According to the Local Enterprise Office, approximately 1,000 women in Ireland start a business every month. There are more women entrepreneurs than ever before, in a wide variety of industries. Although we often hear about success stories of women entrepreneurs and professionals, rarely do we get an inside look at the personal challenges that came with that success Here we chat to two women that are trailblazing in fashion ,Irish female entrepreneurs, sisters and founders of The Malena Group.
Tell us a bit about you?
We’re sisters, best friends and business partners. Malindi is 29 and Elena is 25. Despite having a 4-year age gap we are really very close, we do everything together, not least work but socialising, holidaying and ‘gyming’.
Tell us about your business?
Malena imports, markets and distributes products we are passionate about in Ireland, the UK and Spain. Our exclusive products include Freddy Jeans, Dr Denim Jeans and PureBorn Babies diapers and wipes.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in growing your business?
Our family inspired us to work in the fashion or ‘rag trade’ but beyond that we also really appreciate and admire entrepreneurial female influencers, our current obsession is Sivan Ayla who is the co – founder of Lux Unfiltered.
What do you love most about having your own business?
The best part of our business is that fact we get to work together. It truly is a dream come true to work with your best friend. We also love the flexibility, although we work every day some days are long and never ending but other days can be short especially if it’s a summer sunny day ( which is not very often in Ireland haha).
What has been the most significant thing you have done to grow your business?
Outsourcing our warehousing operations which enables to focus on marketing and growing the business rather than the labour-intensive physical work.
What is your business and what led you to start it?
We founded Malena in 2015 once Malindi graduated from college with a marketing degree and followed our parents’ footsteps into the fashion trade. Rather than starting our own brand or becoming agents for multiple existing brands, we decided to enter the market as distributors which essentially means we import and market International brands by acting as ‘the brand’ across all aspects of its business in Ireland the UK and Spain.
What is your number 1 tip for anyone struggling to overcome entrepreneurial overwhelm and keep going?
Our motto we always tell ourselves when we struggle with overwhelming problems is to “keep going, you don’t stop in hell”. We always make sure to take time out of the day and go for a walk to clear our head, talk it out and reassess.
Malindi and Elena Demery, Founders of The Malena Group