Donna Ahern talks to Evelyn Moynihan, CEO of Kilkenny Design.
How would you describe your role?
I lead a very talented team in Kilkenny Design who deliver a great customer experience across 20 retail outlets, five restaurants and a growing online business.
What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
I worked in Blarney Woollen Mills as a sales assistant in their china and crystal department where I discovered the importance of delivering great customer service, and of learning from those more experienced in the business.
More recently, working with both Musgrave and Diageo was a tremendous learning experiences for me!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I get to work with an amazing team in Kilkenny Design who are passionate about what they do.
I love the role we play in growing business for our 250 designers and makers from all corners of the country, showcasing their brilliance on a national and global stage, online and instore.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Continuing to develop the team at Kilkenny Design, and championing Irish design and craft for both the domestic and international markets
What is your advice to people starting out in the industry?
Share your fresh ideas and new thinking, as you see it. Don’t hold back. No suggestion is ever a bad one; it may just need work!
What was your worst job, and what was so bad about it?
Testing the moisture of grain in a lab for a summer period. I struggled with the lack of interaction with other people!
What do you think the government could do to help businesses in the current climate? Further promote the importance of SMEs and local and Irish business across all sectors. As per our mission with Champion Green, policy makers need to help make supporting local a year-round habit for consumers.
Who are the three business people that you most admire, and why?
Marian O’Gorman, chairperson of Kilkenny Group, is driven and passionate about her people and her commitment to the Irish craft and design sector.
Also Ray Kelly of Musgrave Retail Partners was always hugely supportive of my career development at SuperValu and is a talented marketer and business strategist.
Finally Grainne Wafer, global brand director, Guinness at Diageo, is a talented woman leading a global FMCG business at a very challenging time, and one that is thriving and consistently innovating to meet customer needs.
What advertising campaign have you most enjoyed in recent months?
I love the Christmas SuperValu advert. It really delivers on the magic of Christmas!
If you could bring back one product that is no longer available in Ireland, what would it be? The revival of all the penny sweets of our childhood, of late, has been great. Toffos, Munchies and Spangles were my favourites!
What was your favourite grocery brand when you were growing up, and why?
I wouldn’t have been that brand-aware as a child, although Cadbury would have been up there.
By the time I was a student and starting a career, we were well into the own-brands, yellow-pack and the supermarket generic offerings of the late 1980s and 1990s, so we all embraced these affordable options!
Who would come to your ideal dinner party (living or dead)?
Roy Keane, Graham Norton and Amy Huberman – the craic would be mighty!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I help coach an U-11 camogie and football team, and I enjoy being in the fresh air with my family.
How much time do you spend on social media in an average week?
Too much. I love social media as a source of inspiration and entertainment, and I love using it to stay connected with family and friends.
Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?
Most likely to say?
Positivity breeds positivity.
Least likely to say?
It can’t be done.