Mums Who Inspire

'Everyone has that fear of failure': mum who runs two business shares her success secrets

This week on our Mums Who Inspire series, we sit down with Lana Gregan, mum and owner of two businesses, Eikon Salons and our new favourite fashion marketplace app, Dressup.  If you have a story that you would like to be featured, email mumswhoinspire[at]magicmum[dot]com.

"When something like that happens you question whether it’s something that’s making you really happy." 

Lana Gregan was at the top of her game when she started to feel unwell. Working in Global Asset Management for seven years, she had quickly risen through the ranks to management. 

Then, in the summer of 2013, she suddenly began to feel dizzy and numb. She was admitted to hospital for testing. 

"I just didn't feel right at all," she recalls when speaking to Magicmum. "They did every test under the sun but when they did the MRI last. 

“I’ll never forget the day because I was in there for four days doing all the tests. I went down to get a coffee. When I came back up they were like where were you we need you to go back down for another scan.

"In that moment I thought, 'yep, okay I'm dead.'" 

It was a brain tumour, luckily it was begin and could be dealt with through radiation. Thanks to the treatment, she returned to full health, but the shock of sudden illness was something that lead her to rethink her life. 

“Hopefully, it will just be a story to tell. That’s why I’m so open about it, because it’s something that really forced me to take a look at myself and examine what’s really important in life, and not to get stressed out over stupid things." 

She decided that it was time to move on from her corporate job. She had always loved fashion and design, even applying for NCAD before her parents persuaded her to take a business degree instead. Slowly, she started to let her creative spark shine again, beginning with renovating and selling their Ringsend home.

Along with her husband Emmet, a personal trainer, she relocated to their hometown of Gorey, Co. Wexford. 

Eventually, she spotted a gap in the beauty market for an experience-based salon. In March 2015, she opened the first branch of Eikon salons in her hometown of Gorey, Co. Wexford. 

"Eikon is all about celebrating women. It's just a fun place for you to relax with friends and feel good about yourself."

Getting a new business up and running is no mean feat, but Lana was ready to take the challenge head on. 

"There'll always be times when you're unsure of yourself. I think everyone has that fear of failure, you've just got to keep pushing and keep moving on." 

In the meantime, she had a baby girl, Hannah, now two. Any money she had was being reinvested back into Eikon, leaving very little for herself, never mind for a new wardrobe. 

"After Christmas, I was doing a big clear out and I just had all these clothes. I thought about how I was going to make some more money for myself with clothes practically falling out of the wardrobe. I just said there has to be something here." 

She started researching online fashion marketplaces, but nothing was jumping out at her. A busy mum and business woman, she didn't have the time to start listing and selling items individually. After having the means to switch up her look until then, she grew annoyed that she was unable to express herself with clothes in the same way she had before. 

At the same time, she noticed a trend of her friends slowly growing more dissatisfied with social media. 

"They felt crap after looking at it, everyone was showing their best lives, come away from it not feeling good about themselves." 

Marrying the two ideas, Lana created Dressup, a positive and social fashion marketplace. 

"I wanted to create something that they would come away feeling really good about themselves, whether you bought a bargain or you read something inspirational on our showroom or you just had fun styling and putting looks together and are just excited about what looks you’re going to do for the next couple of events.

"It's a place where anybody who loves fashion can go to on a daily basis and get enjoyment out of it." 

Not only is Dressup a handy platform for making a few quid off that dress you're never going to wear again, it's also got that feel-good factor.

“Everything I’ve done, even with [my husband] Emmett and his personal training, I think what really motivates is being able to make someone feel good about themselves. Whether with beauty, I know they're quick fixes but it's the little things that make you feel better. 

"I love seeing people walk away with big smiles on their faces and that’s the same thing with Dressup. It’s the same urge to make people feel good about themselves regardless of their background, or their money." 

You don't have to be searching for the next Gucci bag, Dressup caters for all tastes and budgets. 

"You can have loads of money and buy the more expensive items or you can have no money and sell clothes and buy your next item. It’s really allowing everyone to express themselves.

"I know there’s a big thing with fast fashion and people don’t like that concept. But if it’s fast fashion where you’re actually recycling then I think that’s something that everyone can enjoy without thinking about it.

"There’s so many people with dresses sitting at home that they're never going to wear again. Once you’ve done your thing you’re better off selling it on than throwing it away.

“Not everyone has the money to just donate and replenish their wardrobe. That's why Dressup is perfect for making extra money and getting a bargain at the same time.”

When it comes to balancing two businesses and a toddler, Lana says it wouldn't be possible without her family's support. Her husband, Emmett, is also self-employed as a personal trainer. 

“We’re also really lucky that Emmett’s also self-employed, so we’re more flexible in that way. We really work around Hannah.

“It’s definitely a juggling act, but because of my family and friends we’re in a good position. She seems really happy and the weekends are completely hers. I work when she’s asleep, so after she goes to bed and for a few hours before she wakes up in the morning. It's probably not sustainable, to be honest, but that's the start-up phase!" 

Her advice to other mums, listen to mentors, but not to your closest friends and family. 

“Find as many mentors as you can. Especially if it’s an industry that you don’t have experience in. Surround yourself with people who have skills that you don’t. Speak to as many different mentors as you can.

"But also don’t maybe listen to your closest family and friends, at times. If you have a vision and you really want to go for it, your family and friends might be more conservative and reserved, particularly if there's risk involved. 

"My Dad was like ‘don’t do it’, he's self-employed and he went through a really bad experience in the recession. If you listen too much and get that much advice from somebody you won’t do it.

"I think you need to take a risk, but it needs to be calculated risk. Make sure you’ve done your research and talked to everybody can.  

"Really, really believe in your idea."

See more about Dressup here

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