A Dungiven dog groomer has won her very own ‘best in show’ receiving the ‘Best Business Start Up in a Rural Area’ by the Rural Youth Entrepreneurship (RYE) programme.
Roisin O’Hara says she is thrilled at scooping the award for her business BowWow Beauty, which she started last year.
“I was delighted to get the recognition for doing something I love so much, more so than anything else,” Roisin told the ‘Journal’. “I’m helping these dogs every day, and I feel like this is my calling because you do get so much satisfaction.”
Roisin, aged 31, grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Dungiven and it had always been her passion to work with animals, especially dogs.
At St Patricks College, Maghera, she was torn between a career as a veterinary nurse or an accountant when studying for her A-Levels, but decided to study accounts.
For more than a decade, she enjoyed her job but, always at the back of her mind, were the dogs and the dream of running her own business.
When she turned 30, Roisin decided to take the plunge and followed her dream.
“I wish I had done it years ago. The best thing I ever did was leave my 9 to 5 job and, if anyone is thinking of it, just do it and give it a try. I was apprehensive as I had a permanent job for 12 years and it was hard to make that break.
“Some days, I am doing 12-hour shifts, but it doesn’t feel like work.”
Roisin heard about the RYE programme and contacted Rural Development Council staff to find out more. She attended the RYE workshops held in Maghera and Bow Wow Beauty followed.
Roisin says business is booming.
“I think it will only get bigger,” says Roisin. “People love getting their dogs groomed. It’s the convenience of someone else doing it, like years ago getting your nails done and now you wouldn’t think twice about it. And you can see the dogs feel so much better afterwards.”
Roisin received her award from agriculture minister Michelle O’Neill.
“She was so nice and asking how it was going, and if I had heard of other start-up schemes. She was very supportive.”
Roisin thanked her husband Emmett, her family and friends for their encouragement and support. “I also want to thank the RDC who I contacted regarding my business idea,” said Roisin.
“They gave me further information on the Rural Youth Entrepreneurship programme, which I enrolled on and found it very helpful and beneficial”.
Follow Roisin on Facebook at BowWow Beauty