tv3 Midweek panellist, entrepreneur, and busy mum of three, Fiona McLoughlin has started up an online business offering unique gifts and packages.
Gift Encounters is the brainchild of the Rathangan based business woman, who is already a well known media contributor and the face behind privateseller.ie Fiona is very comfortable with the world of online commerce.
“It’s what I know. Online is the way to go and you have to know social media as well. This business is more streamlined. We send out brochures but most of our promotion is done online. We don’t have any products to be boxed up or any production to carry out. If people want vouchers, we send them out. We’ve got a great reaction so far, ” she explained.
The business was launched on the George Lee show just a few weeks ago. Gift Encounters range from one-to-one sessions with a Michelin Star Chef, to a group of stags or hens being escorted around a racecourse, or getting introduced to champion jockeys and trainers at a big race meeting. The list is as varied and eclectic as the interests of the people for whom a gift encounter is purchased. One of the most high profile packages on offer is a chance to attend the World Snooker Championship final with Ken Doherty which includes access all areas during the final on May 6 and 7. It also includes exclusive access to the players bar and an evening meal with Ken himself. This will set you back n2,000, however, Fiona points out that the tickets for the final alone normally cost close to that figure.
Other packages are less pricey. A one to one baking master class with The Odlum’s lady, Catherine Leyden will cost n150 in Dublin, Kildare/Meath or n300 anywhere else in the country.
A one-hour class to develop a customised ten-minute exercise programme with trainer to the stars, Paul Byrne is priced at n135. Paul has trained Keith Duffy, Westlife, Rosanna Davison, and Brian Kennedy to name but a few.
“With the recession, a lot of charities have had to cancel balls or fundraising events because they can’t afford to run them, but they may still have a celebrity who has supported them and is still willing to auction their time for the charity. We can provide a platform so that they can sell their package off to the highest bidder. I am in talks with Austism Action Ireland with regard to getting a package involving Stephen Gerard organised so we can provide a service to charities as well,” she explained.
Fiona’s husband Bernard Healy is from Kilcullen and Fiona manages to juggle her home life with running privateseller.ie, giftencounters.com and her other media work as well as being a mum to Ryan (8) Erin (6) and Freya (4).