‘When it comes to business, the family haggling gene is strong’



Are you a saver or a spender?

I wish I was the former but usually, by the end of the month, there is very little left to put into the piggy bank! I have twin six-year-olds who are involved in all sorts of activities and are growing at a rate of knots, so money just seems to be constantly going out.

Do you shop around for better value?

I’m a firm believer in “you get what you pay for”. If there was something that I really needed, and it was too expensive, I would either wait for it to go on sale or eventually shop around for a cheaper alternative.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?

Our house. My partner and I stretched to buy it and I’m still not sure that was the right decision. The house is beautiful, but the hulking mortgage is not.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

I recently enrolled the girls in to private swimming lessons because big bodies of water haunt me and neither of them can swim. The coach is already flinging them up in the air in to front and backflips and they’ve only had three lessons. Best money I’ve spent in a long time.

How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?

I did all the food shopping locally and, like everyone else, I did all other shopping online. I think Covid-19 – and Brexit – reminded all of us to shop Irish and support small, local businesses wherever possible, either in-store or online. I’m now more passionate than ever about supporting Irish makers and vendors.

Do you haggle over prices?

My dad is a great haggler, but I still cringe at my teenage memory of him trying to negotiate a better price with a Brown Thomas sales assistant. So, no, I wouldn’t haggle in a retail store, but when it comes to business the family haggling gene is strong!

How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?

I’ve always made considered purchases, which was part of my drive to set up a sustainable, organic kid’s loungewear and sleepwear brand. But during the pandemic, we definitely spent more on food, supporting local restaurants that were doing takeaways or barbecue boxes, and friends working in the catering industry that were incredibly creative during all of the lockdowns.

Do you invest in shares?

I wish I could say yes to this, but no, I don’t. I also missed the bitcoin memo, but hopefully I’ll develop an interest and invest in the future.

Cash or card?

Card, always. I never have cash. It feels like toy money as it’s been so long since I have carried some.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

A few house plants from Howbert & Mays, a beautiful store on Clare Street. I find a lovely house plant is always great value for money – as long as they’re kept alive! My partner has green fingers, so I don’t have to worry about that.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

Yes. When I had no kids and a decent monthly income, I saved for my car and my first house.

Have you ever lost money?

No, nothing significant.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?

I am generally open to taking risks, leaps of faith, and so on, but I’m not a gambler. No big wins, unfortunately!

Is money important to you?

It is important in the sense that we need money to live and to be financially secure – whatever that is – is definitely a long-term goal of mine. I suppose, having money means having options, and I’m 100 per cent behind that.

How much money do you have on you now?

Not a cent.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea 



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