“I am extremely happy in my life more than I have ever been before,” says Danielle Ryan smiling. “It could be an age element where I am happy with me, my marriage and my 2 kids.” Naturally, with the successful launch of her lifestyle brand, Roads, in the UK as well as in Germany, Russia and the US, the Irish has to be. “I quite like the idea that a similar type of customers would be bumping into Roads at lots of places and say I recognize that name,” says Ms. Ryan about her brand, which consists of 3 companies: a publishing house, a fragrance house and a film production company.
Ms. Ryan is the granddaughter of Tony Ryan, founder of Ryanair. Since childhood, she has been passionate about the theatre. After her studies at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), she set up its equivalent in Dublin: The Lir - National Academy of Dramatic Art. “It was a very interesting learning curve for me, because you are sitting in a board room with a lot of university entities and saying this is the idea that I want and it is something that they have not done before trying to get them to think differently.” In 2009, she did a 3 year project for the UN and UNICEF to rebuild 4 major towns in Sri Lanka after the civil war ended in memory of her father who was a pilot there in the 70’s.
Here, Playing Fashion talks to the industrious Ms. Ryan about the work ethics and believes that enable her success today, how three becomes one in Roads and last but not least, how she balances her family and work life.
My taste can be quite unisex in that way. The work ethics were huge - work hard in school and be diligent. You can’t make excuses for why not doing something. You can only rely on yourself. My family would concentrate on something and be very honest and real about your approach to everything. Then you have the entrepreneurial element of my family saying, “You can create something, you can try and put it on a bigger platform”. That’s a nice way of thinking things are possible and have this element of “Why not?”
This brand has ideas and a personality and there’s different ways to express that personality. With the 3 different companies, you always know what is on our minds and you can be a part of the journey.
but at the same time, I’m not doing it for nothing. It has to be a sound investment, so there were measured risks. You made sure the growth is steady and makes sense and then you have the integrity to stick to that vision and be very clear about that vision. If your vision is good enough, everything else should fall into place. If I have to push it too hard or if I have to spend too much money on it, something is wrong.
The job is to be a problem solver. You are supposed to enjoy the challenge and not to panic. It’s good not to follow what everyone else’s doing. You can’t regret the mistakes because it is all a learning process. People have such a negative view of mistakes like that. Some of the best business people in the world say you’re not going to have a company unless you have a couple of failed attempts - to know that feeling and why it went wrong.
When my second child was born, I was saying: “I have to find a way that makes it work for both.” I hope as my kids grow older, they become a part of the research with me and we all learn about certain topics together. I am very adamant about the time I spend with them, it is very sacred. It has to be this holistic approach. I will bring them to things and show them everything.
Photography by Paul Whitfield; styling by Marilia Chamon; hair and make-up by Fiona Barry. Location: Selfridges, London. With special thanks to Morgan at Intertrade and Eleanor at Selfridges.
Opening Image: jumpsuit and shoes by Joseph.