Q&A: Allister Mulligan
Q: What's the best piece of business (or life) advice you've ever been given?
A: Treat people as you would like to be treated yourself.
Q: What piece of advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business?
A: If you want to succeed you need to put everything in to the business, this can affect all aspects of our life but in the long-term it's usually worth it.
Q: What was your best business decision?
A: Firstly, leaving the comfort of a well remunerated role in industry to set up my own business. Secondly, five years ago we acquired the entire contents of a 65,000 sq ft office furniture factory in the South of England which had gone in to receivership. This was a major logistical challenge as we moved 24 full trailer loads of stock from there to Belfast. However, this gave us a massive stock holding which enabled us to take on much larger projects.
Q: If you weren't doing this job, what would be your other career?
A: I would probably be selling paper antiques, one of my main hobbies.
Q: What was your last holiday? Where are you going next?
A: We had a fantastic week in Madeira in early March. Our next holiday will be a few days over Easter in my favourite part of the world, Portstewart.
Q: What are your hobbies/interests?
A: Rock music is my main passion and I have seen my favourite band, Status Quo, over 120 times. Music is a great leveller and I have made close friends all over UK and Europe through our shared interest. I am also a collector/hoarder of many things including Clogher Valley postcards, vinyl records, vintage advertising and Irish books. I enjoy country life and time spent with my wife, children and pets.
Q: What is your favourite sport and team?
A: Soccer is my favourite sport and I am a long-standing Nottingham Forest fan. I also follow Ballinamallard locally and am hoping for a good result on May 4!
Q: And have you ever played any sports?
A: I used to play five-a-side football and squash but I'm too old for that now! These days I go to the gym three times a week.
Q: If you enjoy reading, can you recommend a book?
A: I read a lot of books when I am on holiday, and my most recent read was Francis Rossi's autobiography. I also read all three local daily papers every day. The best and most challenging book I've ever read is An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan (below).
Q: How would you describe your early life?
A: I grew up on a small poultry and beef farm in the Clogher Valley. Working on the farm always came before academia but instilled a work ethic which I think has kept me going through tough times. I attended Fivemiletown High school and Omagh Technical College and still have strong links and friendships in the area.
Q: Have you any economic predictions?
A: I've absolutely no idea other than that the current uncertainty over Brexit and lack of a Stormont government is hindering economic progress and affecting business confidence.
Q: How would you assess your time in business with your company Desk Warehouse?
A: It's been a roller coaster. The recession nearly put us out of business, but we tightened our belts and got through it. Every day brings new opportunities and new challenges.
Q: How do you sum up working in the furnishings sector?
A: It's an industry that's full of big personalities and a few huge egos...