Peek inside entrepreneur Patricia Molloy's elegant 1960's house
Entrepreneur Patricia Molloy grew up in Dundalk where her family have an undertaking business, yet now she helps people to feel more youthful and alive.
Our vernacular is peppered with cliches - sayings like 'travel broadens the mind' and quotes like Blanche DuBois's final line from A Streetcar Named Desire, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers" - which some of us use so often they tend to have little value.
However, the reason they are oft quoted is because so many are so true, as entrepreneur Patricia Molloy could tell you.
The idea for her beauty business germinated when she was travelling, on holiday in the States. It was as a result of a chance meeting with some friendly doctors in Atlanta, a southern city like New Orleans, where Streetcar is set. The South seems to be a place where strangers are kind. "We were visiting my brother-in-law, who lives in Atlanta. I was out walking one day, and I saw this clinic being worked on. They were putting up signs and I went in and I asked them what they were doing. They were really, really nice; it was a medical clinic and they told me they were having training the next day and I'd be very welcome to come down. They were so open and so giving, and I did go down the next day," Patricia recalls.
It was the seed for Patricia's new business, The Derma Clinic in Blackrock, Co Dublin, which she opened in 1999 and which is still going strong - just last month, she won the award for Best Skin Clinic Ireland at the Image Business Of Beauty awards.
Of course, opening a medical-style skin clinic wasn't a totally random decision - Patricia, who hails from Dundalk, where her family are well known for their undertaking business, had, after all, trained as a nurse. "My family own Rogers Undertakers, and I did toy with going into the business, but my dad wasn't ready to retire. My sister Rosemary runs it now," she says. "In those days, girls either did nursing or teaching - I used to work in the old Louth Hospital as a carer during the school holidays, and I got a feel for nursing."
As a result, she opted for nursing and trained in Temple Street, which was a bit of shock at first. "I remember one of my first patients was a baby six months old who had been stabbed by the father. I was 17, 18, green from the country, I'd never seen anything like this. I was stunned. I remember thinking, 'Is this what happens in the real world?'"
Nonetheless, Patricia continued her training and grew to love the children's nursing. She then did her general nursing in St Vincent's Hospital, where she got extensive training in all areas and was kept on after qualifying. She became a ward sister and a nurse tutor, and continued working there after her marriage to Michael, who also hails from Dundalk, and the arrival of their two children Patrick, now a commercial pilot, and Irene, who is in sales and marketing.
In 1990, she started to get itchy feet, and, at the time, a GP friend introduced her to friends of his who were opening a nursing home. She joined them in the business and ran the nursing home for them. The first was quickly followed by a second, and she stayed in that business for about ten years. "I enjoyed working with old people; I felt very privileged to be able to do that. I had ten good years. Eventually I sold out to the two guys, and I took six months off to consider my options," Patricia notes.
That was when she came across the Atlanta clinic and the whole area of medical aesthetics. "At the clinic, I met professor Bob Weiss, who was the professor of dermatology in Johns Hopkins at the time. He was giving the training, and I did the training. He was setting up a course in Baltimore, it was a laser course and some dermatology, and I did that with him there and some more training in the UK. Then I came back and opened our first clinic in August 1999," Patricia says.
Some time later, she opened a clinic in Tallaght, but closed that two years ago, as the lease was up. She now concentrates purely on Blackrock; she opened her current premises on Rock Road, Blackrock eight years ago. Ever since she started, Patricia has been developing and expanding the range of treatments on offer. "What we were doing in 1999 and what we're doing now; it's hard to believe the changes that have occurred in this field," she notes.
The range of treatments includes all types of laser - for hair removal, for rosacea, broken veins, leg veins - as well as liposuction, Botox and fillers. "Skin is really our business. I want people to look the best they can for them. Good practice is slowing down the aging process, improving skin function. Sometimes Botox is what a woman needs, but I look at the whole picture. There's no point in Botox if the rest of the skin isn't good," Patricia explains, adding, "it's about improving people's skin, that's my passion."
Many people who undergo the kind of treatments Patricia is offering don't admit they get them done, but not Patricia. She admits to using Botox regularly, she's had fillers, and thread lifts, which she says is like a face lift without having to undergo surgery. "Everything I provide in the clinic, I have had done," she says. "I won't recommend anything to anyone unless I've had it and know it works, because not everything works."
She enthuses about new treatments which apparently are being developed all the time - the latest are small threads you can pop into the skin, "they're like scaffolding for the skin" Patricia enthuses, adding that fillers are her favourite treatment - "it's like sculpting the face".
It's obvious her clients like the treatments, too - when she moved into her current premises on Rock Road eight years ago, she was able to buy it.
She works full-time, so fortunately her home is nearby in Dalkey. It's the family's third house. They started in Cabinteely, then moved to Killiney, but given that her husband Michael is from the seaside - Blackrock, Co Louth - they were keen to be near the sea and were thrilled when they got the opportunity to buy in Dalkey 15 years ago.
A four-bedroomed detached house dating from the 1960s, it had been used by British Airways for their executives and so was, according to Patricia, very nondescript. It needed work, so they moved in to get a feel for what needed to be done, and then moved out to allow the builders to effect the changes.
Renovations included creating a bigger kitchen and a spacious hall, and installing an en suite in the master bedroom. Most of all, it needed colour and texture and interesting pieces of furniture. "It was a bland house that had never been loved," Patricia notes.
Patricia changed all that and transformed it into a delightful, elegant house with interesting pieces of furniture. More than that, it's the kind that one would be delighted to return to after a hard day's work. The kind of home of which Patricia - if she were given to uttering cliches - might well say, 'there's no place like home'.
Edited by Mary O'Sullivan.
Photography by Tony Gavin
Sunday Indo Life Magazine