Me & My Money: Jennie Flynn, owner of Designist,

I do a lot of research online but I try to spend my money locally, if I can

Are you a saver or a spender? I'm a saver of things and a spender of money. I normally manage to live within my means but only barely. Running my own business has definitely made me better at managing my personal finances, but it's also made me much braver and more conscious about what I spend my money on.

Do you shop around for better value? I think value is in the eye of the beholder. I don't spend much time comparing cost but I do shop around for better options and different choices – things with more personality, a good story or using different materials and techniques.

What has been your most extravagant purchase ever and how much did it cost? When my best friend bought her first house I had a bespoke table made for her. The top flipped over and the other side was covered in green baize so it could be used as a poker table. The idea was to reflect both sides of her and her partner's personalities. It was about €2,000.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money? I bought a bright orange vintage swivel chair from Retrorumage at the Brocante Market a couple of years ago for €70. It makes me smile every time I see it. I had my eye out for a reading chair and it's perfectly built for it.


What ways do you prefer to shop - online or local? I do a lot of research online, but I try to spend my money locally, if I can. I also buy Irish-made products as much as possible. If we don't support small Irish retailers they'll continue to disappear. And there's a lot to be said for seeing products in the flesh.

Do you haggle over prices? Never. My dad still asks everyone "what will they do for him for cash", and often gets a discount.

Has the recession changed your spending habits? Yes, I don't buy tables as housewarming presents anymore! There also wasn't the same pressure to maintain a lifestyle as there was during the boom. It feels okay to be broke when everyone else is.

Do you invest in shares? No, I'm much more likely to invest in a new product than shares.

Cash or card? What will you do for cash?

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money? I bought an amazing necklace in Om Diva for a wedding. I think I tried on every single thing in the shop, before I picked it out, so that felt like excellent value as I was really happy with my purchase.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase? Yes – Designist. We started it without external funding, through a combination of a small inheritance and a Special Savings Incentive Account. In 2010 when we opened, buying property seemed like a crazy notion, as no one was sure if the market had bottomed out yet. So taking a chance on a business and investing in making your own job seemed like a much better bet.

Have you ever lost money? Not that I'm aware of. Although I do have a magical coat that always seems to have mystery fivers in the pocket.

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win? I think you have to be a bit of a gambler to be an entrepreneur. I'm taking a gamble on a pension, and lots of people have lost their shirts on those recently.

Is money important to you? Very, but only as a means to an end. It allows you to do things but it can also really limit your thinking. Michelle Darmody, from the Cake Café, says you have to take a leap of faith and trust that if your idea is good then you'll find a way of making the finances work. I think that's the essence of entrepreneurial spirit.

How much money do you have on you now? €27.14, and a load of receipts.