Coming from 3 generations of entrepreneurs Jackie Mahony Business owner from Melbourne, now has four booming businesses to her name and she hasn't finished yet. After opening her first bar Sabroso in Melbourne's West, too now having her loudly lauded venture The Junction Beer Hall and Wine Room in Newport she is hungry for more. All of her businesses come from a deep passion and a strong vision 'It's my passion for a great customer experience and wine of course, I love what I do and I do what I love"
It's not just the front of house that Ms Mahony is passionate about but it's the back end 'the engine of business excites me, operations, marketing and ensuring the culture of my team is strong it all makes for great business, it's all in the detail, this something I learnt from my Mother"
After growing up with both sides of her family including Grandparents, Uncles, Aunties, Mother and Father all of which were and are successful business owners in Victoria's country town of Wodonga, their family evenings where generally spent working on the books and feverishly developing marketing campaigns. You could definitely say it wasn't your usual upbringing. While most of us where lazing around in the lounge room in our smelly socks after school, Mahony was helping her father stock take at the newsagency and would spend her weekends playing a mean goal defence, to then rushing to visit her Grandparents who were running their corner shop, again you would find Ms Mahony gleefully serving customers 'and eating plenty of chocolates!"
However she did try to keep 'the entrepreneur calling" at bay 'I did actually work in the corporate world for several years" after completing her Bachelors degree in Melbourne Jackie went on to become an Account Manager for one of Australia's Largest Telecommunications companies looking after multimillion dollar contracts with major clients like GE and RACV, but the pull of the small business was just too strong. While others are looking for a change of pace or have a dream of pulling beers all day there are those that are born this way 'It was just a natural step, in fact some would say an undeniable step and something that is in my blood"
Jackie Mahony is a 37 year old entrepreneur based out of Melbourne's West her latest venture the Junction Beer Hall and Wine Room is based in Newport and celebrates everything craft beer and wine – it also stocks the largest selection of beers on that side of the city.
Junction Beer Hall and Wine Room
Address: 15 Hall St, Newport Vic 3015
Established in November 2011, the establishment won runner up Best New Bar in the Age Epicure.
Question: What do you enjoy most about having your own small businesses?
Jackie Mahony: First of all I love going to work every day. As an owner of my businesses I am directly responsible for the outcomes of my own labour. It is also pretty handy to work with food and wine, it's my ideal job!
Question: What originally inspired your passion for businesses in food, alcohol and dinning?
Jackie Mahony: It wasn't something that was quite planned out, as such. It was one of those moments in time; I was in my mid-twenties at the time and working corporately and a really great opportunity came up. When I was young I'd always enjoyed dinning out and drinking (of course)! It was one of those things where the right opportunity comes along at the right time and that's what propelled me, from there.
Question: What was the most difficult part about beginning your first bar, Sabroso in Melbourne's West?
Jackie Mahony: It was pretty funny as we were all quite naive and that's one of the positives of starting a business in your mid-twenties because you are gung-ho and think -we can do this'! The difficult part of journey was when we first opened up the operation it went really well for the first six months and I think that's quite natural with any first business as the locals really try and get behind it and want to check it out. I think what we found was in the first six months we started to rest on our morals a little bit and thought it would continue growing but naturally there is a decline after that if you're not dotting your i's and crossing your t's and making sure you've got the right management team in. The fact that we started off really good and then it declined from there and it took a while to build the business back was the most difficult for us.
Question: How do you go about starting another business whilst maintaining the others?
Jackie Mahony: That was really exciting actually. We had learnt so much from our experiences at Sabroso and what we'd learnt was to do a lot of research on the area first and really try and understand what the product would be that we'd put into the new business. It was exciting because we already had a business which was great but it meant we could learn from all our old mistakes and do it the right way in Newport with the Junction Beer Hall and Wine Room.
Question: Tell us about the Junction Beer Hall and Wine Room:
Jackie Mahony: Junction Beer Hall and Wine Room is fantastic, it's a beer hall and winery which are separate businesses but they're combined by a little hallway so you can walk from the beer hall to the winery and vice versa. The beer hall is fantastic we have new beers with twelve beers on tap and we deal with craft brews and we very much support the Victorian craft brewery industry; it's all about the experience of quality beverages.
I lived in St Kilda for many years and when I moved I found it quite difficult because there wasn't an establishment I could go to for a lovely glass of wine besides my own venue which was one of the calling cards for the Junction. I knew what I was missing in the area as there was no Wine Bar in the West at all and we tried to create an establishment that I would want to go to with quality food and wine with a beautiful intimate experience.
Question: How important is choosing your product?
Jackie Mahony: Absolutely important and the knowledge of our staff is incredibly important, as well. Everyone who works for us loves wine, food and their beer; the service that you get cross counter is knowledgeable and friendly service.
Question: How important is a vision when creating a business including naming the venue?
Jackie Mahony: It's interesting you ask because sometimes you can just feel right about something and the Junction Beer Hall and Wine Room was previously called the Junction Hotel and it was an old establishment that goes back to 1852 and it's seen many different transformations and we didn't want to lose sight of what it had going for it in regards to history because it's a known pub in the area and it certainly had its fair share of troubles; we wanted to keep the name but create a solid land. We were keen about beer and wine so Beer Hall and Wine Room just flowed quite nicely from there.
Question: How did your upbringing help you become an entrepreneur?
Jackie Mahony: It's interesting I certainly remember play -shops' in my room at home and I was heavily involved with all facets of the family business, growing up.
I have come to realise that I always knew I would work for myself, as it was what came naturally, I just wasn't sure what field it would end up being in.
I initially had a calling into the corporate world where I made good money which allowed me to save and have the ability to begin my own business, in the beginning. When I was working in the corporate world I worked long hours and I'd often work over the weekend and at nights and I'd ask myself -I work very hard but why am I doing this for somebody else, why aren't I doing this for myself'?
Question: What's a typical day like, for you?
Jackie Mahony: It varies a lot! The only typical day I have is on a Monday because that's the day that both the businesses are closed and I do a lot of my book work such as the financial analysis of the business on a Monday. It's better to understand a business when everything is closed and I don't get interrupted. The rest of the week can change, it's never standard because fridges could break down or staffing problems or we could just be mad busy and I've got to jump behind the bar and help out. There is never a standard day which is good because it keeps it interesting.
Question: What advice do you have for other women looking at buying or beginning their own business?
Jackie Mahony: There are a great amount of positives and I love it. I think that first of all I have to say that running your own business is really hard slog especially on the weekends in the hospitality industry. The main thing is that you have to be prepared to put in the hours and the dedication to get it off the ground and if anyone expects to have their weekends to themselves it's not going to happen in the early days. It's a matter of being dedicated to put in the hours and certainly taking a bit of time out to have a bit of clarity around what you're doing. You live and breathe the business so you need to throw yourself into it.
Interview by Brooke Hunter