Susannagh Grogan

Irish Independent Interview Working Mothers

Interview in Irish Independent…juggle juggle!!

Taken from Irish Independent…

John Hearne meets four mothers who are part of a growing trend of stay-at-home mums turned entrepreneurs and discovers their secrets.

Being a full-time mother is one of the most demanding jobs you can do. Running your own business is no walk in the park either. But combining the two? It might sound like a one-way ticket to burn-out and nervous breakdown, but it’s becoming a choice for more and more women. Across the water, mothers are responsible for a rise in the number of entrepreneurs with the number of self-employed women rising at almost three times the rate of men. For these four Irish women, being your own boss actually delivers the flexibility to enable full-time, or close to full-time motherhood. These are serious businesses, all of which bring in earnings of at least the national minimum wage (around €18,000), if not substantially in excess of that. All require huge amounts of time, much of which comes in the evenings and at weekends, together with bags of energy and commitment.

You’ve heard of work/life balance? This is one way of getting it.

 

‘BEING A MOTHER COMES FIRST’

Susannagh Grogan Scarves specialises in silk scarves, which Susannagh sells through her site, and through a range of international stores.

“I was a freelance print designer for 15 years. Back then, I worked in New York, London and Cape Town, designing for a range of clients, including Macy’sTommy Hilfiger, Estee Lauder, Victoria’s SecretVelvet and Liz Claiborne.

“I stopped working to have Gabriel, who is now seven. But I always wanted my own business. Susannagh Grogan Designs grew from a small start when I noticed scarves were making a big resurgence. I printed a small collection and that sold out really quickly.

“After that, everything grew slowly and organically. It actually wasn’t all that difficult, and I did have great support from my local enterprise board in Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown from the Craft Council.

“I’ve grown the business every year since I started in 2009, and demand is really strong now. This year, I got a big commission from Anthropologie, which is a large international store. I’ve continued to develop my range and introduced printed leather bags, gloves and wool scarves to go along with the silk ones.

“I’ve developed the commission side too, and sell into boutiques and shops. I also exhibit in the UK at the Saatchi Gallery Fashion trade show, Scoop International.

“But my number one commitment is still Gabriel. Being a mother comes first. Two days a week he goes to after-school, and that’s when I work. I work when he’s in bed too of course, and on the weekends. Sometimes he’s in the car with me or on the floor of the studio while I work.

“I try to work around him as best I can, but sometimes it’s just not possible and if I have a deadline then the TV goes on!

“My business swallows as much time as any serious career but I’m answerable only to myself, and I have total control of how I split the responsibility. I work around Gabriel and I work smart. There’s very little wasted time.”

Irish Independent

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