“It gives mums the chance to buy the things they would never normally buy for themselves.”

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An Enniskillen mum of two and shoe shop owner is taking part in a ‘more than a mum’ campaign, encouraging people to think about what mums really want and need this Mother’s Day, supporting local businesses at the same time.

Lisa McElroy was encouraged by her daughter to open her own shop and says she has learnt so much: “I opened mySHoo in 2022 after working in retail all of my life, including managing a shoe shop. I’ve always been obsessed with shoes and bags to the extent that I used to have a shoe and handbag room in my house, so when it came to opening a business, it had to be shoes and accessories.

“My children are older now, 16 and 13. It was actually my daughter who encouraged me to open my own shop and it all happened really quickly. I think the main fears I had about setting up on my own were financial, going from a job with a regular income to being self-employed was a big one, especially with a family to consider. Time was another one. As a business owner, it’s 24/7.

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“I’ve learnt so much since starting the business. I hadn’t expected all of the up-front costs that are involved as a new business with buying stock. The other was confidence. Even though you do everything as a manager of a store, when it’s your own shop, it feels different and I struggled with putting myself out there at first.

Lisa McElroy, founder of mySHoo with daughter Shannon.Lisa McElroy, founder of mySHoo with daughter Shannon.
Lisa McElroy, founder of mySHoo with daughter Shannon.

“Owning a business is hard work but it’s really good too and it’s positive for the children to see that they can do anything they set their mind to. My daughter now works alongside me in the shop during the weekends and holidays.”

MySHoo is one of over 150 businesses who are part of the Enniskillen Gift Card, including shops, restaurants, attractions and more in the area, part of the Town & City Gift Card initiative from fintech Miconex.

A Town & City Gift Cards survey with over 370 mums in the UK and Ireland has shown that 77% of mums say they feel guilty spending money on themselves. Clothes, shoes and bags are the items that 76% of mums feel guilty spending money on, followed by beauty treatments, nights out/days out and holidays, meals out and the gym/health/fitness activities.

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Some 92% of mums have wished for more time for themselves and 78% have wished for more time with their friends. A massive 69% of mums are working into the evenings and weekends. Almost a third of mums are spending more than 90 minutes each day on household tasks, with a quarter of mums saying they get just 15 minutes each day purely to themselves.

95% of mums said they worry more since having children, with children being what tends to worry mums most, followed by finances, partner/love life and work.

A huge 96% of mums surveyed said they’d like to receive a local gift card for Mother’s Day, with beauty treatments, a meal out and clothes, shoes and bags being the top items mums would spend their gift card on.

Lisa, who is a huge advocate of local shopping, says that gift cards are viewed differently to cash, making them feel ‘guilt-free’ to spend: “I think the ‘mum-guilt’ about spending money on themselves is something that many mums struggle with because they tend to put the children and family first. And if they are buying for themselves, it’s probably more about practicality than treats.

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“Mums can also have very little time for themselves but I think time with friends, to switch off from being a mum, can be really beneficial. I remember when the children were young my husband said ‘if you’re not happy, the kids aren’t happy’ and it’s a reminder of how important looking after ourselves really is.

“That’s why the Enniskillen Gift Card is brilliant, not only does it support local businesses, it gives mums the chance to buy the things they would never normally buy for themselves, arrange a meal out with their friends or have some time for themselves. It’s a funny thing, but you just don’t feel the same guilt about spending a gift card on yourself as you would with cash, it’s guilt free and it’s waste free because mums can buy what they want. It’s the answer to everything.”

Noelle McAloon is Enniskillen BID manager and said: “The Enniskillen Gift Card continues to go from strength to strength as people realise the value of shopping local and the value of the card itself, supporting not only small businesses but the hardworking people behind the businesses, like Lisa. We’re projected to reach £1 million in sales of the Enniskillen Gift Card in 2024 precisely because of the versatility it offers, from Mother’s Day to birthdays, corporate incentives to end of the school term.”

Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex, added: “Our Mother’s Day research aligns with what we already know about gift cards. 92% of people prefer giving a gift card to cash with 77% saying this is because it encourages the recipient to treat themselves. And when it comes to spending gift cards, 71% see a gift card as free money.

"By choosing the Enniskillen Gift Card this Mother’s Day, you can give your mum choice and freedom to spend the card as they choose, helping local businesses at the same time.”

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