Me & My Money: ‘I bought a Calvin Klein coat right out of college’

Katie O’Riordan, fashion designer, Theo + George

Fashion designer Katie O’Riordan: “I have only gambled a handful of times, but somehow I have always seemed to win. Maybe I should do it more.”

Fashion designer Katie O’Riordan: “I have only gambled a handful of times, but somehow I have always seemed to win. Maybe I should do it more.”

 

Are you a saver or a spender?
I would say I’m a bit of both, but those around me would probably disagree and say I’m a total saver. My family has always made fun of me for being tight with my money. I used to lend money to my siblings when we were kids and would write it all down in a book. If they were late paying me back, I would charge them interest and hound them relentlessly until they paid me back.

Do you shop around for better value?
As the owner of my own business and a mother of two young kids, I don’t always have the time to shop around for better value, but I think it’s in my DNA to try and find a good deal.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
I bought a Calvin Klein coat right out of college. It was the first investment piece of clothing that I ever purchased. It cost around $1,000 and it was all the money I had saved. I still own the coat today and when it comes to buying clothes it taught me the value of quality over quantity.

If a business is willing to negotiate prices with you, then either they have overpriced their goods or are running an unsustainable business

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
My MacBook Pro. I bought it nearly 10 years ago when I was thinking about starting my own business. I do all of my designing on the computer and the business runs from it. I would be lost without it.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
It depends on what I’m shopping for. I prefer to buy fresh food locally, but I will buy pretty much everything else online. With two small kids, I just don’t have the time to go into town and, if I take them to the shop with me, I inevitably end up getting suckered into buying them jellies or chocolate.

Do you haggle over prices?
Absolutely not. If a business is willing to negotiate prices with you, then either they have overpriced their goods or are running an unsustainable business.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?
The recession has definitely made me think twice about investing, as you can see how quickly things can disappear. From a day-to-day perspective, it hasn’t changed my spending habits that much.

Do you invest in shares?
I do some limited investment, but I am wary after the recession. 

Cash or card?
I’m a card person. I like to save the cash I have in my wallet for an emergency, so most purchases go on the card.

It was a great feeling not to have to pay rent anymore

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I bought new workout clothes, thinking that if I had them, I would be more likely to go to the gym. Unfortunately, having the right clothes doesn’t always give you more time.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
The only big purchase I have ever made was buying my house. It was a great feeling not to have to pay rent anymore, as I always felt it was a waste of money. I’m looking forward to the day the mortgage is paid off.

Have you ever lost money?
Yes, I’ve lost money out of my wallet a few times. Is it just me, or does that always happen when you need it the most?

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
I have only gambled a handful of times, but somehow I have always seemed to win. Maybe I should do it more.

Is money important to you?
Having enough money so that I’m not stressed about paying the bills is really important to me. I don’t need any excess, but I do like to be comfortable.

How much money do you have on you now?
I have about €50 on me right now. I’ll spend it if I go into a shop that doesn’t take a card, or if I need to take a taxi. Or in emergency situations, like when I was in a pub recently with my husband and they didn’t take cards.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea