AN IRISH accountant who wanted more than a 9 to 5 job in London has partied her way out of the City and into a new career.
While she didn't literally party her way out of accountancy, Claire McCarthy from Cork did spend four years setting up and running an online hen party website in secret, while crunching numbers from Monday to Friday at a firm in the capital.
"The hardest thing to come around to was saying goodbye to my guaranteed pay cheque, pension and maternity leave – which never would have been a consideration for me before, but you definitely think about these things in your 30s," said Ms McCarthy, in an interview with Ireland's Image Magazine.
"I am very lucky to have a very patient and supportive husband who encouraged me to step out."
The 34-year-old initially set up set up The Hen Planner blog for what she describes as "stylish, personal and fun" hen parties.
"I had been looking for ideas for a friend’s hen party and there was nothing that offered that point of difference in the hen party world online. Everything was pink, loud, tacky and impersonal," she said.
"There was something missing for those who wanted to approach hen parties a little differently.
"Working on The Hen Planner I was getting inquiries from people for party ideas and different things to do. They found it hard to find the right activity or venue for their event.
"This inspired me to research creating a platform which would enable these women to find, connect and book directly with handpicked businesses with no hassle."
'I hid behind emails and social media accounts for years'
McCarthy then branched out by setting up The Bash Co, an app she compares to AirBnB, but for party and social events with the girls instead.
"The market is incredibly fragmented and it can be hard to find these businesses online if you don’t know about them," she said.
"This makes it difficult for consumers to find and book a fun event without doing a huge amount of research on multiple websites."
Now based in Dublin, she admits that setting up two new companies hasn't been easy, but says if she was doing it all again she says wouldn't have waited so long to dive in all guns blazing.
"I hid behind emails and social media accounts for years," said Ms McCarthy. "Part of the reason for this was that I didn’t want my day job credibility to be knocked.
"I was worried how it would be perceived working in finance and having a business that is all about parties and fun on the side.
"In hindsight, this all would have been fine and I’m sure the company I was working for would have understood and been supportive."