RSVP Magazine

Women in Business: Jessica Higgins, Marketing Executive EZ Living Furniture

Jessica Higgins is Marketing Executive in EZ Living Furniture, one of Ireland’s leading Irish Furniture and Interior Retailers. Established in 1998, EZ Living Furniture is opening its tenth store nationwide this month, as the Irish-owned family business goes from strength to strength in a competitive industry. Here Jessica gives us a unique insight into her Marketing career and life as a young woman in the world of business. 

Where it all began…

I was born in London and we moved to Galway at the age of 14 as my parents wanted to come home to be near the rest of our family.  It took a while to adjust to the ‘country’ lifestyle as I had gone to school in Essex, so Oranmore was a bit of a culture shock to say the least! Having attended a drama school in London I always had a passion for dancing and drama, so I threw myself into Performing Arts and other activities as a way of making new friends in Galway. I worked part-time from the age of 15 and was used to juggling many jobs from a young age, to be honest it’s something my parents always encouraged me to do. There is no better feeling than earning your own money and being able to buy the things you want! At 17 I moved to Dublin to complete my degree in Media Management and then back to Galway three years later to do a Masters in Journalism.

jess new

Where did you go from there?

I graduated in 2008, probably the worst possible time as it was entering the height of the economic downturn, so once I finished my six month work placement in the Galway Advertiser I felt pretty much lost for the first time in my life. From the day you start primary school, there is a journey mapped out for you but no-one ever prepares you for the feeling of when you finish college. I had always assumed I would just fall straight into a media job, but that couldn’t have been further from reality. I started applying for jobs everywhere and got a job in Brown Thomas as a sales assistant and makeup artist with Laura Mercier, once I completed my makeup training I went on to work with MAC Cosmetics for two years.

I began marketing…

Although I loved working as a makeup artist, the retail industry was starting to get to me, I had a two year old daughter and the unsociable hours meant I was missing out on weekends, Christmases etc. I also couldn’t help but think about the five years I spent in college, so with that I decided to start applying for jobs. In January 2012, I got offered an internship with H+A Marketing and PR and accepted it, as I felt it was going to be the best way to get my foot in the door in the Marketing Industry with very little experience. I kept my MAC job on a Saturday and worked in the Marketing Agency Monday to Friday.

The biggest challenge to date…

My biggest challenge was leaving a full time paying job in Brown Thomas for an unpaid internship. It was a massive risk as I wasn’t guaranteed a job at the end but I was so determined to prove myself that failure wasn’t an option. Somehow we managed to pay rent, childcare and student loans over the course of the internship but when I look back I have no idea how. This just proves that anything can be achieved with hard work and willpower. I stayed in H+A Marketing for three and a half years, from there I went onto work as Assistant Brand Manager in Lifes2good and then onto my current role in EZ Living Furniture.

Where my motivation stems from…

Within EZ Living Furniture, my motivation comes from marketing products in an industry that I have a passion for. I absolutely adore interior design and to be able to say I work with it is a bonus. I could literally spend hours on Pinterest looking for inspiration and our own EZ Living Pinterest account is fantastic for creative and achievable ideas. I think it is very easy to be motivated in something you enjoy and I am always flicking through interior magazines, so directing and coordinating interior photoshoots for EZ Living comes naturally to me and I can genuinely say I love my job! I am also very blessed to work with a fantastic Marketing Team and I believe that the achievements of a business are the results of the combined effort of each team member.

The best business advices I can offer is…

Be confident within yourself and don’t change who you are because you feel that you must be a certain way to succeed in business. I try not to get stressed out as I feel that it doesn’t achieve anything or get work done any more effectively than by staying calm. Don’t be afraid to ask for opportunities, it shows enthusiasm and determination. Also, there’s nothing wrong in asking, I would rather ask a hundred questions than make a mistake. By asking the right question, even if you think it’s ‘stupid,’ could save you a lot of in the long run.

EZ living Logo

The biggest challenge your business is facing…

Our biggest challenge as a business is keeping up with the rapid growth of the brand, EZ Living is expanding very quickly and we need to constantly adapt to the ever-changing market. Adopting the latest technologies to ensure that we are at the forefront of customer service is something we have prioritised over the last 12 months. This has meant expanding our marketing and customer service teams and improving our online shopping experience. Never underestimate the power of digital marketing, this is the way the industry is moving so we understand that our business needs to move with the times!

If I was Minister for Enterprise I would…

Add vocational training into schools and colleges so that students are more prepared for the working world and focused on their career path when they finish college. I would also encourage more graduates to stay in the country or come home after a year or two of travelling, the education in Ireland is fantastic but most of our students move away after college so we don’t get the benefits of their knowledge and expertise.

What I love most about my work…

Every day is different! There is absolutely no chance of getting bored in EZ Living as we are constantly looking ahead at new ways to grow the brand. It really motivates me to work in such an exciting and fast-growing company and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the business.

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