Meet the Mumpreneurs: Fiona and Sharon Murphy of Clonskeagh Motors
We gotto admit it: We love hearing tales of women doing their thing (and doing it darn well too) – especially when the women in question are smashing some pretty cool glass ceilings in the process too.
Recently, we caught up with Fiona and Sharon Murphy – sisters and co-owners of Dublin-based Honda car dealership Clonskeagh Motors to chat cool cars, careers and how to balance it all when you got kids at home too.
Tell us about the company and how you started there?
It was our Dad who first founded the company over 40 years ago, when he bought a small petrol station and started from there. To be honest, even from an early age, we both always wanted to follow in his footsteps.
I (Fiona) worked in the business from as far back as I remember, during school Summer holidays, and during my business studies at UCD. While Sharon, on the other hand, gained valuable insights into the car business while working at Ballsbridge Motors first and then, joined the family business 20 years ago.
What is it like for sisters to be working together as close as you two are?
We feel incredibly privileged to be able to work together. We get to see each other every day, and we are very like-minded in our approach to the business and in life. We are both busy working mums, so we know the strength in supporting one another. We have the same vision for the future of the business, and feel so fortunate to still have our amazing dad working with us, and he has always been a wonderful mentor and role model to us.
What is it like being female in a predominantly male industry?
Sure, it's a very male dominant arena, but truth be told, we have always felt very comfortable in the industry, and have just as much motoring know-how as our male peers. We also have such a brilliant team of staff around us too at the showroom, admittedly, predominantly men, but we also know at the end of the day, it’s generally women who make the final decision at the time of purchasing a new family car, and sometimes they like to chat with us face-to-face about how we view their car-of-choice from a female perspective.
What was your biggest (business) high to date.
We did a huge redevelopment of the premises in early 2000, and that really elevated our presence in the industry. More recently,we got to take part in and host a Mum Talks event at the showroom, which was such a lovely experience. Mum Talks is an Irish company who run morning event specifically for mums, and it was so much fun being able to open our doors to so many amazing women at the same time.
Plenty of mums, with babies and toddler in tow, gathered to view our newest offering, the Honda 7-seater CR-V, and enjoy a morning with some takeaway pearls of wisdom about navigating through this busy time of our lives from inspiring women like Paula Hughes of Kayla's Kitchen, Louise Stokes of Loulerie jewellery boutiques and Milena Byrne of Platinum Pilates, who empowered us with their stories of setting up businesses, managing staff and careers.
How easy is it to combine motherhood with running a business?
It’s tricky – but we are fortunate we live close to the showroom, so we can cover for each other when needed, and we’re super-lucky to both have very hands-on and supportive husbands too.
What are the challenges women in business face today?
The juggle. Like ALL working mothers – the struggles of balancing motherhood with careers – is very real. But very rewarding too and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Any lessons you have learned the hard way?
Be prepared to bounce back after a setback and learn from your mistakes. Don’t look back. Focus on your strong points, and don’t be afraid or too proud to outsource where expertise is required.
What’s next for the business?
Our business is renowned for its customer service and trusted staff – many of our staff have been with us for over 25 years. This is something we want to continue to foster; we hear so many stories of people being unhappy or feeling that cars have been sold to them without the full picture, so we work really hard to provide a good, honest service for new or used cars or services or parts. We have customers who span three generations, getting to know them, and maintaining these relationships over the years makes it all worthwhile for us.
Are YOU a mum who have started your own business, and are currently juggling family and business life? We want to hear from you! Send me an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org