Susan Power – Entrepreneur, model and mom
Susan Power is an all-rounder if ever there was one! She currently finds herself working in the business, education and fashion sectors, smashing each with success and style.
“I am a working fashion model with Lockdown Models Cork and I am also an entrepreneur, teacher and employer. I have always been interested in these industries. I was signed as a fashion model in my hometown of Kilkenny at 16 and I have always been entrepreneurial. I remember packing potatoes in Kilkenny for a local farmer for 50p per sack when I was 12!”
Never losing her work ethic, Susan trained as a business, SPHE and religious education teacher after finishing school. “I worked as a second level teacher for a number of years before going on to set up several companies. I also completed a post-graduate degree in early childhood studies in Cork.” And somehow, while accomplishing all this Susan found the time to start a family, marrying her husband PJ and having a son, Noah, aged five, and a daughter, Eva Rose, aged two.
Susan reached her level of success, professionally and personally, through old-fashioned hard work, “perseverance and never giving up!”
Photo: Steve Savage
“I was never afraid to try new things and I never stopped to think about what would others think of my decisions. I have always done my own thing. I try to focus on my own goals instead of competing with others.
“I love to see others succeed but I try to keep focused on my own journey. If we focus too much on the success of others, we can become distracted from achieving our own goals.
“My grandmother was a great role model for me. She played a huge role in my childhood. She taught me the importance of gratitude and a strong work ethic from as far back as I can remember.”
With such a strong drive, it’s important to love what you do to avoid burning out. So what does Susan love about what she does?
“I love the variety that comes with being an entrepreneur and model. No two days are ever the same! I think that I get bored easily, so I love variety in my work. I could have a photoshoot in Clonakilty one day, be public speaking the next and appear on live TV the day after that.
“I also love having the opportunity to meet lots of new people along the way. I am really interested in people and their stories. I have made friends for life in my employees, models I work with and in other people I have met through my varied work. Being an entrepreneur also allows me to choose when and where I work. This works really well for me as a mom to two young children.”
Photo: R&R Photography Youghal
All that said, even the greatest jobs have their downsides. “The most difficult part is that there is no such thing as a day off for an entrepreneur. Your business is always at the back of your mind. This week for example, I had to travel through a red alert snowstorm [Storm Emma] to get to my business, so I could transfer wages to my staff on time. If I missed that deadline no one would be paid and that wasn’t an option!” As downsides go, loving your work so much that you can’t switch off isn’t the worst it could be!
This wouldn’t be the Hi Style Profile if we didn’t talk all things personal style! Susan’s fashion ethos is less is more.” My go-to outfits, for example, could be a crisp white shirt and jeans or a cosy knit with my leather-look skinnies.
“For an event, I love to dress-up and will wear a statement piece but generally my style is quite relaxed.
“Also, never underestimate the importance of great underwear – underwear can make or break an outfit!
“At weekends, you could easily find me in wellies, as I live in the countryside and love to go exploring through the fields with my two children and our dog!”
Photo: R&R Photography Youghal
Susan says the key to great style is to be comfortable in what you buy and wear. “When I was younger, I bought pieces that were on-trend or that were really stylish but they were so uncomfortable.
“Now, I won’t buy it unless it’s comfortable, no matter how pretty it is!
“You won’t fully enjoy yourself if something is uncomfortable or hurting you and life’s too short for that!”
We here at Hi HQ may think of Susan as a style icon and a fountain of great fashion and confidence advice but everyone has someone they look up to. Susan actually has many style icons, with Aoibhín Garrihy, Helen Quealy Murphy and Lesley Teehan being among them. “Those ladies never get it wrong!”
However, we know by now that Susan is so much more than a fashionista. “One of my business heroes is my husband, PJ, though I don’t often remind him of this! He started with his company 20 years ago, as an apprentice electrician. Now he’s the CEO and has established his company in seven new countries around the world, while also increasing turnover from seven million to 33 million, since his appointment as CEO in 2015.” No wonder he’s one of her business heroes. “He recently received an award for Best Business at the Limerick Chamber Business Awards.
“I am also a huge Jo Malone fan, having recently read her autobiography. I love stories of people, who succeed in spite of all the obstacles in their way.”
And what can an entrepreneur do with such inspiration but work hard? “My most recent venture has been public speaking! I was recently invited to speak to 600 attendees at the Become event, organised by Maeve at Love Cherish Boutique recently in Charleville in aid of Marymount Hospice. So, who knows what’s next? I don’t stay still for too long and that’s for sure!
“I am always setting new goals and once I achieve them I will set another. I try to stay positive and always see the bright side! Even the worst situations can make us stronger if we learn from them.”
“Try to block out all of the other opinions and follow your gut. I was modelling at 16 and am still modelling now at 31. I believe that your heart will always guide you back to your passion if you pay enough attention.
“Don’t be afraid of failure! It has been my best learning! You don’t learn much from smooth sailing! It is in choppy waters when everything seems like it’s going wrong, that you’ll learn the most!”
The Happiness Teacher