Gillian Halpin on her Jane Darcy Brand
2nd December 2019
Launching a business can be daunting and exciting in equal measures. For our Women Who Launch December candidate, we hear from Gillian Halpin of Jane Darcy https://janedarcy.ie
THE ELEVATOR PITCH
Hi, I’m Gill and I’m the founder of Ireland’s newest and most exciting luxury home fragrance brand – Jane Darcy!
We are based in beautiful Malahide in Dublin. I live, work and my children go to school all on the same road. It makes it that bit easier trying to strike that work-life balance. At the moment it is just myself and my partner Stephen full time in the business. We also have an amazing creative team on board for new product launches, shoot days, and event planning. I am so privileged to have so many amazing creatives working with me on Jane Darcy.
This year is a big year for us. We marked our first year in business in September, which is a huge milestone for me. I’m so excited to see what year two has to offer. We are launching some amazing new products so it’s a really exciting time for Jane Darcy.
I’ve financed the business primarily with a lot of savings if I’m honest. Owning my own business has always been a dream of mine and I knew one day I would get there, but I knew I needed to work hard and save in order to really make an impact. I always try to keep costs down in order to get the best out of any project, so if I can do it I will, but if not I prefer to spend the money and get the experts in! Time is money too so it’s all about deciding where your money is better spent.
I like to think Jane Darcy’s target market is a mindset rather than the typical ‘target market stereotype’ of a gender or an age. The Jane Darcy customer is someone who is looking to regain control of their life, to take time back for themselves. Someone who recognises the importance of treasuring the simple moments in life, the moments that often matter the most. They understand the importance of lighting a candle and being able to create a space where you can relax and unwind, or catch up with friends and family.
BRANDS YOU LOVE
There are a good few brands I would be loyal too but one that sticks out in my mind is a beautiful Irish Children’s wear brand, Darcy Bow. Triona makes the most beautiful traditional dresses. Her designs remind me of how my mum used to dress us as children. I love putting her dresses on my girls. The designs are gorgeous and the quality is unparalleled. They are Irish too which is always a plus!
BIGGEST ‘WIN’ TO DATE
It might not sound so big, but my biggest win was setting up Jane Darcy. Having the courage to go out alone can be quite scary and lonely at times. Often people ask me if I am scared of failure, and there was a time when I was, but I have come so far since launching Jane Darcy that I look upon every fail as an opportunity to better myself and the brand. It’s where I’m at my best.
BIGGEST ‘SLAP IN THE FACE’
It’s very hard when you first launch a brand and you are trying to get people comfortable with buying into a brand they are not so familiar with. The great thing about a ‘slap in the face’ is it makes you more determined than ever. It was and is my job to show everyone just how amazing our products are and why not having them on their shelf is a missed opportunity. It can be tough at times but definitely worth the fight – I have multiple amazing stockists on board now.
ARE YOU SOCIAL WHEN IT COMES TO MEDIA?
Social media plays a huge part of who we are and what we do. It is a touch point for our customers to be able to connect with us. It’s sometimes where we get our best ideas. Our followers are amazing. They are always there to offer their advice when we need it with new products or events or just offering their support. It’s an informal space where we can fill everyone in as to what we are up to, what events we attend, the new products we are launching, our amazing new stockists, but most of all it offers our loyal followers the chance to have their say, and that’s what I love most!
ON TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
Technology plays a pretty big role in the business. It offers me the chance to connect with our followers 24/7 through social avenues, as well as being able to operate an online retail store for Jane Darcy.
IS THERE A BUSINESS MODEL YOU WOULD LIKE TO EMULATE?
Not necessarily. What I do want is to continue to have the ability to adapt and change as we grow. It’s important from me to be able to deliver the products my customers want and love. I find sometimes as companies grow they can lose their personality and the connection with the customer. I want to continue to develop in a way that allows us to continually evolve in a way that our customers are happy with.
IF YOU HAD A BLANK CHEQUE
Ok so I would definitely invest in the growth and development of Jane Darcy (so many plans!), as well as my girls future (they are my world!), and finally I would go on a big holiday, because everyone needs a bit of chill time, right?!
YOUR TRAITS – BEST AND WORST
My best traits would be my determination, ability to keep getting back up, and my blind belief (this could be a worst trait too! Ha!)
My worst traits include self-doubt, insecurity (everyone has these right?!) and my obscene love of Christmas (I see this as a plus of course!)
BEST BUSINESS LUNCH
This might sound a bit corny but it would have to be my dad. Sorry my choice isn’t more glam! My dad has been an entrepreneur since forever and has worked in the business for the last 45 years. He is the one person I will always go to for advice, and is always there to push me forward. He is my biggest fan! He has always thought me the importance of working your way up from the bottom. It’s the only way to really learn your own business. I started putting labels on items in his office as young as age 6 and graduated to making tea’s and coffee’s in my early teens. It’s a lesson I will take with me where ever I go.
IDEAL BUSINESS PARTNER
Richard Branson. An obvious choice I’m sure but I wouldn’t choose him because of his successes. I would love to work with Branson, as I love his tenacity. He doesn’t waste time dwelling on what didn’t work, he moves onto something that will. That’s what I want in a business partner. Positivity and the willingness to keep moving forward together.
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE
If you believe in something follow your heart but at the same time listen to all the advice. There is so much to learn from the amazing entrepreneurs we have in Ireland. Pick up the phone and ask for a catch up over tea. You will be surprised at how many people are willing to help.