Sarah Gill Sea­green Sandy­cove, Dublin

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Sarah Gill be­lieves her back­ground in the cor­po­rate world of tele­coms has given her a great ground­ing for her pro­gres­sion into the fash­ion and re­tail in­dus­try.

De­spite al­ways hav­ing an in­ter­est in fash­ion and an inkling that she wanted to have her own busi­ness, Gill worked in sales and mar­ket­ing for two large cor­po­ra­tions, O and Dig­i­cel, for a to­tal of nine years be­fore re­sist­ing an­other move within that in­dus­try and de­cid­ing to open what she calls her em­po­rium – an old-fash­ioned de­part­ment store.

Sea­green, which sells a variety of prod­ucts from furniture and clothes to CDs and books (along­side its own tea­room) opened at the start of De­cem­ber 2006 and busi­ness is go­ing well, ac­cord­ing to Gill.

“I de­cided it would be best to have the type of learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence you get in a large com­pany,” the 34-year-old says of her for­mer ca­reer. “So I took as much on board as I could.”

While skills such as peo­ple man­age­ment, mar­ket­ing and sell­ing have all been eas­ily trans­fer­able to her new-found ca­reer, run­ning her own busi­ness still held its own chal­lenges. “It is very dif­fer­ent do­ing it for your­self,” she says, adding that any money she spends now is her own rather than part of the bud­get of a larger com­pany.

“It was a bit of a shock in terms of de­tail and work­load.” How­ever, she isn’t afraid to change things and learn­ing on the job is, she says, what it is all about. “There is al­ways a lot to do and we are chang­ing things as we go along,” she says.

The main im­pe­tus for the shop, how­ever, came when Gill was do­ing up her own house: “I found that I was driv­ing all over the place look­ing for the right fur­nish­ings, and thought it was crazy that I couldn’t get all the things I wanted un­der one roof. I then re­alised that there was a gap in the mar­ket.”

Six months on, she has plenty on her plate, but if all goes ac­cord­ing to plan, the Sea­green store in Sandy­cove won’t be the end of her em­pire.

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