Sunday 20 August 2017

Making your mind up on tying the knot

Teacher Brendan Quinn and cosmetics firm boss Jane Swarbrigg share a love of music, fitness and family

Brendan Quinn and Jane Swarbrigg met via a mutual friend and plan to marry in 2018. Photo: David Conachy
Brendan Quinn and Jane Swarbrigg met via a mutual friend and plan to marry in 2018. Photo: David Conachy
Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

Brendan Quinn proposed to Jane Swarbrigg recently, but had to kind of let her in on his plans as they both lead such busy lives. "Something happened every time I tried to organise a weekend away, so I decided to just do it at home in Castleknock," he says, adding that his head was "wrecked" with the stress of trying to make it happen. "I decorated the apartment while Jane was out and had candles and flowers all over the place."

Brendan is a teacher who plays sports and is in a band, while Jane is brand manager for Inglot Cosmetics Ireland. She jokes that there was a bit of push/pull going on initially, as she gave him a bit of a nudge in the direction of getting engaged after they had been dating about a year and he slightly pulled away, initially.

"Women think about marriage early on but it never even crossed my mind," admits Brendan. "I only thought about sports, music, work or going out with Jane or the lads. Then when she began mentioning engagement and marriage, I started thinking, and once we decided we were going to go for it, I was really happy."

On the night in question, Jane came home from work to a beautifully-decorated apartment and a lovely proposal. "I was sending Brendan all of these signals so all my prayers worked," she laughs. "I had a good idea it was going to happen that night, because it's impossible to surprise me as I'm the planner in the relationship. It was lovely and we're so happy and relaxed now, and we hope to get married in early 2018."

Brendan and Jane are both 34 and they met in January 2013 when introduced by a mutual friend, Eoin. As Brendan is from Belfast, Jane admits that she "couldn't really understand a word he said" during their first dinner date, but she liked his accent and his determination and passion around sport - he was previously on the Antrim hurling team. She also found him very attractive, and liked that he has really strong family roots and loves his heritage and culture.

"I was also attracted to Jane straight away, and was very impressed that she was running her own business," says Brendan. "She is really driven, and is very happy, positive and nice to be around, because she puts you in a good mood. When I met her family, I loved that they were all so close as that reminded me of my own family."

Brendan is the second-eldest of Kathleen and Raymond's four children, three of whom are teachers. He studied Irish at Queen's University, and now teaches at Chanel College in Coolock. Jane is from Mullingar, and is the daughter of Geraldine and Tommy Swarbrigg. Her mum always worked in retail and brought the brands Vero Moda and Aldo Shoes to Ireland.

Her dad Tommy is a well-known musician and promoter, so the fact that Brendan plays guitar and sings with the traditional band Tonnta was a bonus to music-loving Jane. While the band has just started off, they are already getting a lot of good offers so it's going the right way.

After completing a PR and event management course, Jane lived in Spain for a couple of years. She then worked as a visual merchandiser for four years with Monsoon and Accessorize, before going to Australia for a year and managing a clothes store there. She came back to Ireland in 2007 and went into business with her mum and younger brother Peter when they launched Inglot Cosmetics Ireland. They opened their first store in June 2007 in Liffey Valley.

"Inglot is a Polish company and I had seen it in Australia," says the bubbly Jane. "My mum has great business experience and was looking for a new venture, and we felt there was something really attractive about Inglot. She met with the franchise people and it all came together in the space of two or three months. I came back and did a make up course, as I wanted to get to know the business a bit better."

The family has 13 cosmetics shops now and an online store, and is going from strength to strength. As well as being brand manager, Jane is involved in hiring, training, HR and marketing. Peter is the financial developer and business adviser, and Geraldine is involved in signing the leases and finding new locations.

With so many outlets and staff, Jane's life is hectic, particularly as the company regularly does weekend roadshows to places where there isn't a store - yet! The latest one has just opened in Waterford and they would like to expand in the North. They have also just launched their autumn range, What a Spice, which is going down a storm.

"I work really closely with the teams, and we look for warm and friendly girls with skill and talent," says Jane. "We want them to enjoy coming to work, where they can be creative and do what they love. Our aim is that coming into the shops is a great experience for customers, so our girls are really approachable and well-educated on the products."

Such great responsibility can be stressful, but Jane says Brendan has helped her to relax, and they both enjoy working out. "We don't argue much, but when we do, it's insane because I'm very dramatic and he's very fiery," she says. "I love that he is very manly as I'm very girly, and I feel very safe with him because he is so protective and he's a gentleman. I tend to have work on the brain at all times, but Brendan has taught me balance and he mellows me out."

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