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#IMAGEInspires: Doing Digital Beautifully: Oonagh O’ Hagan


by Holly O'Neill
03rd Nov 2017

To be successful in the beauty industry today, you need to embrace the digital stratosphere, from e-tailing to social media. Ahead of our eleventh IMAGE Businesswoman Of The Year Awards, we introduce the women who are leading the way forward.  Next up, IMAGE Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year 2016, Oonagh O’Hagan.


THE INDUSTRY IDOL

WHO: Oonagh O’Hagan

WHAT: Owner and managing director of Meagher’s Pharmacy Group

ESTABLISHED: 2001

PRODUCT: Ireland’s leading online beauty destination

Upon completing her pharmacy degree in Trinity, Oonagh O’Hagan was searching for a place to intern before being allowed to become a practising pharmacist. In search of a tweezers, she wandered into the first pharmacy on her path – Meagher’s on Baggot Street – liked the look of it, and asked to serve her pre-reg year there. “The moment I walked into the pharmacy on Baggot Street to begin my internship, I fell in love; with the shop, the community, but most of all the customers. I could see huge potential.” Under the guidance of Pierce Meagher, whose family opened Meagher’s Pharmacy in 1921, Oonagh practised her trade and on her final day, asked Pierce to call her if he was ever selling. Four years later, the phone call came. With a student loan weighing on her, Oonagh pestered a man at the bank whose name she had picked up for a loan until he persisted and told her to bring in her business plan. So she took herself to Hodges Figgis, bought How to Write a Business Plan, and wrote it over the weekend. In 2001, Oonagh – in her late twenties – purchased the store from the Meagher’s family and decided to retain the family name.

When turnover and profits plummeted due to the recession and cuts forced on the pharmacy sector, instead of cutting costs or jobs, Oonagh found a different way to not just keep her business afloat, but to drive it forward. By launching the e-commerce site, meaghers.ie, and collaborating with digital influencers and partners, she completely changed the business model from the conventional pharmacy to an innovative retail business with a strong digital strategy. With a strong focus on personal customer care, supporting the community and Irish brands, and the introduction of new innovative products, brands and services, from make-up, haircare and skincare to medicine, pregnancy care and men’s healthcare, Meagher’s Pharmacy is now one of the fastest growing pharmacy chains in Ireland with a team of 100 employees.

Aside from running her business, and with countless awards and accolades in the world of pharmacy (and our own IMAGE Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year 2016), Oonagh is involved in several organisations. She is acting chair on the Preliminary Proceedings Committee of the Pharmacy Regulator, The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. She sits on the wholesale board of United Drug Group Plc, the largest wholesaler to Irish Pharmacy. She’s on the strategic board for the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences in Trinity College Dublin, and the finance committee in the Royal College of Surgeons. She’s also lead entrepeneur on Ireland’s Going for Growth Programme, supporting Irish female entrepreneurs.


Meet the ultimate winners at the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2017, sponsored by Samsung, Kuehne + Nagel, Grant Thornton, The Loop and No 7 and proudly supported by Newstalk, Independent.ie, Enterprise Ireland and Marks & Spencer. Winners will be announced at a gala dinner, on Monday, November 20, at the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road, Dublin 4.

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