabelsplace.ie/
Or pop in to the shop on Main Street, Dungarvan
Sinéad MacRuairí is a Health Consultant and owner of newly formed Lifetime Health, Dungarvan. Lifetime Health delivers bespoke health solutions to individuals and organisations who wish to achieve specific goals relating to physical & mental health.
Following a road traffic accident that left Sinéad with prolapsed discs in her neck, the advice was no more exercise and to take it easy. Being a qualified Personal Trainer and believing completely that there was another way, Sinéad put herself through her own rehabilitation program with 100% success. From there, she knew she could help others do the same. Sinéad also saw from her own experience how physical aches and pains affect people emotionally and mentally. Sinéad went back to further education and trained in Counselling, Cranio-sacral Treatment and Life Coaching before establishing the Lifetime Health Clinic.
Speaking about her target market/average customer, Sinéad says she’s in the business of health and well-being and has mastered designing and delivering the right programs that get results. Sinéad works with individuals and organizations who have become aware of the need to address their health or create a more health conscious work environment as a potential customer.
Following the launch of her business, Sinéad’s biggest lesson so far has been around customer service and the knowledge that delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty. Sinéad explained “Promotional gimmicks have not worked for Lifetime Health, reducing customer effort and work they must do to get their problem solved, does. Also, consistency is key”.
A positive Sinéad didn’t expect was how grounded she is about operating her own business. She said “Prior to launching I was concerned about the stress levels and the business taking over my life. But I have put good daily habits and routines in place that empower me and allow for the smooth running of the business alongside a great personal life”.
To relax Sinéad enjoys walking and cooking and was proud to report “I hiked the full Kerry Way recently with full back pack and I enjoy picking something from my cookbooks to bake or cook at the weekend when I have more time. Sadly, I’m also a bit of an anorak and love to study. I’m currently doing my advanced anatomy with the London College of Osteopathy.”
Sinéad is well entitled to her guilty pleasure which is a full bodied red wine and Green & Blacks chocolate.
For more on Sinéad and what she offers visit www.lifetime-health.ie
Luxe Skin & Beauty
Luxe Skin & beauty is a modern, luxurious salon which has a vast menu of beauty treatments available. Specializing in Bridal Makeup, Advanced Skincare and Brow treatments, I believe there are many exciting new things to come from the beauty industry, especially in skincare and skincare technology. I aspire to bring these cutting edge treatments to Dungarvan.
Owner of Luxe is Elaine McGrath who says “Starting my own business is something that I have always wanted to do. I had been working in the beauty industry for 13 years and had gained experience both in Ireland and internationally, in a variety of different industry settings. I moved to Dungarvan in 2014, I’m originally from Galway but I met my now husband in Australia, he is from here. It wasn’t easy at the beginning but I slowly started to build a clientele in Dungarvan. It wasn’t a straight path to where I am now but everything I did along the way added to my professional experience. This experience gave me the confidence to finally take the risk. Ironically enough this confidence came in the centre of a pandemic. I just had my first baby, planned our wedding and opened my own salon in the space of 12 months. It was hectic but I didn’t mind because I knew I’d made the right decision. If you’re passionate about what you do you will make it work. I knew I was capable of making it work.”
My biggest lesson so far is understanding and accepting that success does not happen overnight. There is no magic secret to success, it’s just hard work, consistency and patience to stick with it through the bad days. The good days make it worth it! A positive I didn’t expect was the overwhelming amount of support I received from people when I opened! The community of small business owners in Dungarvan are so welcoming and supportive to new businesses and my clients have been so complimentary of my salon and the treatments I offer.
Being self-employed and a mother, it can be so hard to switch off. However, a night out with friends catching up over dinner and wine always does the trick!! A guilty pleasure…? I have many…! A few cheeky cocktails in Merry’s bar – they’re delicious!!
For more information and treatments check out https://luxeskinbeauty.ie/
McHugh Accounting and Consultancy
Maria McHugh has 3 young children and for 7 years had been on maternity leave/career break. In early 2021 with a move from Dublin back to her native Dungarvan imminent, Maria felt the time was right to start thinking about getting back to her career. While on her career break Maria gave tax and business advice to friends and family, and demand for this advice kept growing and it was work she really enjoyed. A friend then asked her to be the accountant and tax advisor for her online retail business. Reflecting on all the career options open to her and taking her young family into account, Maria decided to go for it and open her own accountancy practice. This gave her the flexibility she needed so she could still be hands on at home which always remained a priority for her. Maria admits it was a very daunting and scary step to take especially after being on a career break for so long, but Maria is delighted she took the leap and hasn’t looked back since.
Maria established McHugh Accounting and Consultancy in summer 2021, and provides tax, business set-up and business management advice to sole traders and micro businesses. Clients who work with Maria get a one-to-one personalised service with a highly experienced Chartered Accountant. Services Maria provides include business and tax planning, information on tax registration and filing obligations, accountancy software set-up and implementation, business expansion and financial projects.
“As a small business owner myself I completely understand the stresses and worries that owners can have. You can trust that I will always listen to your questions and work with you to achieve excellence for your business ” – Maria
Maria has a passion for business and local enterprise and loves to work with small sole traders or micro/small businesses. This might be people who have a hobby business they want to formalise/expand, or those who have recently taken the brave steps to set up a business. Although she hasn’t set out to target women alone, Maria has found that women, and mums in particular, make up a lot of her clients so far.
“I love meeting women and mums in business and supporting them on their journey. As a working mum myself I can really empathise with the challenges women and mums face. I do my best to guide and encourage all clients and help them make a success of their business.” – Maria
The biggest lesson so far for Maria has been to have faith in her own ability and to believe in herself more. A common feeling that many women will connect with, is knowing they can achieve a lot, they just need to believe it and trust themselves.
Since moving back to Dungarvan from Dublin, Maria has been really grateful for the support from her local community. The welcome she and her young family received from neighbours and old friends has been amazing and Maria has been really touched by the encouragement and support they show for her business.
To chill out, Maria loves cooking and reading cookbooks. In 2013 she did a 3-month cookery course and really enjoyed it and learned so much. She loves cooking different cuisines and at the moment Thai is her favourite with Italian a close second! When she gets a minute, Maria also likes walking while listening to podcasts, Irishman in America with Marion McKeone is her favourite. Like many of us at the weekend, Maria enjoys a glass of wine and a good crime drama or Netflix series.
Maria is brave enough to share her guilty pleasure: “reality” TV shows like ‘90 Day fiancé’ and Love Island, pure escapism but she loves it!
For more information please follow Maria on Instagram @mchughaccountingandconsultancy where she often posts business and tax tips, or visit her website www.mchughaccountingconsultancy.com.
Professional Beauty is a Beauty Salon, Store & Training Academy which was opened by Jillian Lake in July 2020.
Since opening the salon short of two years ago Jillian is delighted to tell us that they have “grown beyond any of my wildest dreams. Last October we even took home a national award at the Tia Maria Hair & Beauty Awards 2021 for Best Bridal Prep Salon 2021. We offer a range of treatments such as Bridal Makeup, Occasional Makeup, Eyebrow Treatments, Lash Treatments, Waxperts Waxing and ASAP Facials & Skincare. We have become prominent for the quality of our treatments, standard of our training as well as our exceptional customer service. “
The decision to open her own business was a combination of inspirations. Jillian says “I wanted to create my dream beauty salon, a place where every day feels like a weekend. I felt that there was a gap in the market for a trendy and modern Beauty Salon which offered something a little different. So in January 2020 I made the decision to open Professional Beauty. Despite all of the curveballs thrown my way – COVID of course being a major factor, we have still grown in every aspect – the team, the salon, the treatments, the clients – everything. I am so glad and proud to have taken the risk to start Professional Beauty. It is everything I have wished for and more.”
When discussing a target market or average customer Jillian says she doesn’t profile. “I believe that everyone deserves to feel their best selves which is why our treatments are affordable and non gender, ethnicity or age specific. Our customers range from 15-90, from male-female. We want every one of our clients to feel their very best selves leaving Professional Beauty” explains Jillian
The biggest business lesson Jillian has learned so far is to treat your clients like royalty. Professional Beauty mission is ‘to make every client feel as important as the next, and nothing is too much to ask.’ Jillian and her team are happy and willing to go above and beyond for their clients to ensure the very best treatment and customer service possible. Jillian is a firm believer that if clients are happy, the business is in good shape.
A positive Professional Beauty didn’t expect was the growth. Jillian tells us more, “I absolutely never expected Professional Beauty to have grown and succeeded so much in such a short period of time. To have opened the business in the middle of a pandemic, completely on my own at just 23 years of age was a scary thing to do, and to be going into my second year of business with a growing team of 4, a fully booked client list, a national award and to be a recognised accredited college is still hard for me to comprehend. I am so grateful for the incredible support system I have behind me, and the most incredible team of hard-working, supportive and talented girls.”
Switching off for is something Jillian struggles with, as her mind is thinking about her next move Staying active and yoga help Jillian to chill out and relax.
Jillian’s guilty pleasure is rewatching old rom-coms a countless amount of times! Who can ever get sick of watching Pretty Woman?
To find out more about Professional Beauty click on https://www.professionalbeautyco.com/
REN Wellness is a mother and daughter run business, specialising in high quality crystals and all things wellness. REN Wellness was founded on the ethos that crystal healing and self care should be easily available to everyone.
Crystals are something that Gemma and her daughter Vivian both have an interest in for many years and would enjoy traveling to Crystal and wellness fares and shops around the country. Overtime they identified Dungarvan had a gap in this market and they decided to really go for it during the pandemic. They started by contacting the Waterford Local Enterprise Office (LEO) for advice and started doing courses eg How To Start Your Own Business and Social Media Marketing which gave them a great concept around all that was needed to run a business.
The business is mainly online, REN Wellness can have your products delivered to you anywhere in Ireland. Customers can also find Gemma in (Joe) Kelly’s Chemist on the Causeway, Abbeyside on Wednesdays to Saturdays
REN Wellness customers are anyone interested in self care, wellness, meditation, yoga and other mindfulness practices. Customers don’t need to know a thing about crystals, Gemma and Vivian explain everything, and what’s ideal for all types of personalities, ailments and stages in life.
Gemma shares that the biggest lesson she has learned for far is to “believe in yourself, just do it and see what you can achieve. It’s amazing what can be accomplished once you step outside of your comfort zone”
They are also blown away with the support towards them when they started out in business and say that in particular the support from (Joe) Kelly, Pharmacy Abbeyside allowed them have a shop presence without the big expense.
To completely switch off, Gemma likes to go for walks along Abbeyside Beach and Church with her dog Jax. “I love to walk and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful surroundings and hear the waves of the sea – it’s like meditation. Spending time meditating or being surrounded by my ever growing crystal collection is another pleasure I like to indulge in” says Gemma.
The guilty pleasure Gemma enjoys when she has a ‘bit of me time’ involved incense, chocolate and a good Netflix series to binge watch.
For more on REN Wellness and to see the range of products available, click https://renwellness.ie
SMB Media Solutions
SMB Media Solutions which is headed up by Sarah Burden are a social media marketing and optimization agency that provides consultation, Social Media Management, audits, and campaigns to maximize results for every client.
Having worked at Sony Pictures London for 20 Years as a Brand Manager, specifically in broadcast media, Sarah gained massive experience and a wealth of skills.
In 2016, Sarah left London and moved to Dungarvan for a better life for her family, Sarah found it hard to find a job in her field, and it being a daunting experience being in a new town and not knowing anyone. Sarah took a job at Carphone Warehouse, where she worked for four years; here she found it an excellent opportunity to get to know the local community. So when it closed in April 2021, she felt that it was the right time to start her own business, as she knew many companies struggled with their online presence/websites during the pandemic.
Sarah formed SMB Media Solutions, whose target market is small businesses and local sole traders who need help with online exposure. People in business have so much going on and the speed of social media and the platforms where marketing is possible makes it a tough job for people trying to run a business to get a handle on, and so the type of service Sarah offers is ideal for many small businesses.
The biggest lesson Sarah learned so far was developing a price package that will cater to all clients who want minimal exposure to everyday posts. It can be tricky to create a service that is attractive to clients, competitively priced, and covers the cost of the service provider, as we know social media eats time.
A positive Sarah was not expecting was the enormous welcome of her new venture by so many Dungarvan businesses. Sarah says ‘I’m delighted with the clients I have on my books, looking after their social media platforms and websites, SMB Media Solutions is only five months old, but the business is ahead of where I thought it would be.’
Talking about how she chills out Sarah says she loves to cook; “I’m such a foodie, – I switch off when I’m in the kitchen as well as going for long walks with my British Bulldog called Bear.” Sarah’s guilty pleasure is reality TV – ‘I will watch them all!’ she admits!
For more on SMB Media Solutions check out https://smbmediasolutions.com/
Street Fashion Ave 30 Kamila Jackiewicz
Street Fashion Ave 30 is a ladies boutique opened in 2021 by Kamila Jackiewicz.
Sourcing (smart and leisure) casual clothes from Italy, France, Turkey and Poland.
Ladies can enjoy a complete styling with Kamila in Street Fashion Av 30 as she also stocks accessories and shoes to suit each look.
So what inspired Kamila to give up her full time job and take the huge leap of opening a business in retail?
She says “Fashion has always inspired me. Somewhere in my heart I dreamed of owning small boutique in which I could create beautiful stylisations for everyone – that women feel beautiful. I came up with the idea at the first Covid lockdown. When I was at home for a long time and I had time for deeper thoughts. I took fate in my hands and put it all on one card.”
The majority of Kamila’s clients are particularly age ranging late 20’s to 60’s. Kamila helps each client individualise their style with sizes ranging from 8 to 22, so her offerings appeal to ladies of all shapes and sizes.
Kamila says she also specialises in plus size Women who want to feel comfortable and fashionable. And women who are looking for quick solutions to easily turn day styling into an evening outfit by changing accessories.
When going through positives and negatives Kamila says “I learn something new every day. Each day is a new challenge, but an exciting one.”
Kamila was blown away with the support when she opened, it was an unexpected positive. She has observed that ladies who shop and style with her once return repeatedly.
In her downtime; Kamila greatest reward is when she returns home to the kids as she is a mum of a three.
Together they’re looking forward to warmer days and as they particularly like to spend time hiking. Kamila is happy to live in Dungarvan. “I love our town, beaches and surrounding mountains”, she says.
To see Street Fashion Ave 30 range visit https://www.streetfashionav30.com/
“Sunfleck is a place where you are given a big hug by nature”, says business owner Louise Ryan who wanted to help customers improve their wellbeing, while supporting Irish makers and creators, all with natural products. Sunfleck stocks an unusual combination of indoor plants with the Irish wellness products, for a more immersive experience.
Originally from Golden, Co. Tipperary, Louise has lived in various places around Ireland. In the past 2 years, when the restrictions allowed, Louise & her partner would take a spin to Dungarvan to get some chips or churros and look at the sea. The more they visited, the less Louise wanted to leave. She saw Dungarvan as a fun, bustling town, full of quirky shops and delicious food. Louise envied people who got to live here and she wanted to be a part of it all, so she did!
Another prompt for Louise to take the big step and open a new business was the desire to put her personality and passions together and create a unique business. It was important for Louise to move forward and be her own boss. Louise also likes creative freedom, Louise now loves that this creative expression helped form a business that makes customers smile.
Louise just knew it was time to start her own adventure, having toyed with an idea for a couple of years, so, when the right building came along for rent, Louise jumped at the chance, and both her & her partner moved their lives to Dungarvan. Three months later, Sunfleck opened.
Though it has been both amazing and stressful, Louise is sure it’s the right move.
Back to the Sunfleck offerings: Many products are made bespoke for Sunfleck, such as health tea and aromatherapy, this was very important to Louise from the beginning.
Spending a lot of time researching every product and ways to improve our wellbeing, especially to reduce stress, Sunfleck`s products are divided into the sections; Relax, Breathe and Focus. Customers choose their need and Louise puts together all the bits that help, whether it`s to help people with sleeping or perhaps, improve the air in their home, or maybe it’s to energise people, Louise tailors her suggestions to customer’s needs.
One of Louise’s passions is helping to reduce waste and impact on the environment. A committed purchaser of clothes second-hand for years Louise thought, why stop there? All the furniture in Sunfleck is second-hand or made from pallets that she collected around the town. The plants are watered with collected rainwater. Packaging is eco friendly or reused where possible. All products are chemical-free, from the plant food to the skincare, to make sure your body, your family and your home is safe.
Sunfleck’s target market can be a busy person whether with work or life, who wants to reduce stress levels, improve work/living space, improve health and try something new and natural, or those who have discovered wellbeing and come to Sunfleck for supplies, plants and the happy atmosphere. Louise described how has noticed many people coming in regularly on their lunch breaks, they enjoy the bespoke scents and aromas and they enjoy the cute plants which create a happy atmosphere. They almost always leave with a (sustainable) bag!
The biggest lesson for Louise so far has been that work doesn`t have to feel like “work” in order to be productive or feel satisfying. They say if you love your job, you`ll never work a day in your life. There are definitely days that are stressful, but in general no day is the same, and everyday has a new challenge
Like many businesses in Dungarvan, Louise is amazed at the genuine support from other business owners and customers, she says this is one of her most enjoyable experiences so far. Louise feels welcome into a wide and warm community both physical and virtual.
Louise is pretty ‘chill’ but to switch off properly Louise likes walks by the sea, morning yoga, bedtime reading, using natural smells around her home and watching Netflix with some herbal tea and chocolate under a blanket
The guilty pleasure Louise enjoys is eating Hellmann`s Vegan Mayonnaise with almost every meal. It is a very real addiction!
Sunfleck is located at 38 Mary, Street, Dungarvan. You will also find it https://www.facebook.com/sunfleck.ireland/
The Copper Buoy
Copper Buoy Café & Wine Bar was opened in October 2021 by work partners and cousins Nicola and Tom Walsh.
What prompted Nicola to open a business in Dungarvan one might wonder? She says she was inspired by her cousin, Tom Walsh. Speaking about this she says, “We reconnected as cousins after many years of me living in South Africa and him being an incredibly busy chef in Dublin. Since reconnecting and sharing many dinners and vinos together, our conversations have always led to opening a business. To me he’s a brilliant chef and I have the business acumen so we felt we would be a great team bringing various aspects of business together.”
Target Market for The Copper Buoy is casual dining so their target market are all ages who enjoy really good food in a casual setting. Nicola & Tom have given the restaurant a little ‘street food’ feel so their décor and atmosphere is very welcoming and relaxed.
The biggest lesson so far: Nicola says simply “the plan you start with is not the plan that stays in place, it changes month by month and we need to adapt and grow with the flow!”
A positive Nicola didn’t expect: While a very tough time to open a business, she says the response has been phenomenal. They were both prepared for a very slow start, but the reaction has been incredible with an unexpectedly amazing show of support from the local community, to whom they are most grateful. The latest addition of jazz sessions over Sunday Brunch has also proven a huge welcome to the town, where they support local musicians while their customers enjoy tasty food.
To chill out Nicola says she enjoys good food and great company and for a complete switch off, Nicola loves walking and goes on a Camino trip every year.
To book or find out more check out https://www.facebook.com/copperbuoy
Or call in to see Copper Buoy Café & Wine Bar, 86 O’Connell Street, Dungarvan, X35 FE09
The Hot Pod
Dee Flavin is one half of The Hot Pod – the newest attraction that pops up at weekends on Clonea beach and Kilmurrin Cove. Here clients can relax and rejuvenate the mind and body with a hot sauna session by the beach. The Hot Pod is a beautifully crafted wooden barrel sauna with panoramic views out over the sea. Sauna sessions provide many health benefits including improved cardiovascular health, immune support, reduced inflammation and lifts the mood with a rush of endorphins.
What prompted Dee and her husband Ed to source this unique luxury and offer it to people in Dungarvan and beyond? Dee says “We thought that Dungarvan would be an ideal spot to bring something new like a beach sauna to the area, it’s such an active town. We love the outdoors. Ed (my husband) is an avid sea swimmer, and we liked the idea of working by the beach on the weekend, a change from the office mid-week!”
Dee recently decided to say good bye to her permanent office job and for now is concentrating fully on this business so has taken the plunge into being self employed. This can be a scary space for entrepreneurs, with many lessons to learn, particularly the ones that are unexpected. Dee cites learning how to build a website and navigate business social media channels as one of the biggest educations so far in this business start up journey
But the lessons can be far outweighed by the really lovely aspects of being in business. Something Dee didn’t expect so soon, is getting to know so many people locally. People have been so friendly, positive and encouraging which has been a real force forward to The Hot Pod.
The Hot Pod’s target market is sea swimmers of all age profiles and demographics. Or those who just love a hot sauna. Swimming is optional after all!…although we do recommend a cold plunge for maximum benefit!
People do love to combine the Hot Pod sauna experience with a sea swim. Clients can dip in and out as often as they like during their 30 minute session.
Sessions are for up to 6 people shared (can be booked individually), or 8 for a private group at a rate of 10 euro per person.
Longer sessions, and private hire are also available. Bookings to be made online at www.thehotpod.ie
When Dee’s not building websites or setting up The Hot Pod at a beach, her ultimate switch off is a trip to a spa, or a night away. Others would say its market research considering Dee’s new business!
For more information you can contact Dee on 086-8985758. Additional information can also be found on Instagram or Facebook @thehotpod.ie
Veritas Chartered Accountants & Registered Auditors
Ann Marie Shannon is managing director of Veritas Chartered Accountants & Registered Auditors. She holds a Masters in Accounting and qualified as a Chartered Accountant and Auditor. More recently, she qualified as a Chartered Tax Adviser with the Irish Tax Institute. She worked in both small and ‘Big 4’ accountancy practices and throughout her career has acquired extensive practice and industry experience.
Ann Marie made the decision to open her own accountancy firm to break into what she felt was a predominantly male-led sector in the South East to offer an extensive range of services throughout Ireland. Her business model focuses on start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises and to support women in business. Her core principle aims at developing strategic partnerships that help empower women throughout every stage of their business journey.
Ann Marie is an advocate for volunteering and supports initiatives that give back to local communities. She is a board member of the Solas Cancer Support Centre based in Waterford which provides the highest quality cancer support services in the South East. She is also a member of Network Ireland Waterford branch and in 2022, she became treasurer.
Veritas Chartered Accountants & Registered Auditors is technologically advanced allowing for greater interaction with their clients. Veritas leverages on technology to offer services remotely both regionally and nationally. Ann Marie & her colleagues are specialists in taxation, accounting & auditing whilst also offering bookkeeping & payroll services.
Veritas targets clients that are predominantly start-up companies, professionals, sole traders wishing to expand into companies, and people returning home/coming to Ireland wishing to setup in business. Veritas provides tax advice on retirement and succession planning along with specialist tax advice to High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs).
A lesson learned so far has been not to underestimate the importance of every facet of a business particularly marketing (including brand awareness and online presence), HR etc. and the power of networking. It is all the elements performing that creates success.
A positive Ann Marie did not expect is the feeling of accomplishment throughout each (gradual) step of building her own business website.
Days are intense so to switch off/ chill out Ann Marie enjoys Art, Podcasts, Musical Evenings & Plays and spending time with friends.
To see more about Veritas check out https://www.facebook.com/AuditorsVeritas/