• Pauline Kwasniak

When events were cancelled, she had to ADAPT

Rhoda McDonagh is one talented and inspirational female business owner, who like many others in the events industry, has been directly affected by the lockdown.

A few years ago Rhoda's love of designer fashion as well as sustainability, has led her down a very exciting business journey.

DESIGNER ROOM WAS BORN: a high-quality dress rental service, for events and special occasions.

Rhoda has served hundreds of women, who were in a need of a beautiful dress to attend events such as awards, corporate galas, product launches, weddings, elegant birthdays parties and more.

We also used her service a few times, to attend events such as M&I Forum or the prestigious M&IT London - industry awards. It was such a hassle-free service and it was perfect for us as busy professionals, who cared about sustainability but also wanted to feel and look good.

The red dress on the left is from Designerroom.ie

Brilliant, high quality and sustainable fashion service that has gained many new clients.

And then the dreadful Coronavirus came...

So how did Rhoda manage to stay afloat and innovate the business model in order to survive?


"My background was in Marketing in Banking.  I worked with AIB over from nearly 16 years in various departments from sponsorships to youth propositions and finally leading the work on the new brand positioning for EBS (owned by AIB).

Designer Room officially started trading in April 2018 with the year prior in planning and researching phase.  With my background in marketing, I knew my online presence would be key to awareness of my brand and its offering.  So my focus was on the digital journey and touchpoint the customer would engage with were key for me."

"My proudest moments was the first customer who visited the Designer Room showroom and Hired a dress and the many more women that followed.  Secondly the many features on print publications about Designer Room with the highlight been the Sunday Independent Life Magazine, a 4-page feature on me and my business".  


"COVID affected my business big time.  Women hired my dresses to attend events and the entire events industry collapsed overnight which had a knock-on effect on the rental market. I relooked at my business model and adapted to the new normal and people working from home and having more time to declutter their homes.  

I introduced the OUTLET a fun and easy way to sell your preloved fashion online within 60 seconds and it's FREE to sign up" . 

"I recently introduced to the OUTLET products a ‘Make an Offer’, where you can ask the seller for a new price if the price is not right for you.

We have now one platform, a reputable online marketplace where you can buy, sell preloved fashion and hire designer dresses for once-off occasions.  I feel the events industry may take some time to come back fully, 6 months or so, but we do have smaller events like weddings where people can still hire if they wish. Our showroom is by appointment only to view the HIRE collection. "


"We are open for business. If it was not for COVID, the OUTLET would not exist so in one way my business has grown with this crisis. We will continue to look for smarter ways to keep clothes out of the landfill, help our environment and keep clothes in circulation. We are making luxury more sustainable".

Check out the platform at designerroom.ie

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