Ellie Redmond is the owner of Movie Junction – Ireland’s only Drive In movie experience. Based in Cork, Redmond opened Movie Junction in 2010 with one screen and expanded that last May to a second screen. Her plans for the future include 5 cinemas throughout Ireland and the UK by 2018 with her sights set on a Dublin venue this year.Originally a French and business teacher, Ellie who is French and living in Ireland for over 14 years now got the idea for a drive in cinema and that year she opened her first business with some backing from SECAD. She is a really driven entrepreneur who is also on a campaign to push entrepreneurship among young women. She was also recently named Cork Businesswoman of the year for new business.
Why did you start?
The idea for Movie Junction came about when my first child was born in March 2009. My husband and I always enjoyed going to the cinema but as new parents it was difficult to do such things together without having to worry about a babysitter or feeling guilty and this was the seed! There had also been a once open air cinema experience held in Cork the previous summer which had been successful so I saw a real opportunity to bring a cost effective alternative night out to Cork on a year round basis. Many said I was crazy but my gut told me this was going to work and just 18 months later Movie Junction Drive-in Cinema opened to the public!
What did you learn?
Passion is the main pre-requisite to set up your own business. Qualifications and life experience do help but as far as I am concerned I have grown with the business by learning new skills which are not necessarily thought in schools and universities. It is not until you are knee deep in bills, and receipts that you fully realise what cash flow management is really about! I have also learned how to market and sell and buy and haggle and a thousand other things that you don’t even think about when dream of setting up a business – It is never dull, that’s for sure!
What tip would you give another entrepreneur?
Be prepared for travelling a road full of successes coupled with a huge amount of setbacks and restless working days and nights! I relish a challenge and would never pass on any new opportunities, so no matter what it is, go for it. The worst that can happen it that it doesn’t work but if you don’t try then you will always be left wondering.
When I look back, I can still hear people tell me that was crazy to open a Drive-in Cinema in Ireland. Most people thought it was not going to take off or simply wouldn’t work and if I had listened to them I don’t know where I would be today. It is important to always keep your eye on the small details and to improve your product or service to ensure your customers are happy. Try to keep a positive outlook and always celebrate your achievements along the way no matter how small they are.
Movie Junction is open 7 nights a week and is the cheapest cinema night out in Ireland (cars cost from €16 to €24 and pets and kids under 4 go free). http://www.moviejunction.ie/