My job is horses for courses

We chat to Claire Nulty, Marketing Manager at Bucas Ireland.
My job is horses for courses
Claire Nulty Marketing Manager at Bucas Ireland. Picture: Matthew Roberts

Name: Claire Nulty

Age: 36

Lives: Watetgrasshill, Cork, but I’m a proud Kilkenny Cat!

Job title: I’m the Marketing Manager at Bucas Ireland — Bucas is at the forefront of technical horse rugs and accessories. Established in 1981 by a Swedish family in Cork, and now based in Togher Industrial estate in Cork, 95% of our product is exported worldwide.

Salary bracket: Just about enough to cover my pet dog Jiggie’s lux lifestyle!

Education background: I sat my Leaving Cert in Loreto Kilkenny. I qualified from Kildalton Agriculture College with a Cert in Horse Training and Breeding. I also hold a Cert in Digital Marketing from CIT.

Hobbies: When I get the time! Going to dinner or drinks with friends for a good catch up! I love nothing more than catching up on the stories with the girls, and boys, and bouncing ideas off each other!

I would like to say horse riding and competing at shows with my horse is one of my hobbies but let’s be real here... horse riding is not a hobby of mine... it’s my psychiatrist, it’s my drug of choice and it’s what keeps me on the straight and narrow. There could be worst things to spend my hard-earned wage on! And it’s my discipline! After a long day in the office it’s not the easiest thing to run in to a nice warm house, change into my yard clothes and run back out, passing my dinner, to exercise a horse! But when you get to sit up on the horse and breathe in the fresh, crisp evening air there’s something about it that’s good for the soul! Now, when it’s raining...

Describe your job in five words: Must be good at multi-tasking.

Describe yourself in five words: Multi-asking is my middle name!

Personality needed for this kind of work? Must be outgoing, love what you do, have a certain amount of creativity, be able to think outside the box and be proactive, whether that be about a creating a situation or preventing a situation!

How long are you doing this job? Three and a half years.

How did you get this job? I only wanted to ever work with horses. I had very little interest in school.

After my Leaving Cert, I went to Kildalton Agricultural College in Co. Kilkenny to study Horse Training and Breeding. But when, in 2001, and halfway through my course, the college and campus was forced to temporarily close due to the Foot & Mouth breakout, I found myself at a loose end.

So I took a job as a groom in a showjumping yard in Germany. The next three years was certainly a baptism of fire, but it wasn’t long before I became absolutely immersed in my life’s dream, working with horses! I worked my way up from groom to yard manager, and travelled extensively through Europe, including a memorable trip to Russia!

In 2004, I moved to Holland to work in a yard with three professional riders who would later that year compete at the Olympic Games in Athens. Accompanying the horses and riders I worked with to Greece and watching them compete at the highest level is an experience I’ll never forget, and treasure forever.

While in Athens I met a number of the team competing for the USA, and as a result I was offered a role at a professional showjumping yard in upstate New York.

America was a super experience but it’s where I realised that I didn’t want to be living out of a suitcase for the rest of my life and that I needed an improved career plan!

So, after wringing the most out of my Stateside experience, and seven years (after I left Ireland for a six month job in Germany), I decided to return home to Ireland.

Shortly after coming home, I got a role with TRI Equestrian in The Curragh. From there I took a role as a sales agent for a UK company selling equestrian products into equine retailers all over Ireland. And in 2014 I joined Bucas.

Do you need particular qualifications or experience? I’ve worked in the equine industry all my working life so my knowledge of horses and the equine industry would be quite extensive.

I know what horsey people want, I know what they look for in certain products. I know the terms that horsey people use and I know how to talk to horsey people. And that right there is the reason I got the job I’m in now as, while my colleagues at Bucas are hugely experienced in their respective fields, none of them had that equine background.

Describe a day at work: This depends on the day, which is an aspect that I love about the job! One day could be spent updating websites, social media accounts, reviewing adverts, editing photos, creating catalogues or on conference calls to the MD of the company who lives in Sweden.

A day at a shoot will start with meeting the equine models, helping prepare the models for the shoot, checking a location with the photographer to make sure we are both happy with backgrounds, etc, working with the photographer for the day, checking photos taken, making sure we got the shot, and adjusting product during the shoot.

Other days could be at a video shoot where I would be doing the voiceover and working with the cameraman on this.

Another day could be at a trade show where I would be presenting products to the media, meeting magazines, etc, regarding booking adverts and plans for the upcoming months, and of course being there on the first day, checking that art work and set up of the stand are all correct.

How many hours do you work a week? Normally a 39 hour week, but I need to be flexible to a certain point as well.

Trade shows are not always Monday to Friday, many happen over the weekend, and if we have photo shoots I may need to work the weekend to prep models or products or even scout locations.

Also, as I look after sponsorship, a lot of my weekends could be spent at horse shows to represent the company or present prizes or even catch up with sponsored athletes.

What do you wear to work? Whatever I like! I would say smart casual, but it depends on the situation! We don’t have a rule to say what is and isn’t acceptable workwear, when I’m at work I’m representing a brand so I do try to take some pride in appearance! But it also needs to be practical!

In one week, I could go from attending a trade show, where I’d be meeting clients and presenting products to customers and the media, to directing a video/photo shoot in snow or sun, or to attending a horse event to represent the company, so the wardrobe needs to be extensive!

Is your industry male or female dominated? Not female dominated but a high female ratio.

Does this affect you in any particular way? No.

Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10: All jobs have a certain amount of stress, so yes there are aspects of my job that are stressful!

The usual things like deadlines and maintaining budgets are part of the stress, but also weather stresses!

This sounds bizarre but we have five to six photo shoots a year, and the hunt for snow in Europe in January/February isn’t as easy as one might think! And trying to organise weather, a photographer, me, equine models, a great location and helpers to be all at the same place at the same time isn’t easy!

I’ve actually spent three stressful days in rainy Sweden in August with a photographer when we should have been having our Spring/Summer photo shoot.

Do you work with others or on your own? I work with a great group of people in the offices in Cork.

When do you plan to retire or give up working? When I win the lotto!

Best bits: The travel, the equine models, the product development, locations, the variety everyday.

Worst bits: The travel (but only the early flights), the equine models (when they won’t cooperate!), the uncontrollable situations (like the weather on a shoot),

Advice to those who want your job? Know your product, know your end user and know who your product is made for!

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