RSVP Magazine

RSVP Businesswoman of the Week: Neola Killeen of Neola Apparel


Malahide-based Neola Apparel is run and owned by Neola Killeen, who worked as a buyer at Brown Thomas for over 20 years. The shop aims to offer the most sought-after trends, as well as niche and exclusive brands, at the most competitive prices…..

Where it all began:

Fashion has always been a part of me, you know you are in the right career when “work does not feel like work” – it’s a joy! My background is as a fashion Buyer in Brown Thomas and then a career move to Arnotts totalling 15 years.  In 2005, I decided to open an 1800 sqft store in the heart of Malahide as I felt the market needed a unique quirky buying experience. Due to its success, a year later, a 2000 sqft store in Dundalk was established.

The biggest challenge to date:

No one stands out, as each day brings individual/different challenges, which must be addressed. Keeping up with customer demands & expectations, fast moving stock, ensuring daily deliveries, staffing etc… & each are as important as the next. And then there is family, juggling family life with retail stores that only close 2 days a year proves difficult.

But if I had to choose the biggest challenge it would probably be working through a tough recession. That said looking back, it was an invaluable learning experience & it brought the best out in me & my team.

Where my motivation stems from…

My motivation comes naturally from the love of the industry. Travel, International Fashion Weeks and Happy Customers all create my motivation.

When I can help a customer put together the perfect outfit, or introduce her to a brand or look that makes her love how she looks in the mirror, or help her find that special thing she’s been searching for, that is my favorite experience! It still makes me happy inside – my Namaste!

We sell fashion at Neola Apparel…but what I really hope to give our customers is confidence.  I want every woman who comes in to leave with the confidence that what she just bought looks GREAT on her & show her how to use it in the future.

The best business advice I can offer is…

Everything begins and ends with the customer, that is why I still work the shop floor every day to ensure that every customer that walks through the door is treated equally & well looked after without feeling the dreaded obligation to buy.

Work hard to succeed, a true cliché!

If I was Minister for Enterprise I would…

Try to some how introduce less tiered bureaucracies for SME’s. It’s hard to believe in this modern day that all Ltd Companies are treated the same regardless of their turnover…




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