Retailer Clare McNickle of Clare Clothing offers a glimpse into her creative career styling the ladies of Letterkenny and beyond.
“It is wonderful to get up everyday and be happy going into work,” Clare McNickle tells Donegal Woman. After 17 years managing her own boutique in Letterkenny she says she counts herself as ‘blessed’.
Clare runs Clare Clothing, a beautiful store at Forte Retail Park Letterkenny. She stocks chic clothing and accessories for all women and all occasions. What makes Clare’s collections unique is that they carry a certain look and quality that has been a favourite of local women for almost two decades, confirming her status as one of the town’s most respected independent stores.
“My ethos has always been to carry garments that have something different, we sell style which never goes out of fashion.”
“When you buy garments that suit your colouring, your shape, they will never look out of fashion but continue to complement you! It always better to invest that little bit more money in garments of quality, they will stand the test of time,” Clare said.
Seventeen is a notable number for Clare. She was 17 years old when her career began, and this year, 2017, she is celebrating 17 years in business.
“Retail was my choice of career, at 17 I got my first job in Austins & Co. Derry City. It was exciting times as the Hasson Family had just bought that icon building in the Diamond, there were big changes for everyone concerned.
“Within 6 months I got promoted to assistant buyer in the Ladies Fashion Department and was off to London. I did a Retail Business course in Derry IT and went back to teach part-time on the same course, I knew then retail was for me,” Clare said.
“I get great job satisfaction when a customer leaves happy, excited with their purchases.”
Over the years Clare has given training, written articles, won retail awards, and spoken on the RTE News about how stylish Irish women are and how creative we are as a nation.
Clare finds inspiration all around her in Donegal – in both the natural landscape and the strong local network of people around her.
“Here in Donegal we love colour in our clothing, we must be influenced by the magnificent colours that surround us in the great county.
“It is a pleasure to work in this county which is full of talented creative women who are making their mark in so many different industries.”
Clare added: “The Donegal Women in Business Network is a must for any aspiring female who is looking to develop their entrepreneurial skills. A very inspiring group of women!
“I am very privileged to be Vice President of the Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce. We are a very active Chamber working constantly to improve our town, for those that live here and for those that come to visit. The next big event is the turning on of the Christmas Lights on the 24th November, a great evening for all age groups.”
Clare counts her personal team as key to her success at Clare Clothing:
“I am very grateful to my family (particularly my son Rory) and friends for their continued support, we all need help along the way.
“In the shop I am very lucky to have Marie Mc Gonigle working with me on my team, she shares my passion for fashion and offers a warm and friendly welcome to all our customers,” Clare said.
It’s an exciting time in the world of fashion and Clare is keen to grow with the times. She has expanded her range of accessories and stocks beautiful handbags, scarves and jewellery – some of which are exclusive from New York.
On her goals for the future, Clare is planning to focus on preserving the quality personalised experience customers get when visiting her store, along with expanding access to her range online.
“My priority goal is to create a very impressive online presence and an app showing new stock or seasonal offers, with an aim to continue growing the business.
“I feel it is very important to create the right ambiance in the shop, as shopping should always be a pleasurable experience.
“We are always open to any ideas and views from our customers as they are at the centre of everything,” Clare said.
Follow Clare Clothing on Facebook for updates and offers: www.facebook.com/clareclothingletterkenny
Visit Clare at her store in Forte Retail Park Letterkenny, opposite the New Dunnes Stores. Open Monday-Saturday 9.30am – 6pm.
‘Me and My Business’ is a special series on DonegalWoman.ie in association with the Donegal Women in Business Network. To find out how you can take part email firstname.lastname@example.org.