STUNNING model Catherine Keane realised a life-long dream on Friday as she opened brand new boutique La Fashionista on Market Street.
The Finuge native and former Andrea Roche Agency model said the response so far has been fantastic and hopes to establish the business as a permanent fixture in a town already famed as a fashion leader in Munster thanks to its many famous boutiques.
"It's just something I've wanted to do my whole life and I finally took the plunge despite many people warning me against it in these difficult times!"
If anyone can make it work, Catherine can. A former Best Dressed Lady at Listowel Races (in 2010), she worked part-time for a number of years as an Andrea Roche model and is well known to viewers of Ireland AM; modelling on its fashion slot on a regular basis. She has also worked in Brown Thomas and a range of other top outlets in her time with the agency and has developed a keen sense of the Irish fashion market.
Research suggested there is a gap in the market for La Fashionista, she told The Kerryman.
"What I'm trying to do is offer a space which caters for both mothers and daughters under one roof in town, I think there is a gap in the market for that," she said. "Mothers and daughters can come in together and find something suitable for all ages for occasions, from communions to the Races. Listowel has a fantastic fashion sector and I certainly hope to add to it all.
"I'm obviously very conscious of the economic circumstance but I think that by offering quality and reasonable prices the business will be there. It's going to take me up to a year to suss out who my customers are exactly and to get a strong sense of what they are looking for, of course."
Trade is in her blood after all, having grown up in Houlihan's shop at the cross in Finuge. She has her own family now who are of massive support - husband Pádraig, daughter Isobel and son Sean. "They are of fantastic support, but they haven't seen much of me in the past week I'm afraid with all the preparations!"