AGENT Q&A with Patricia Irwin, Owner, Ring O’Roses Florist
“You can do it! Have belief in yourself.” Patricia Irwin has grown her Ring O’Roses flower shop into one of Limerick’s most successful family businesses. Here, she speaks to AGENT about the history of Ring O’Roses and shares the key lessons she has learnt over the past two decades in business.
Patricia Irwin set up Ring O Roses flower shop in Limerick City in 1997, and two decades on it remains one of the most successful family-run businesses in the region.
“You can do it! Have belief in yourself.”
Hard work and utter dedication to providing the best service has been the hallmark of Patricia Irwin and every aspect the operation at Ring O Roses since its inception.
Even when the global recession made its devastating impact on Ireland in the mid 2000s, Patricia Irwin soldiered on, providing a service of the same standard that had made her reputation, while paring the costs of running that service.
It was a strategy that ensured the survival of the business, and today, Ring O Roses is providing its clients with customers to express the right sentiment from “I love you” to “I’m sorry”; “Happy Birthday” to “Happy Mother’s Day”; and for every major occasion in life, including births, christenings and funerals.
12 Questions for Patricia Irwin
Patricia Irwin spoke to AGENT about the story of Ring O Roses and her life in business, her inspirations and business challenges over the years, and shares the key advice that she would pass on to her younger self if she were starting out in business today.
1. Briefly tell us about your business and your business goals.
My business is Ring O Roses florist, which is based in Kilteragh, Dooradoyle, Limerick. My goals are to maintain the strong, healthy reputation that I have built up since 1996, supplying only the best in floral displays. And to continue to learn more and expand my portfolio.
2. What age were you when you realised you wanted to run your own business?
I was 40 years old.
3. Who are your business icons and inspirations?
Richard Branson and Michael O’Leary.
4. What has been your biggest challenge in business, and how did you surmount it?
Surviving the recession. I met it head on, working to maintain the same quality while cutting costs. It wasn’t easy and it certainly was interesting. Many of my contemporaries nationally did not survive it.
5. What gives you the most satisfaction in business?
Watching the reaction from my clients, seeing their satisfaction at a job well done. And also supporting local charities by donating 10% of all funeral proceeds. The total raised to date is €13,827, which is not bad, considering the recession.
6. Work-Life balance: is it possible? How do you achieve it?
I wish! Unless 80% work and 20% life applies! But I’m tackling this now, believe it or not.
7. What is the first thing you do every day?
Check my emails.
8. What screen saver picture is currently on your phone?
It’s a picture of my grandson.
9. What is the most important app on your mobile phone, and why?
Skype. Aside from keeping in touch with family. I have clients overseas, couples who are planning their weddings, and we do all of this via Skype. They need to see the person they are entrusting the arrangements for their wedding flowers to.
10. What is the last thing you Googled?
11. What item do you never leave the house without, and why?
Phone and glasses. The phone in case I am needed, and I can’t see it without my glasses, haha!
12. What advice would you give to your younger self starting out in business?
Don’t be so afraid. You can do it! Have belief in yourself. On a practical level, a friend once advised me back when I started up to always pay yourself a wage and pay the taxman every month.