STARTING a enterprise is, by its very nature, difficult beneath any circumstances. Extra so within the midst of a pandemic.
Many enterprise founders and entrepreneurs, although, have extra obstacles to beat than making use of for a financial institution mortgage or sourcing inventory.
That features defying unbelievable private odds – and having to deal each day with a private a number of household tragedy which made worldwide headlines and which nonetheless reverberates round a small Co Down group almost twenty years on.
In September Tierna McComb (30) from Ballymartin close to Kilkeel launched The Cyber Closet, a web-based women trend boutique providing prime quality reasonably priced attire sourced from main trend capitals in France, Italy and Spain.
Within the grand scheme of issues, there’s little exceptional in that (on-line purchasing penetration is big within the UK, the place e-commerce gross sales final 12 months have been valued at £688 billion – and rising).
However Tierna’s back-story is one among a unprecedented younger lady (and now a brand new mom) who was touched by indescribable tragedy, however who has proven a energy and fortitude to get well and develop into a job mannequin for thus many individuals round her.
Her grandfather Mickey Greene (54), her father Michael junior (32) and her little eight-year-old brother, additionally referred to as Michael, all died when the fishing boat through which they have been trawling for prawns perished in mysterious circumstances in February 2002 within the sea off Kilkeel.
The Greene household and wider group have been plunged into overwhelming grief when the Tullaghmurry Lass did not return from an early morning fishing journey on Valentine’s Day, taken whereas younger Michael was on half-term vacation.
After enduring an insufferable five-week wait earlier than the wreckage of the vessel was found on the seabed seven miles out, after which one other three weeks for the our bodies to be recovered and returned to their family members, the funerals in April 2002 marked one among Kilkeel’s darkest-ever days.
Tierna (Greene), then simply 12, and her sister Stephanie have been inconsolable as they every carried footage of their misplaced father and youthful brother behind the coffins.
“The ache by no means goes away. You simply need to study to deal with it,” Tierna says.
“I noticed how my mum struggled. However she all the time advised us to observe our desires, and this instilled a perseverance in me which has introduced me to the purpose now of beginning up The Cyber Closet.”
Her fledgling enterprise (https://thecybercloset.com) has already caught the eye of tv and radio presenter and trend mannequin Lisa Snowden, in addition to Irish influencer Rachel Gorry (who herself has been touched by tragedy after her husband died from most cancers earlier this 12 months on the age of simply 29).
“I would had the thought of organising my enterprise for a few years, however then I bought pregnant, and when my son was born a 12 months in the past – he is referred to as Michael – that drove me to lastly get it going.
“Why a garments retailer and why now? Nicely, I’ve discovered many native and nationwide boutiques to be over-priced, and I made a decision I would supply and promote my inventory at a worth I personally could be keen to pay if I used to be the shopper.
“Actually my margins are extraordinarily low, however I am joyful to maintain it like that,” provides Tierna, who has a forensic science diploma from Preston after which studied within the medical discipline in London, the place she met her now-husband Shane, who teaches economics at Sacred Coronary heart in Newry.
Tierna, who additionally works helping anaesthetists in hospital theatres two days per week, says she is a big advocate for empowering different ladies.
“Sadly, in trend, social media pressurises us all to match ourselves to unrealistic requirements by an unrealistic lens, and with empowerment in thoughts, I made a decision to incorporate myself within the majority of enterprise pictures on my Fb web page.
“This was a very onerous factor for me to do, so quickly after giving start to Michael, as a result of like everybody I’ve many insecurities and ‘unhealthy days’, so hopefully me carrying the garments or footwear in pictures can even encourage ladies to put on them and to embrace their very own distinctive our bodies.”
Tierna says early suggestions from her enterprise is massively encouraging, and her followers on Instagram (thecybercloset_irl) and Fb (The Cyber Closet Irl) are rising by the day.
“Whenever you store with The Cyber Closet, know that you just’re supporting a household and, in my case, a dream I all the time had.”