Serial entrepreneur Lisa McMahon
INFLATABLE pubs, outdoor cinema screens and Christmas jerseys for sports fans have all brought success and orders to serial entrepreneur Lisa McMahon, an County Limerick woman who has made Newry her home.
And that success has brought the Abbeyfeale woman media coverage in the Huffington Post, NBC New York, the Belfast Telegraph and, last year, an interview with the prestigious Forbes magazine.
Now Lisa has embarked on a new mission, to banish embarrassment and blushes for brides on their wedding day. She has invented a clever slip which will allow brides to “spend a penny” without help from their bridesmaids or, even worse, from hotel staff.
The idea came to Lisa following a hen party she attended last autumn where the talk had turned to the difficulties of coping with a bridal gown through a long day and evening.
“We were joking about having a bridesmaid to go to the toilet and it came from that,” Lisa explained.
She went away and designed a simple but ingenious bridal slip, with drawstrings which allows the bride to roll the dress up without difficulty. Made of tulle, Lisa produced a number of samples and sales have been taking off since.
So far, the majority of sales are online from abroad but bridal shops are putting in orders and bridal magazines and blogs are beginning to notice. The slip however, Lisa pointed out, can be used on other social occasions where unwieldy dresses are called for, such as formal evening wear or debs dresses and it can even be scaled to suit a Holy Communion dress.
Meanwhile, Lisa is already gearing up for Christmas and another of her best-selling ideas. Last year, her Christmas jersey designs went viral and sold out and she is preparing for even more demand this year. The jerseys are aimed at sports fans.
“We have Lapland Rovers, Lapland Gaels and Lapland RFC and working on American football, baseball and hockey brands,” Lisa explained. “We have already started taking orders for this year and have been working with several clubs on their own personal designs.”
Lisa, who is married to Tony Winters and has three sons, is the daughter of Barry and Elizanne McMahon from Abbeyfeale.
Her business sense was sparked early through going to greyhound and racing tracks to help her bookmaker dad and working in local shops and bars. Twenty five years ago, Lisa headed to New York and it was that experience of being away from home that is now driving the Irish theme behind a number of her business ventures.
“I have always wanted to work for myself and develop the ideas I have,” she explained.
Her first venture was an inflatable Irish pub, which she began renting out for events but she has since expanded the range and sells them internationally.
Her original Irish MAC pub remains the firm favourite however and was used for the VIPs at last year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago.