“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before…”
As you know from my other Boss Lady interviews like this and this, I am SO inspired by great women who just know what they want from life and work really really REALLY hard to succeed. These women are the bosses of their own lives, they show us that being successful isn’t about luck or good fortune but damn hard work.
Today, I am featuring a super inspiring business woman Boss Lady who has worked really hard with her equally talented sisters for the last 6 years to make fashion rock the digital world in Ireland.
This super star is Jennie McGinn from Opsh.com.
I have met Jennie on a few occasions and she is just such an inspiring and energetic business woman. (Oh and she also got married during the Summer too and had one of THE most unique weddings ever.)
I also really love how supportive the Opsh girls are of rising Irish talent – especially bloggers, designers and other businesses.
So Jennie, tell everyone about yourself?
I am CEO of Opsh, a new online shopping website that lets women build their own personal High Street. Myself and my two sisters set up Opsh, having previously founded Prowlster and What Will I Wear Today – and I’m the eldest of 6 girls…so I guess as a business venture, we are quite the anomaly!
How did your company Opsh get started?
When we first started blogging about 6 years ago, there were very few ways to monetise content online. We started to feel frustrated and decided to look at fresh ways to carve out a business from blogging. We started conceptualising ideas around an integrated social networking for fashion bloggers and took that idea to the Launchpad programme. To be honest, none of us has any idea about the path Launchpad would create for us – it pushed us into the tech start-up world and from there, we developed our fashion blog into a shoppable magazine called Prowlster. We ran Prowlster for a year – a very successful year – but we quickly realised there was a bigger, more global opportunity, and that was Opsh. We’ve been working on Opsh for a year and a half now, launching in October of this year and have big visions for Opsh. The support from Irish press and the Irish public has been absolutely vital in helping us realise our ambitions. We’re not quite there yet, but we are as determined as ever to build a better way for people to shop online.
Explain the name “Opsh” to me?
Opsh is an inversion of the word “Shop” – we’re creating a new way to shop online, so we felt we deserved a brand new word!
Best piece of life/blogging advice?
Go hard or go home. Honestly, just go for it – if you’ve got a burning itch to do something, just do it. Also, surround yourself with positive people. Negativity breeds negativity. And be nice! It costs nothing to be nice – I like building good relationships with people.
You start your day with/by.…
A cappuccino from our local coffee shop Snax. Snax must be one of the oldest, longest-standing coffee shops in Dublin. The staff take pleasure in being surly and the coffees are the finest and cheapest to be found in the city.
Before you go to bed, you….
Watch some TV with the husband – we’re devils for box-sets. If I have the kindle lined up with good reads, I’ll fly through about 4 books a week. Trying to get into a good beauty routine at night – got to start looking after the skin – but sometimes I just crash into bed, fully clothed, exhausted from the day. (Yes, Boss Ladies are normal!)
Favourite thing to do on your day off?
Hiking! Love getting out in the fresh air – the colder and more bracing the experience the better. Followed up immediately by some brunch and banter with the girls.
Your favourite store?
I love Om Diva (Me too!!) – it’s such a cute, quirky store and it’s commitment to promoting independent Irish design is so important. In terms of general shopping, I love River Island for colour & print, Reiss and The Kooples for tailoring, Avenue32 (new shopping site for me!!!) for one-off investment pieces and Marks and Spencer do fab coats!
Who are your favourite bloggers?
SO. MANY. TO. CHOOSE. FROM. Firstly, I am just so proud of the Irish blogging community. It has grown so much in the last few years and our bloggers hold their own internationally. They are savvy, determined, ambitious and the diversity of style is amazing. I love Minnie Melange for intellectual interviews, Ciara O’Doherty for quirky style, Concrete Collar for their aesthetics, Aisling Keenaghan for her honest insights into being a girl, 4ng, Nuala Gorham, Tar Mar & Anouska Proetta Brandon for pure, unadulterated style, Erika Fox for her New York lifestyle and Leanne Woodfull for being kickass. (Go on the Irish!)
Your biggest personal/business achievement to date?
The lifestyle of a start-up business is so chaotic, intense and anxiety-filled, that you often forget to celebrate the milestones as you’re so focused on the next set. However, I guess the very first achievement is the achievement that put us on this path – straight off the back of our fashion blog What Will I Wear Today – we pitched the concept of a social-fashion-network to an accelerator program called Launchpad. We didn’t have the tech expertise, the business jargon or the pitching protocol and we presented a 3d model of the internet (which started to disassemble itself mid-pitch) and somehow, someone on that panel saw something in us and awarded us a place on the programme.
What motivates you to succeed? Some advice for budding entrepreneurs?
Having a vision and realising that vision is my greatest motivation. Sometimes that vision needs some poking and prodding, but ultimately for me – it’s about having an idea and pursuing that idea. I think it’s so important for entrepreneurs to really think about their vision – once you have it crafted, you need to hang onto it for dear life as you will encounter so many people that won’t get your vision, won’t agree with your vision or will try and superimpose their own vision onto yours. Also, this is the un-sexy bit – entrepreneurs, think, think and think again about cash-flow. It is the single most critical factor in determining your success. You need to think about how you’re going to fund your idea from the outset.
My final motto? Collaborate, don’t compete! – Love it Jennie!
Some of my favourite pieces currently on sale on Opsh:
(Unfortunately, they are only currently selling to Ireland and the UK guys but they hope to expand soon so keep an eye out!)
Shop, Shop, Shop,