International Womens Day at Kilkenny Design

At Kilkenny Design, it’s women’s day every day just as it has been for over 50 years. Our team is committed to elevating women inside and outside the company to inspire each other to succeed. We love to work with a host of Irish female entrepreneurs whose brands we showcase to our customers and we share in their passion and creativity. Inside Kilkenny Design, there are so many women who drive both the Kilkenny brand and the brands of all our makers and designers.

 

Take a sneak peak behind the scenes to meet the women who make women’s day every day at Kilkenny Design.

Marian O'Gorman CEO Kilkenny

Marian O’Gorman, Chairperson Kilkenny Design

Marian left school at age 16 to work with her father Christy Kelleher, the founder of Blarney Woollen Mills. It was his knowledge and guidance that gave Marian much of the business acumen she possesses today. Christy acquired the Kilkenny shops of which there were two at the time and in 1999 Marian was allocated the brand and became the company’s CEO. Marian has grown the brand to include a total of 15 stores around the country, 2 cafes and a thriving online shop. She oversees 280 employees form Kilkenny Design, always evolving it to meet customer expectations.

Speaking about Women’s Day at Kilkenny Design, Marian says:

“I have watched so many creative women become top class Irish designers, encouraged by our female buyers and wonderful sales team. This makes me immensely proud. Most of all, I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside my two daughters Michelle and Melissa - both passionate business women. I have to pay tribute to my lovely mother Maureen RIP who was a wonderful homemaker and was always there for her own three daughters. She was a warm-hearted woman, never to be forgotten.”

Evelyn Moynihan, CEO Kilkenny Design

Evelyn joined Kilkenny Design in 2019 as Marketing and Business Development director where she became the driving force behind transitioning the business from a bricks and mortar store into a leading omni-channel Irish retailer. Together with Marian, Evelyn steered the team through the totally unprecedented challenges that came with having to close all their physical stores during the Covid-19 lockdown. In 2021 her strong leadership abilities, passion and resilience were rewarded when she was made CEO of Kilkenny Design. Evelyn’s relentless focus on customer service and love of championing her team and the Irish designers they work with has and will continue to help Kilkenny Design reach new heights.

Evelyn says:

"Empowering and nurturing women to grow in business is something I feel very passionate about and I’m proud to say 86% of Kilkenny Design’s leadership team is female. It is a joy to partner with amazing female makers and designers from around the country who help make Kilkenny Design the fantastic experience it is today.”

Una Heelan Kilkenny Design

Una Heelan, Jewellery & Crystal Buyer Kilkenny Design

Una Heelan has been with Kilkenny Design for 30 years. She began her career with Kilkenny as a retail assistant where she love the buzz of the shop floor and meeting new people every day. Under Marian and her team’s management Una progressed into retail management and eventually into buying where she plays a leading role today. Una’s story is a reflection of Kilkenny’s ethos of helping women to succeed. 

Speaking about her mentorship at Kilkenny, Una says:

“I’ve had fantastic opportunities with Kilkenny Design and a very varied & exciting career to date. With the retail world continuously evolving & changing no two weeks are ever the same. I’ve been inspired through the years by many female colleagues and mentors - and of course the many female makers and designers I have worked closely with.”

Sarah Mee Kilkenny Design

Sarah Mee, Supervisor Kilkenny Design Douglas

Sarah Mee joined Kilkenny Design in 2021 to supervise our thriving Douglas shopping centre store. We asked Sarah to share who has inspired her to become the woman she is today. Sarah said:

“For me, there are three women who inspired me to become the woman I am. My mum, Shirley, who has always been so selfless and has such a genuine way with people.

My nana, Lillie has shown me her strength and resilience throughout life. Which has helped build who I am. 

My aunt, Mary has always shown me such a strong work ethic. I have followed in her footsteps and gained her passion for working in retail. 

I am so grateful to have grown up with such strong women around me. Because of these amazing women, I am the woman I am today.”

Caitriona Kilkenny Design

Caitriona Nyakambiri, Management Team, Kilkenny Design Galway

Catriona works at the Kilkenny Design Galway store, she loves helping customers to discover Irish creativity and talent through the products in store. When asked who inspires her to be the woman she is, Catriona says:

“I have always been inspired by the women around me. It is the best way to grow and learn. My grandmother Suzana has been a huge influence in my life. From a young age she taught us life skills which I am grateful for. I would not be the woman I am today without her guidance. She is a believer of hard work and learning which has carried me in my life journey. She always taught me that you don't have to look like what you have been through in life. You have the power to write your future through hard work, creativity and education.

On this International Women’s Day, I challenge us to write our own future - that way we will always know how it ends.”


Learn more about Kilkenny Design’s work with Irish makers and designers here.