Supporting Irish business is a passion of ours at Image, and it's easy with so many entrepreneurial and innovative Irish businesses to buy from. From now until Christmas we are highlighting Irish businesses or business people that we are excited about. Today it's Boss Ladies Ireland, who are changing the landscape for female entrepreneurs in Ireland.
What is your name, and what is your business?
We are Emily and Lucy, founders of Boss Ladies Ireland. Boss Ladies Ireland is focused on changing the landscape for female entrepreneurs in Ireland. We are doing this through building a supportive community, offering practical social media strategies for building your business and our online directory.
What is your mission?
We started our business in September 2020. We have always been passionate about small businesses based in Ireland and watching them grow, especially female-owned businesses. As two young females we have always noticed a lack of female representation in business and entrepreneurship. In fact, in 2015, men were approximately three times more likely than women to be self-employed in Ireland. As a result the idea for establishing Boss Ladies Ireland came to fruition.
Our mission is to change the landscape for female entrepreneurs in Ireland. We want to increase the number of female entrepreneurs so that young girls have role models and a community to join when they start their own venture.
When Covid happened, we noticed that many businesses had to switch to an e-commerce model and build their social media presence. For small businesses, without the resources of big brands, building an e-commerce store and social media profile can be overwhelming. Many of our small businesses are creating products, managing inventory and delivery so the need to add social media may be an extra pressure.
At Boss Ladies Ireland, we offer support to female owned businesses in a number of different ways. Firstly, we are building a community of strong female entrepreneurs where we can support one another. As the Seanfhocal goes “Ni neart a cur le cheile”. We want to make sure that we are empowering one another especially in an area where women are underrepresented.
Secondly, we are offering on our Instagram page free promotion to female owned businesses (currently over 4,000 followers). The idea behind this is to give exposure to local female businesses in Ireland. Additionally we are providing “Tips and Tricks” where we offer practical advice for any female who is building a business irrespective of whether you are at the start of your venture or you are an established company trying to make a name for yourself on social media.
Lastly, we have built an online directory for all the Boss Ladies of Ireland. With our online directory we are offering a paid listing for female owned businesses. We want to make it easy to support female owned businesses with the click of the button.
Stay tuned for the next few months as we expand our business and grow our support networks across the country.
Of what part of your business are you proudest?
We are delighted that we have had over 500 businesses signed up for our free promotion waiting list and at this point we have supported over 100 businesses. It’s great to see all the female entrepreneurs in Ireland get the recognition they deserve.
Who are your heroes?
Norah Casey (founder of Harmonia) has always been an entrepreneur that we admire. We saw her speak at an event and were blown away by her resilience and strength. Norah really blazed a trail for other female entrepreneurs in Ireland and showed what can be done. We also loved watching her when she was on Dragon’s Den.
Ariana Huffington (co-founder of Huffington Post and founder of Thrive Global) is another hero of ours. We really admire Ariana’s work in the well-being area and her focus on taking care of yourself. Running your own business can mean that you forget to look after yourself, Ariana’s mission is a great reminder to take some 'me time' and to set boundaries. There is only one you so your business can wait a couple of hours.
How have you found the last six months?
A roller-coaster. Moving home from Australia (Emily) and doing college online (Lucy). Having to adapt to a new way of living, not seeing friends regularly and the uncertainty around lock-downs has definitely been challenging. However, as the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side, so it's onwards and upwards. But remaining positive and enjoying the small and simple things in life definitely makes this roller-coaster a little bit easier.
What keeps you positive?
We have found the best way to keep positive is to keep active. We make the effort to get out for a walk in the morning before we start our day and also a walk in the evening. Getting out in the fresh air really is great for taking a break from the screen and giving yourself time to relax.
We also limit our time on social media and devices (which can be hard when your business is focused on social media!). But setting boundaries has let us create a work life balance and have time to decompress.
What new perspective have you gained from 2020?
To celebrate and appreciate the simple things in life. Pre-Covid it was easy to be rushing from place to place and not really slowing down to appreciate the smaller things like friends, family, fresh cups of coffee. But with Covid, it’s really forced us to slow things down and take a look around and appreciate what we have. We have been able to get out in our local area and explore new walking routes and discover new local cafes. Taking the time to appreciate what’s around you and the support you have, really helps to keep positive and up-beat.
Best/worst moment from 2020?
The best moment in 2020 was definitely when we set up Boss Ladies Ireland and had an overwhelming response. Within the first month we had 3,000 followers and over 200 businesses signed up. We are getting messages from so many different businesses telling us how appreciative they are for a community like this and the opportunity to promote their business.
Our worst moment in 2020 was definitely when Level 5 was announced and so many small businesses were forced to close. It was devastating to hear about local businesses struggling to stay afloat and keep their shop open. That is why it’s so great to see initiatives like this shining a spotlight on local businesses and helping them to gain exposure.
How will you celebrate Christmas this year?
We will be celebrating with our immediate family. We will be having a traditional Christmas dinner albeit slightly different to other years. We are grateful that we will all be together and can celebrate in front of the fire.
Another Irish business you want to shine a spotlight on?
We have too many to name, but they can all be found on our Instagram page. These Boss Ladies are doing trojan work and deserve to be recognised. So head on over to our page and give them some love.
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