Friday, 4 December 2015

Exclusive Interview With Cocoa Brown Stephanie O'Quigley

Anyone that knows me knows I'm obsessed with strong Irish women and Stephanie O'Quigley is one of those people. Since graduating from IT Tallaght in 2013 where she studied advertising and marketing Stephanie has gone on to start her own and in my opnion one of Ireland's leading blogs www.snappedup.ie (a website where I take a lot of inspiration from) and also working as marketing manager for one of Ireland's strongest companies Marisa Carter's Cocoa Brown Tan.
 For me, working for Cocoa Brown and being under Marisa's guidance everyday would be a dream come true and that's no different to Stephanie, who in herself is an inspiration just like Marisa.
   I couldn't believe my luck when Stephanie agreed to an interview where we chatted all things college, blogging and Cocoa Brown, I hope you enjoy :)

 Like I said in the intro Stephanie studied advertising and marketing in IT Tallaght and it was obviously the perfect decision for her, I know full well being in my first year of college that making the right course decision can be one of the hardest things a student will have to do but the course in IT Tallaght gave Stephanie the option to rule out what she liked and what she didn't,
 ''I really didn’t know what I wanted to do at the time and the course at IT Tallaght really held a lot of various options and routes. I studied media, marketing, radio & TV production, event management, PR and more. It gave me an insight into a lot of different industries and as a result, I was able to decipher what I liked and didn’t like after being exposed to such a wide variety of topics and career paths. Sometimes, knowing that you don’t want to do something is just as valuable as knowing what you are passionate about. ''

When it comes to first year in college I think we can all be as 'dippy' as each other and not make the most of our time in college, it's something we've never experienced before and sometimes it takes someone who's gone through college to tell us what to appreciate, Stephanie advises us to have fun but to remember that we're all in competition with each other, especially in this industry,
''Soak it all up! Although college is about having fun too, be sure to network and take advantage of opportunities if you want to stand out from the crowd when enter the rat race for job. At the end of the day, your college peers are your competition.

Any extra experiences or projects you can get involved in will not only develop your skillset and teach you about yourself in general, it will also adds to your CV which is important in when you’re applying for jobs in the future.
Also, don’t worry if you’re still unsure of what field you’d like to work in. Be patient and try out new things until you find something you’re really good at. ''

  In 2012 Stephanie set up her blog, http://www.snappedup.ie/ which trust me when I say you need to check out and every since her career has gone from strength to strength 
' I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t launch SnappedUp.ie, I put so much time, energy and effort into blogging but it’s such a passion of mine it definitely doesn’t feel like work.

Blogging changed my life because I got my first ‘real world’ job out of it. If you told me 3 years ago I would be the Marketing Manager for Cocoa Brown Tan, a job I love, I wouldn’t have believed you. For that reason alone, I am ever grateful that I decided to start SnappedUp.ie but it has also given me a space to grow my skills which complement my job at Cocoa Brown too.'

Having a blog, in my opinion is one of the greatest things in the world and Stephanie loves blogging because she gets to teach herself and is always moving forward,
''The best part of having a blog is that I learn so many new skills by just teaching myself. I also love meeting new people and pushing myself to do things I normally wouldn’t do. In the long term, I would love to maintain SnappedUp.ie as a way of documenting my life and an expression of who I am. I also hope it will help me continue grow my skillset and creativity and provide me with a communications outlet for my writing.''

Most people like Stephanie get into blogging whilst in college and for anyone like myself (a media and PR student in Carlow IT) who wants to break into the media industry it's the perfect place to start,
''Firstly, I got into blogging while in college studying media, PR and event management because I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do. I just knew I loved to write, read and had an interested in both fashion and beauty and so, SnappedUp.ie was born. From there I was given the opportunity to work at Cocoa Brown and have learnt so much more about advertising, branding and the marketing industry in general.

My advice would be to cling on to what interests you most. Even if you are studying something you are not necessarily interested in, use your spare time to develop your skills and interest in the areas that excite you. Take a part time class or hobby that will help you meet like-minded people and increase your knowledge as best you can.''

Cocoa Brown..... I was in like a hawk. Working for a huge successful brand like Cocoa
Brown is a dream of mine and it was for Stephanie too, she tells me she began with the brand after meeting owner of Cocoa Brown's Marisa Carter at a blogger event,
''I met Marissa, Cocoa Brown CEO, at a blogger event she was hosting back in 2012. I got chatting to her about what I was doing in college, my own blog and my interest areas. Shortly after our initial meeting, she advertised that she was looking for a intern and the timing was perfect ; I was just finishing up my exams and was looking for a job. I met again with Marissa and the rest is history!''

And as for working with the Queen Marissa Carter??? '' You just don’t get used to it! I have watched the brand and Marissa grow in the past 3 years at Cocoa Brown. It’s a rollercoaster when you start with such a small/new brand and I have been lucky enough to experience a lot more than what a typical Marketing Manager usually experiences!

Marissa has given me so much opportunity with Cocoa Brown and thus has allowed me to grow quite fast within my position at the brand. Because I work so closely with Marissa, I am lucky enough to experience her lessons, inspiration and learn from her knowledge on a daily basis. She continues to amaze me and I will be ever grateful for her belief in me from day one, as cheesy as that sounds!'

 Everyone knows what I'm talking about when I say the word Cocoa Brown and it's even gone as far as the Kardashians with Kylie Jenner recently instagramming a picture of the now world famous tan, there are no two days the same when working with Cocoa Brown 
''Two days are really never the same. We are a very fast paced brand ; I could be on a plane in the morning or perhaps have one of the biggest celebrities in the world Tweet about Cocoa Brown and end up losing 2 days of sleep!

We thrive on ‘the best time is now’ and what can be done today will not be left until tomorrow. The excitement of working in a company like Cocoa Brown is rare. I won’t lie when I say I am excited to get to the office and get started and find leaving a bit of a struggle!''

 Having achieved so much in her life I ask Stephanie if there is anything LEFT in this world that she's like to achieve,
''I would definitely like to be in a position where I love my work and what I do ; I can’t imagine settling for a job to pay the bills. I would love to develop my skills through education and practice so I can become better at what I do.

I hope that my family will always be close and of course, I would love a lot of nice, expensive things too! However, success, to me, is happiness.

And finally, I finish the interview by asking if Stephanie could go back in time and talk to her 18 year old self, what would she say.....
'' suppose I would say start exercising a little, not every fashion trend is a must so don’t try and make it ‘work’ and value quality over quantity when it comes to friendships''

And on that note it concludes my interview with the gorgeous, flawless and inspirational lady that is Stephanie O'Quigley.
I cannot thank Stephanie enough for taking her time out to chat to me, and I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did.
Don't forget you can follow Stephanie on her social media accounts which I will leave the links to below:
Twitter - @StephanieOQ
Facebook - SnappedUpBlog

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