‘I’ll never forget it as long as I live’: Cork business owner on award success

‘I’ll never forget it as long as I live’: Cork business owner on award success

Shirley Feeney is a previous winner of the Established Business award at the Network Ireland Cork Businesswoman of the Year Awards. Photo: Darragh Kane

WHEN Shirley Feeney opened her beauty clinic in 1998, there were days that she had no clients.

Twenty-two years later, Shirley’s Beauty & Laser Clinic, in Glanmire, is a thriving business, with an extensive client base.

“I was only opened a week and I found out I was expecting,” Ms Feeney said.

“I started off just by myself and there were many days I wouldn’t have anybody in.

“It started very slowly, but I kept going, opening up every day and, eventually, I built up a little bit of a clientele and just made sure I did the best treatment I possibly could for every client.

“We were upstairs for about three years and then we had the opportunity to get the unit downstairs and it just took off,” Ms Feeney said.

“It’s grown and grown since. We’re always reinventing, always investing back into the business, into the staff.”

Ms Feeney’s professional mantra is ‘you’re only as good as your last treatment’, a work ethic that has ensured her business’s longevity.

“You can’t be complacent, regardless of how many years you’re in business,” Ms Feeney said.

“People work hard to earn their money, so they deserve the best treatment they can get.”

A native of Knocknaheeny, but living on Blarney Road, Ms Feeney said that the Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge.

“It’s hard, because the overheads are still there,” Ms Feeney said.

“The bills still have to be paid, insurance, leasing, and all that kind of thing.

“Stock goes out of date and there’s all that to deal with, as well.

“There are losses every day.

However, she is ready to safely reopen as soon as the Government gives the go-ahead and is looking forward to reconnecting with clients in person.

“I think we’ve gone through the worst of it [the pandemic] now and also the worst of the weather. I think we’re coming out the other end of it now,” Ms Feeney said.

“I’m really looking forward to catching up and having the chats when we reopen. We’re missing everyone a lot.”

Shirley Feeney is a previous winner of the Established Business award at the Network Ireland Cork Businesswoman of the Year Awards. Photo: Darragh Kane
Shirley Feeney is a previous winner of the Established Business award at the Network Ireland Cork Businesswoman of the Year Awards. Photo: Darragh Kane

Network Ireland has been an invaluable support.

Ms Feeney joined the Cork branch on the suggestion of a client.

“One of my clients had suggested to me to join the group, where you can meet like-minded women and get great support,” Ms Feeney said.

“I was blown away by the welcome. It’s all about women supporting women: We’re stronger together.”

“I’d highly recommend Network Cork: They’ve been one of the best networks that I’ve ever come across.

“I couldn’t believe it was there and I never knew about it in all my years.”

Ms Feeney is a previous winner of the Established Business award at the Network Ireland Cork Businesswoman of the Year Awards, which meant so much to her and her family.

“Mom and Dad were there, and everything, and it was like they won,” Ms Feeney said. “I’m in the business, but it’s the family gives the support.

“Of all the awards I’ve won, that was the most favourable. I’ll never forget it, as long as I live.”

On advice to budding entrepreneurs, Ms Feeney said passion and a strong work ethic are two of the key ingredients to success in business.

“People say, ‘Oh, it must be great to have your own business, because you get to pick your own hours’, but it doesn’t work like that,” Ms Feeney said.

“You work around your clients, you finish when the girls finish, you go home and have a shower and have your dinner, and then you do more work on the computer.

“I think, at the beginning, I was naïve. I’m in it now and I love it, but it is hard to run your own business and, in these times, it’s even more difficult. But if you’re passionate about it, that’s half the work.

“I always say, as well, I’m in business 22 years: Any other business, if they rang or looked for any advice or help, 100% I’d be there for them, because I would have liked someone to be there for me when I was starting out.”

This year, the Established Business award is sponsored by Partnership International. The closing date to apply for the Network Ireland Businesswoman of the Year Awards is today at 5pm. 

To find out more, visit www.networkireland.ie.

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