Retail Lessons Learned the Hard Way

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Tuesday 16th February

Get some useful tips and tricks from retail expert Gillian Maxwell on the lessons she has learned the hard way working in the retail sector and bringing the Flying Tiger Stores to Ireland.

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EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist & Retail Queen, from Zero to 35 shops

Gillian Maxwell studied human resources and French, and started her career on the Ibec EOP programme in Paris. She returned to Ireland in 1999 and started an outsourced graduate training programme. In 2002 she joined the organising committee for the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Ireland, She then joined the HR team in Trinity College Dublin in a recruitment specialist role.

Gillian Maxwell

While on holiday in London in 2010, she first spotted one of the Tiger stores. At the time, she couldn’t believe the bric-a-brac chain’s concept hadn’t made its way to Ireland. This she identified as her opportunity. Maxwell left her safe and secure job as a recruitment officer at Trinity College, to start the business, initially with very modest ambitions. “I think we thought we would open one, two or three stores,” she recounts.

Maxwell had a plan, and quite quickly out-grew the plan. Initial targets of 2 stores quickly became double figures and the business grew exponentially to 28 and then 35 stores. With that, the associated turnover grew dramatically from zero to a cool €15M annually, in a few short years. Staff also grew from herself and her husband initially, to 229 employees.

 Gillian Maxwell

Maxwell, is thrilled to support Monaghan and Louth Local Enterprise Offices, being a huge advocate of the supports they provide. Among the topics she is eager to explore, and impart her knowledge and experience on, are;

  • Fear
  • Nerves
  • Planning
  • Expansion
  • Cash-flow
  • Credit
  • Product
  • Essentials of good retail
  • Pricing
  • Keeping product offering fresh
  • Working in the business versus working on the business
  • Times of Recession
  • Expansion & Growth
  • New opportunities
  • The future of Retail
  • Staffing
  • Supports


To quote Maxwell, -“So plan well, do you numbers and then you just have to jump into it. I genuinely believe if I can do it, anyone can.”

Webinar is FREE: 11am 16th February. Come and hear what Gillian has to say and direct your questions to her.