‘I’ve been tempted to invest in shares, but something tells me not to’

Me and My Money: Gillian Halpin, owner of fragrance brand Jane Darcy

Gillian Halpin: ‘I love supporting Irish business, and especially Irish women out there doing an amazing job’

Are you a saver or a spender?
I put a bit away every week just to have in case of little emergencies, but I have to say my girls are my weakness. If I see something they would love when I'm out, I just have to pick it up.

Do you shop around for better value?
I'm all about a bargain, but I reckon when you buy based on quality, that's where you get the value. This is really important to me.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
I don't usually make very extravagant purchases, but when it comes to my girls I can't say no to a big birthday celebration.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
My home. I could eat my words on this, but I think we got lucky. We have a beautiful family home in a lovely location, with amazing friends and neighbours. I live, work, and my kids go to school all on the same road. It makes striking that work-life balance that bit more achievable.


How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
I do a bit of both. Although, when I do shop online, I like to shop with retailers I know will deliver within a realistic time frame. It's one of my bugbears, so when I launched Jane Darcy this was super important to me.

Do you haggle over prices?
I would never haggle over prices when I go into my local stores, as I know what it's like to own your own business and the overheads that are involved.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?
I reckon it has made me more cautious. I remember when the recession hit, and the effect it had on my parents, my family and friends. I was probably too young to realise its full effects, but it has definitely affected the way I spend today.

Do you invest in shares?
No, never. I have been tempted, but something tells me not to.

Cash or card?
I used to be a cash woman, but I reckon with the tap function on the card now it's just so easy. It's card all the way – I can see where I'm spending my money.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
The last thing I bought was the Hold Tight Perfecting Primer, by Carter Beauty. It's amazing and great value, and the bonus is it's an Irish business. I love supporting Irish business, and especially Irish women out there doing an amazing job.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Yes, myself and my partner, Stephen, saved up for our family home. We thought we would never get there, but we did.

Have you ever lost money?
I think we all have, whether it's on a new venture or a tenner falling out of your wallet. Over the past year, with Jane Darcy, I have tried some things that failed and some that were a roaring success, but it's because of the ones I lost that I am learning what works, what people want and what they don't.

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
I'm not a gambler at all. I'm more into calculated risk than blind risk. I suppose that's why I own my own business. That's my kind of gambling.

Is money important to you?
What's important to me is that my family and I are happy and healthy. I know that sounds like a cliched answer but I really mean it. We nearly lost my mum a couple of years ago and I think it's really taught us all the importance of treasuring the simple moments in life, the moments that matter the most.

How much money do you have on you now?
Nothing. Not a penny. I do have a card, though.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

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