Sarah Gill Seagreen Sandycove, Dublin
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.