Boutique growth strategy: Oonagh O'Hagan

Oonagh O'Hagan, Owner and Managing Director at Meagher's Pharmacy Group, talks about falling in love with the original Meagher's shop and choosing an effective growth strategy in a very competitive sector.

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Oonagh O'Hagan, Owner and Managing Director, Meagher's Pharmacy Group


"No matter how bad the problem, we always focus on, where's the opportunity in this, where's the learning in this?"


Oonagh O'HaganMy guest on this podcast is Oonagh O'Hagan, the Owner and Managing Director at Meagher's Pharmacy Group. Today, Meaghers has eight pharmacies in Dublin and Co. Dublin, and it all started with the historical Meagher's pharmacy in Baggot Street.

Oonagh describes her trajectory, from a young pharmacy student falling in love with the shop in Baggot Street during her last year of college, to being at the helm of a fast-growing group in a very competitive sector. Presenting her newly minted business plan at 7am on a Monday morning, to be approved for a huge loan, or learning how to optimise an online shop through setbacks : listen to Oonagh's incredible stories of business growth.

Can you afford it? Or rather, can you afford not to have it?

After incrementally improving all aspects of her pharmacies' retail side, Oonagh knew she had to go online - online shopping is where it's at. However, she soon realised the online shop couldn't just be an add-on to the business : it had to be a priority in its own right.

Learning a completely new set of skills, Oonagh soon realised technology and software couldn't be seen as just costs for her business : technology was part and parcel of her growth strategy. Today Meagher's group has many partnerships with different technology companies, and technology has become a crucial capability in facilitating momentous business decisions.

Let your customers be the driver for business decisions

From the beginning, Meagher's has been customer oriented: from Pierce Meagher's shop in Baggot Street, serving its neighbourhood, Oonagh has kept the ethos of being of service in the community. That's why she puts a very strong emphasis on getting to know her customers better, through paying attention to the data.

Listen to Oonagh as she describes how launching a rewards card allowed Meagher's pharmacies to interact with customers, reinforcing loyalty with more relevant, personal messages. The group even asks customers about stocking new brands and new products.

"Our team wants to be developed, they want to know we're investing in them"

One of the core values of Meagher's group is expertise. Oonagh talks about all the different skills that people cultivate in her pharmacies: pharmacy is a very intense course, in and of itself, but the strategy of Meagher's group doesn't stop at recruiting brilliant pharmacists. The group also offers a lot of different training courses, as well as its own internship programme, on top of the mandatory internship required by the college course.

This focus on developing people feeds into another core value of the group: innovation. In the bigger picture, Meagher's is small in the pharmacy sector, and so they make sure to be different and to push boundaries.


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Additional resources

Follow Oonagh O'Hagan on Twitter, @Oonagh_OHagan

Follow Meaghers Pharmacy on Twitter, @Meagherspharmacy

The Irish International Business Network, IIBN

Listen to my podcast on Managing my energy

Savvy Women Podcast Oonagh OHagan (30.6 MB)Savvy Women Podcast Oonagh OHagan (30.6 MB)

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