With over 30 years’ experience in the furniture and bedding trade, Kieran Barry is delighted to bring you Living Dreamz. Living Dreamz provides you with a range of top class brands and some interesting one-off pieces in an ultra-modern show space. Some of the product brands they stock include market leaders, such as Sealy, Silent Night and Irish manufacturers, Briody. They have a beautiful range of Irish, handmade sofas that come with a 10-year frame warranty with an extensive choice of fabrics, as well as a number of contemporary and classic leather couches.
It is no surprise that even in its infancy this business has become a retail success. Kieran Barry lets us in on his secrets to success in business and in life.
What was the key driving force behind you wanting to work for yourself?
I am a very independent person and I grew up in a family business. I like to be hands-on about the decisions I make and be in control of my own destiny. Growing up in a family business taught me a lot and it primarily taught me that if you work hard for yourself you never really have to work at all. In March, 2018, I took a leap of faith and opened my own store. I had a year or so of researching and deciding what I wanted to do and that is how Living Dreamz was born. I wanted to open a niche store that offered a personal service, rather that a superstore.
To what do you attribute your success?
Hard work on my part and the part of my team. Delivering excellent customer service and loyal customers. I have customers that have bought from me since 1987. They trust me to do right by them and I always do.
How do you best network?
I am old fashioned in some ways. I enjoy getting out and about and meeting people. Supporting local business is essential, as that support comes back to you in spades. Social media is a new way for me but I am seeing great rewards. I get involved in local events like Strictly Come Dancing. I also sponsor Munster Tennis. Being part of LIBA has helped too, as it is another platform that shares my content.
How do you manage stress?
I try to not to get stressed in the first instance, if I can, by managing my business effectively with plans and cash flow. I try to manage people’s expectations, so then they don’t get stressed. Jogging and walking is a good way to clear the head for me. I can be quite foggy-headed at times, so that is a great help!
What is your greatest fear and how do you manage fear?
Failure is my greatest fear. I like to accomplish my goals consistently. The secret to managing fear is to work harder and know you are doing your absolute best.
What are your core business values?
Look after your customers and keep your promises to them. Manage their expectations and always go the extra mile. In this busy life it is never crowded. Have passion; nothing replaces that. Mind your cash flow and pay people on time.
Do you believe there is some sort of formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Choose something you will enjoy doing. Being self-employed isn’t easy. You work long hours and have less time off or holidays, so choosing something you love and have passion for is essential. There is no shortcut to success, some things work and other don’t. That is okay. Just research everything carefully and ask for help with something if you need it.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I supposed I would have taken a leap of faith a bit earlier. I wouldn’t have been as influenced by others’ opinions of me. I would have had more faith in myself and my ideas.
What traits do you look for in an employee?
Passion, loyalty and honesty. Those are the three most important traits of friends and employees.
How do you build a successful team in the workplace?
Emphasise that teamwork is what makes a successful business, no matter how big or small. The customer is the boss always and making them happy is what makes the money that pays the bills.
What three words would your team use to describe you?
Fair, passionate and honest.
If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and what would you hope to learn from them?
Elvis! He had a great business ethic. He wore a medallion with a lightning strike on it with TCB engraved on it. The significant meaning is take care of business in a flash. His work ethic was phenomenal.
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I’d like to offer him advice too though, not to surround himself with so many yes people. He was a pioneer in so many ways but I don’t think anyone ever pulled him aside and said: “Elvis, you need to slow it and stop with the drugs and grub”, or you’ll die young.
16D Euro Business Park, Little Island, Cork
021 452 4914