Me and My Money: Monaghan’s Cashmere owner Tom Monaghan

‘I prefer to invest in things I can see – horses, land or cashmere stock’

Tom Monaghan: “I believe customer loyalty and relationships have been the secret of our success.”

Tom Monaghan: “I believe customer loyalty and relationships have been the secret of our success.”

 

Are you a saver or a spender?

I am definitely a saver. I come from a generation where we were told to always save for a rainy day. I have done that all my life and it has served me well.

Do you shop around for better value?

Of course, but quality is our trademark and we will never compromise on this.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?

A brood mare called Dream Valley from the Newmarket sales for over €100,000. My hobby is breeding horses with my son Paul. Our most notable, Trip to Paris, won the Ascot Gold Cup in 2015.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

Farmland. I purchased a stud farm in Kilcock in the mid-1980s and this has given me years of great joy and success in breeding some wonderful racehorses. I started by rearing the cattle my brothers selected in Tuam, and then went on to breed horses.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

Being a city-centre retailer, I think it’s hugely important to support the high street in such a challenging retail landscape, so I’m a big shop local person. We now have an online store and a social media platform that my daughter runs and, while I know this is the future of retail, we must never lose sight of the personal connection, the touch and feel of beautiful fabrics – things you don’t get on a screen. I believe customer loyalty and relationships have been the secret of our success.

Do you haggle over prices?

I was born on a small farm in Lurgan, Co Galway, beside the bog, so haggling is in my blood whether it be a horse or when I’m in Scotland buying our cashmere.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

I’ve always had respect for money. During the 2009 recession I didn’t take a salary. That enabled me to continue employing five really reliable members of staff, some of whom have been working with us for up 40 years. I was cautious about purchasing too much merchandise at that time, but you always have to have a wide range of new stock in order to keep the customers coming in.

Do you invest in shares?

I have in the past, but it wouldn’t be something I do regularly.  I prefer to invest in things I can see – horses, land or cashmere stock.

Cash or card?

I don’t have a credit card and never did. Cash, cheque or barter is more my style.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

A good marketing campaign to drive awareness of our store. We compete with top designer brands, so we need to remind people where we are and what we offer. Our customers like the fact that we are a long-standing family business – another reason they want to support us.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

My family home, which I bought in the early 1990s in Leopardstown, where I live to this day with my wife Teresa. It’s just beside the racecourse to ensure I can keep my love of horse racing close.

Have you ever lost money?

I have been in the retail game for nearly 60 years now, so have seen three recessions – 2009 was the worst one, and I think everyone got hit in some way.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?

Gambling never really appealed to me. I took a gamble on relocating our store to Dublin’s South Anne Street this year, and luckily it has paid off as our customers have remained loyal and we have also welcomed a new generation of customers through the doors who didn’t know us before.

Is money important to you?

Yes, of course. Money won’t bring you happiness, but it’s important to have enough to look after your family.

How much money do you have on you now?

I have €10. I’ll be heading to Bewley’s cafe for a pot of tea and some lunch after this.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

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