Identical twins, identical tastes
Fashionable twins Margaret Gallagher and Mary McSweeney of Les Jumelles (French for 'twins') in Galway have managed to survive trading at the exclusive end of a recession-hit market.
The builders' wives may have gone off the radar – and those who can afford to buy a four-figure leather jacket and designer dresses don't always want to advertise it too loudly – but the sisters press on, bringing their shared vision of contemporary fashion to customers at their boutique on Upper Abbeygate Street.
After 15 years in business, the twins are armed with a single-minded approach to buying and a joint confidence that lets them go with their gut feeling.
Margaret and Mary talk 24/7.
"We can ring each other 10 times a day; sometimes it's business, sometimes it's family, but more often than not, it's about fashion," says Mary.
"You have feelings of pressure from the recession over the years; talking about bills and trying to get through it, but we try to set aside time when it comes to talking family. And we holiday together with our kids, who are the same age," adds Margaret, who commutes from Dublin.
Though identical, they admit to having different personalities in the shop.
"We have different strengths that complement us both, and the girls in the shop find us different to work with," says Mary.
Dressing identically was instilled into the sisters as kids, and now, inevitably, they share the same tastes – a mix of classic and contemporary with a twist.
You could spot them at events in Dublin and Galway on the same day and they will be wearing the same outfit, but without having discussed it with each other.
It's a very individualistic fashion vision multiplied by two that has helped keep these twins on the upward curve in an industry where curves are everything.