An Athlone native has been shortlisted for the prestigious IMAGE businesswoman of the year accolade. Catherine Kiveney, who operates her online businesses, TheHen.ie, TheStag.ie, DivorcePartyIdeas.ie and ForTheCraic.ie, in Monksland Business Park, will attend the annual awards ceremony to take place in the Clayton Hotel, Dublin, on Monday, November 25.
Working within the dynamic business sphere since 2010, Catherine’s work aspirations commenced within the confines of her sitting room as dreams came to realisation when she started her own company ‘Belles and Blazers’.
In 2011, ‘Belles and Blazers’ became the number two hen party planning company in the country and noting the potential, Catherine (who was in alternative full-time hotel employment at the time ), gave of her spare hours complete dedication to developing and enhancing her business model.
“After working in the hotel it was family time with my three year old old daughter until her bedtime when I would start my second job working into the late hours every night. I was a single mother and it was a very lonely time but I was completely engrossed, all I could think about were hen parties. I needed that drive and passion at the start to be able to put the work in and ultimately become successful,” Catherine enthused.
In May 2014, Catherine decided to part with her full-time employment, as her business continued to grow and flourish.
“I established a sister company offering hen party activities all over Ireland. These activities began with the now famous ‘Draw A Nude’ activity. I noticed that hen parties were looking for a fun version of life drawing, so I created something fun and affordable with a pinch of competition.
“This idea became the blueprint for all subsequent activities with a new activity being added each year. There are currently eight activities offered to groups all over Ireland, including CSI:Save the Groom, Treasure Hunt, Mrs. Doyle and Her Grannies, Finding Ted:The Father Ted Experience, In It To Win it, Battle of the Bridesmaids andThe Cube!,” Catherine commented.
As the business continued to thrive, Catherine founded DivorcePartyIdeas.ie in 2015. It became, and remains, Ireland’s only divorce party company.
“This idea was born after a very embarrassed lady called looking for information on our packages for a divorce party. It was then I realised that there was no relevant ideas available for people looking to celebrate after such a massive life change and so divorcepartyideas.ie was born,” Catherine added.
Earlier this year, another business idea came to fruition with the launch of ForTheCraic.ie, which offers interactive and fun team-building activities to companies all over Ireland.
“It is a market that was already coming to us on a regular basis through word of mouth, so it was the logical next step,” Catherine noted.
“Over the years I have learned so much as outsourcing or hiring was not an option. I had to teach myself each step as it came up along the way. If I could return to the beginning, I would push for more financial supports.
“Being a single mother to a very active toddler was tough, the guilt of leaving your daughter so you can work is something that I cannot describe, but I had no choice. I knew I was putting all this work in so eventually I could work for myself and be my own boss.
“Now I take days off when needed with no one to answer to but myself. I have given myself permission to have a good work life balance. Would I do it again? Yes. Though, I feel I did it the hard way, I would love to start again with my knowledge now, then again, who wouldn’t?,” Catherine concluded.
A mark of Catherine’s business acumen and enthusiasm is the open plan office in Monksland Business Park from which the company now operates. There are two members of full-time staff in the office and an additional fifteen people on the road hosting activities every weekend in excess of six hundred bookings per year.