Shirley Feeney is the owner and proprietor of the iconic and glamourous Shirley’s Beauty Clinic in Glanmire. The salon marked 20 years in business recently and celebrated its anniversary with a party for customers and friends in their salon in Glanmire. The event was hosted by Amanda Brunker and guests were treated to beauty demos, goodie bags, and prizes on the day.
With over 3,000 clients, the salon started as a one-woman business, run by Shirley Feeney in 1998. Now it is a multi-award-winning salon with a team of 14.
What was the key driving force behind you going into business for yourself?
From a young age, I began working part-time to earn some pocket money. I always had a dream to someday own my own business. I always loved the beauty industry and I had a keen interest in beauty therapy. I remember when I first began studying beauty therapy, I would constantly be reading and learning as much as I possibly could. With no such thing as the internet, I simply had to listen thoroughly to everything I was taught in college and then revise it at home to further expand my knowledge.
What was your vision for Shirley’s Beauty Clinic from the beginning?
In the beginning, when I first opened Shirley’s Beauty Clinic upstairs, I worked every single day, Monday to Saturday and two late nights until 9pm. I always added that personal touch and went that extra mile to make sure that my clients would be comfortable and very happy with their treatments. If my client left with a smile on their face, it was a job well done!
I always believe that by adding that extra personal touch, it not only grew my client base but also grew friendships, which have lasted over 20 years. I have ladies coming in today who came in as little girls with their mums. It is almost a family tradition. I find this so rewarding to watch these ladies now bring their little ones in for a file and polish or to get their ears pierced!
To what do you attribute your success?
I attribute my success to my husband, my parents and my girls. My parents always supported me in anything that I wanted to do in life. They encouraged me through great words of wisdom over the years to be the best that I can be in life. I am forever grateful for this!
My husband has been my rock. We have built this business from the ground up together over the last 20 years along with the support of my two children and my fabulous girls!
Above all, I attribute my success to our Lord, for the many blessings that he has bestowed upon us and for the amazing clients that he has brought to us!
As a business owner, a lot of the burden must feel like it is on your shoulders; how do you manage stress?
Each morning I get up that little bit earlier and I pray for guidance, direction and peace to focus on what’s really important in life. I also believe that by training four days per week in my local gym it gives me great energy and headspace to relax and to rejuvenate for the day ahead.
If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and what would you hope to learn from them?
Not from history but from present. I believe it’s the people that are present in our lives now that make a difference; these are the people that we love and grow with and learn from every day.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
Like any woman, I am a wife and a mum, we multitask, right! We do a day’s work in our salon or office but we also do another day’s work once we get home. As a business owner, you never really get a day off. If I am not working in the salon I am working on the salon, between meetings, events, telephone calls, emails and the administration side of the business, it is non-stop. But I wouldn’t have it any other way!
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
As a family, we all work together in the business, so we are extremely close. I think it’s great for my children to look on as they see how hard we work and to know that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. Both of my children love working in the business and seeing it grow over the years.
How do you define success?
For me success is to be happy and content in life. It will always be about making a difference in other people’s lives. If I know that at the end of the day my work has helped someone, then I am satisfied.
I also evaluate success based on not only my work, but the work of my team. In order for me to be considered successful, my team needs to achieve also, both individually and towards our team goals.
What piece of advice would you give to college or academy graduates who want to go into business for themselves?
Learn from other people’s mistakes. Do every course that you can to improve your skills in every area of the beauty industry.
Network and communicate with others as often as possible in the same industry and in different industries. It is very important to continue growing personally, as well as professionally, while improving your business.
What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs, specifically in the beauty industry, to invest their time in?
I believe that learning from others who have gone before you is really important. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and mentoring and to ask questions from other business women.
Pray the biggest prayers and expect them to be answered.
I, personally, am always glad to help young ladies who are just starting out in this industry. Only recently I visited a beauty college to speak to the students and tell them of my past experiences in the beauty industry and to offer them words of encouragement and support for their future careers.
What would you do with your company if you had unlimited resources?
I would expand and grow, grow and grow. I would also love to share our amazing new Nordlys System with everyone. The treatments that this laser platform offers is second to none in the skincare industry. This system has only ever been used by dermatologists in the UK and we are the first salon/clinic to have the Nordlys, including the Frax handset in Ireland.
It can successfully treat over 24 skin concerns, such as acne, acne scarring, pigmentation, lesions, rosacea, lines and wrinkles, stretch marks, Sun-damaged skin, pigmented lesions, venous lakes, the treatment and removal of warts, verrucae and nail fungal and so much more, achieving fast, safe and effective results! My team and I are Ellipse Clinical Specialists.
Shirley’s Beauty Clinic
Unit 4BG, Crestfield Centre, Riverstown, Glanmire, Cork
021 482 2945