Reinvention. Redesign . Rebuild. There comes a time in everyone’s life where they reach a crossroads. This could be because a relationship isn’t working anymore, a loved one has passed away, or maybe, like me, they find themselves in a situation where everything that is familiar is taken away.
I was recently made redundant from a company I was with for almost 11 years, and suddenly I am out of my comfort zone and facing new challenges. After the initial shock had worn off, I had a decision to make, I could wallow in the fear that comes with losing your job, or I could see it as a good thing and try something new, I chose the latter.
Moving away from negativity and into a more positive mindset has provided some much-needed clarity, and the ability to see that sometimes change is the best possible medicine. So as I embark on my next journey, I wanted to speak to those who have been where I am now, and their stories are remarkable. Taking a chance on yourself can pay off in huge ways.
Meet Peter Lee, owner of Love Suits, one of Dublin’s best-known suit companies; he puts his success down to the closure of the shop he worked in during recession times. ” I was a manager in Blacktie for six years. The market was changing, and the suits they were supplying were no longer in demand”.
Peter could see that the business model of relying on suit hires was contributing to the downturn in the business. However, the brand had a stronghold in the Irish market, and he was convinced that someone would take over the running of the shops and he would stay on as manager.
” I would have happily taken a job if another company came in but deep down I knew that I wanted to run my own business. Once interest from buyers waned, I decided to go for it. I had plenty of people who I had discussed my business plans with and who wanted to invest with me, but I was determined to do it myself”.
Peter used the money from his redundancy along with some of his savings and on hearing his business plan the bank offered him a loan. ” I secured the right location, I knew my strengths and weaknesses and most importantly I knew the importance of creating a good online presence.”
He chose people he knew and trusted to help, his sister’s design company Estilo taking care of the interior and exterior look and feel of the shop. A high functioning and engaging website have been crucial to his success.
” We were getting so much business through Google Adwords that Google actually uses us as a ” Google success story.” And successful is the correct word to use when describing Peter and his business, since the opening of that first shop in Fairview he has gone on to open five more branches and he has plans to further expand to a nationwide presence.
Peters story shows us the importance of using your career skills and industry knowledge to turn it into a positive. His decision to go out on his own and start his own business is a brave one and it shows how belief in your own ability is crucial during a time of reinvention and change. His story shows the benefit of taking chances and following your dreams.
Sometimes a change in career means you can find yourself in an industry that you had never imagined you would end up in. This is the case for Grainne and her husband Lewis Cummings who found themselves in a redundancy situation after years of having stable jobs. ” I worked as an art designer in Ireland and Lewis worked as a production manager in a newspaper in London,” Grainne tells me.
At a time of huge change in the print industry, they both lost their jobs and found themselves having to start all over again. “Lewis had to really think about what it wax he wanted to do next. For me I had always pursued other interests over the years, I always wanted to have a sense of independence from whatever job I was in. I had done yoga teacher training, photography, etc . so I knew I would be ok.”
Faced with the prospect of a new career, Lewis was lucky to identify a gap in the market where he could build a successful business. Grainne tells us where he got his inspiration “He set up Kerala kitchen soon after the redundancy news, he got the idea for the business when he went to a festival and saw the food stalls there. He realised there was no one selling Healthy Indian Food and so he saw an opportunity to set up the business.
There was a gap in the market. We also wanted a restaurant, and that’s where I came on board”. Grainne did all the interior design and looked after the social media for the restaurant; she also uses her photography skills for brochures and marketing. Lewis also traveled to India to really study the art of cooking and gain invaluable experience which sets their business apart from others.
Grainne believes their success is down to belief in themselves .”We read 1 in 3 restaurants fail but we still persevered, I had to learn how to use Facebook twitter, etc. as we went. My husband managed a lot of people in his previous role, so he had those skills, he also had experience in catering so between us we had a lot of the skills we needed, and we just went with it”
The stories of Kerala Kitchen and Love Suits are inspirational; it proves that it’s possible to go in a completely different direction. Sometimes when you lose your job, you might be faced with a choice to continue what you do somewhere else, or maybe follow that dream career that you never had the chance to pursue.
With the government offering incentives to enroll in courses, its hard to not embrace your inner photographer or finally take that computer programming class that you have spoken about for years. But First, one must deal with the after effects of losing your job and find the clarity to plan for the future, so what advice do Peter and Grainne offer those who are going through this tough time?
Peter stresses the importance of knowing the supports that are available to you and the help that is out there. ” I did some research when I was made redundant and found that, if I was setting up my own business, I could claim an allowance of €180 per week from the government, for six months, this was a huge help. For anyone setting up their own business, do your homework and find out what you are entitled to”.
“It can be shocking for people to be made redundant, but you need to be determined to be the master of your destiny. Grainne says ” Look at it as an opportunity, you have a lot more knowledge about what you want at 30 or 40 than you do at 17. It’s a great chance to have a second crack at a career or to go travel. Don’t be afraid there are always opportunities out there”.
Her words hit home, look at a redundancy as a poisoned chalice, or a gift horse. It pushes us to change our outlook on life and maybe move us in the direction where we were always supposed to go. So relax, take the time to truly, redesign, rebuild and open the page to the next chapter in your book!