Sandra is an established businesswoman and has been self employed since 2005. She is the founder of Maybury marketing, a consultant and mentor and shares her knowledge and expertise in hospitality, revenue management, event management, marketing and PR to assist other businesses across a number of sectors to explore opportunities, increase brand awareness and grow sales.
Last year, she became an author when she published her book SPINS – The life and times of Sonny & Mary Maybury which is a heartwarming, nostalgic and entertainig account of her parents, family and the wider Dunmanway community. All profits of book sales go to CRITICAl – The network of Volunteer Emergency Medical Responders across the country.
In this episode we chat about the reasons for writing her book, an exciting yet normal childhood, marketing and getting the basics right, her love for Dunmanway and getting mad notions!
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Duration: 23:08 mins
Sandra's Takeaway Tip
“Get the basics right”
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Geraldine Hennessy: Welcome to the Cork Creative Podcast. With this podcast, we hope to promote local creative businesses and people. I am your host, Geraldine Hennessy and today I am joined by marketing specialist Sandra Maybury in Brookpark Business Park in Dunmanway.
Sandra is an established businesswoman and has been self-employed since 2005.She’s the founder of Maybury Marketing, a consultant and mentor, and shares her knowledge and experience in hospitality, revenue management, event management, marketing and PR to assist other businesses across a number of sectors to explore opportunities, increase brand awareness and growth sales.
Last year, she became an author when she published her book Spins-The Life and Times of Sonny and Mary Maybury, which is a heart-warming, nostalgic, and entertaining account of her parents, family and the wider demand of community.[00:01:00] All profits of book sales go to CRITICAL, the network of volunteer emergency medical responders across the country.
In this episode, we chat about the reasons for writing her book, an exciting yet normal childhood, marketing and getting the basics right, her love for Dunmanway and getting mad notions.
So you’re very welcome to Cork Creative Sandra.
Sandra Maybury: Thank you very much. I’m delighted. Delighted to be here.
Geraldine Hennessy: First things first, Sandra, tell us a little about yourself.
Sandra Maybury: Okay, so I’m Sandra Maybury. I’m from Dunmanway, uh, married to dairy farmer Derry, and, uh, mom to three strong-willed girls. Uh, I live and work in Dunmanway and I suppose most of my family are still based here and I own my own marketing company, Maybury Marketing.
And I suppose I’ve been self-employed now for 18 years. Okay. Still going strong, so Yes. Busy. Thank God. Yeah. Busy.
Geraldine Hennessy: And you wrote Spins a book about the lives of your parents, Sonny and Mary Maybury. What did you hope to achieve with the book? [00:02:00]
Sandra Maybury: Okay, uh, so I’m here now, um, now that it has been published. And I think it’s only dawned on me, and I suppose I’ve only just realized what a huge undertaking it was.
Um, I suppose what I hoped to achieve was to, um, record stories about my parents. That was my original, uh, plan. I suppose the, if I was to say a little bit about where the idea of the book came from At the end of 2021, I just got this mad, mad notion I should write a book because, um, my parents are in their eighties and I suppose anyone who’s lived eight decades, um, has great stories to tell.
And I feel that’s the case for everyone. And I wanted to record those stories because, um, so as we all know that a time comes when you can’t ask those questions, and I didn’t want to have any regrets. I suppose I’ve even said at the end of the book, you know, anyone who’s reading this, I hope it does inspire people to speak to their elders.
Because life is busy. Exactly. Yeah. And we can easily [00:03:00] get swept away in the busyness of life. Before it’s too late. So ….
Geraldine Hennessy: I know with my own parents, you know, when you’re younger and you’re with them all the time, you know, they don’t tell you those type of stories, but like if I take my dad say to a hospital appointment or something like that, you know, we might pass somewhere on the way up the road and he’d be like telling me, you know, a funny story.
It’s like that, you know, you kind of wish that you had more of that time, but when you have that time, it’ll probably be too late. So it’s, it is a great idea.
Sandra Maybury: Yeah. And I think when you’re younger as well, we probably were told those stories, but it just in one ear and not the other. It’s only when you are older yourself, you start to appreciate the stories.
Geraldine Hennessy: Yeah. As you get older and you become a parent yourself. Yes. You appreciate your parents a lot more than when you, when you’re younger,
Sandra Maybury: Stories get lost through the generations. So, yeah.
Geraldine Hennessy: And the book is a local and family history featuring great stories and photographs. Can you tell us a little about the research process you took to put the book together? You just said there that it was [00:04:00] quite a serious undertaking?
Sandra Maybury: It was, the original plan for the book was to write a book of my parents’ stories. So different things that had happened to them. You know, I knew I had to get stories from other people, so I kind of put, I put a shout out really on social media and said, look, I’m writing a book.
And of course, as soon as you make that public, there was constant like, how’s the book going? How’s the book going and when is it gonna be ready? So small bit of pressure there. But what I discovered from talking to people was that the book wasn’t about their stories, it was about their story and the type of people that they are, and the type of things that they did and the support, I suppose, that they gave to their local community.
So in terms of research, it would be me speaking to my parents and me speaking to people about them, maybe past employees or people that they had dealings with. So, um, yeah, that was, that. I, I even have, um, extracts from a few famous people in there. I mean, Louis Walsh gave a few lines for the book and Daniel O’Donnell very nice.
Geraldine Hennessy: Yeah. Yeah ,very good. That was kind [00:05:00] interesting so.
Sandra Maybury: Absolutely. Yeah. Okay. Interesting. Cuz I didn’t think he’d remember them and he did. Yeah.
Geraldine Hennessy: They stuck in his mind so. Very good.
You said there that kind of people kept and asking you questions and stuff, you know, when is ready. You were kind of locked into it then as such.
Sandra Maybury: I was. I, I was. That’s, you know….and it’s only now that it’s out there and it’s done, that I have that kind of, oh my God, did I really do that? That was a mad notion to get. Did I do that? So, yeah.
Geraldine Hennessy: Ah, yeah. But that’s, that’s good too, isn’t it?
Sandra Maybury: Yeah.
Geraldine Hennessy: And I suppose have the people of Dunmanway, the surroundings areas and people that knew your parents, it must have been very warmly received. Was it?
Sandra Maybury: Yeah. I have to say, the feedback I’ve got has been, it’s been lovely. Absolutely lovely. Um, I was at a funeral this week and two people stopped me and said, uh, I really enjoyed your book, so I, you know, I meet people anywhere. And they’re saying they did enjoy it and. I think for the people of Dunmanway, there’s a lot of stories in there that are, um, about the town. Yeah. Not necessarily about my parents. And people have enjoyed reminiscing about those kind of things.
Geraldine Hennessy: [00:06:00] What did your parents think of it?
Sandra Maybury: Oh my God. Well, first of all, I actually approached my siblings and said, I’m gonna write this book about mom and dad.
And they were, as always, to be fair, very supportive. Then Iapproached mom and dad and I said, you know, I’m gonna write this book about ye. So my mother’s first reaction was, sure who’s, who’d want to hear that? Sure no one would be interested in us? And over the time then her interest grew. She was like, yeah, I’m sure that person worked for us and they worked for us.
I’m sure I forgot about that and I forgot about this, and my father’s initial reaction was, you’re gonna write a book. No one will buy that book. Oh. Initially they were like, what about us? I dunno. But as the time has gone on, they really got involved in it and really enjoyed the whole process. And for them now, people who have read the book are saying, I really enjoyed the book. God, you did great things. So it’s been a lovely, it’s been really lovely for them, I have to say.
Geraldine Hennessy: And kind of an acknowledgement of their achievements for the town as well. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. They’re very good.
And you obviously had a very interesting childhood being the daughter of serial entrepreneurs in Dunmanway. Can [00:07:00] you tell us about one standout moment?
Sandra Maybury: Well, I didn’t think my childhood was any different at the time. I will say that. Okay. Um, I thought it was the same as anyone else, and it was only when I, I suppose, became an adult myself or even in writing this book, I thought actually mine was very different.
Like, definitely, you know, cuz I’d have had school friends would come over for play dates and they were mesmerized by maybe the size of the kitchen or the fact that there was a big hall there that you could play in. All these things, but to me, were perfectly normal. So standout moments, there are too many.
Okay. I couldn’t name one, but I have an eight year old daughter, myself and I, I think now I was at eight or nine year old who was up on the stage playing the tambourine with the likes of Joe Mac and the Dixies. Okay. Or I was up on stage singing with Brendan Shine. Or I had front row seats when the mud wrestlers came to town in the eighties and caused national outrage.
But again, at the time, it was all normal to me.
Geraldine Hennessy: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
God, it must have been so much fun though, you know, [00:08:00] and looking back, I must make you really happy, I suppose. Yeah. Because you must have had so many great memories.
Sandra Maybury: Yeah, we did. Absolutely. Yeah.
Geraldine Hennessy: Your parents, would they have any kind of standout moment for them, do you think?
Or. Is it hard to say.
Sandra Maybury: Um, I dunno if there’s any standout moments in general, but they’ve just lovely stories. Mm. You know, maybe different stories about the health inspector, funny things that happened. Yeah. Are, um, going back way way before the hotel, um, they would’ve had chip vans. Okay. They would’ve been one of the, one of the first people in West Cork to have a chip van and you know, they’re great memories of going around to shows or going to the seaside and, and setting up there and about young fellas who would’ve worked in the Chip Van. They’re just, they’ve lovely memories, lovely stories. Hmm. As have I, and I feel this about so many people of their era. They’ve great stories.
Yeah. Yeah. People of that era, they are great storytellers as well. You know, where is, nowadays we just post a picture up online and that’s the story like, you know.
I was just laughing. I was looking through your book. Was it Derek Davis… was staying in your house and you came down [00:09:00] and he was sitting at the table.
That’s so funny. Like it’s just, yeah, it’s, it seems a bit surreal to me. Yeah. But as you said, it was a very normal existence. Just all you knew really.
Sandra Maybury: Yeah. And I remember going to school that day and saying, Derek Davis fella from ‘Live at three’,but it was called something else beforehand, was having breakfast.
And I, I said the people in school thought ‘Liar’. Yeah, he was, but it was true. Yeah. He’s such a lovely man actually. He was a really cheery, lovely, really jolly man.
Geraldine Hennessy: Yeah. Yeah. Well he kind of comes across like that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay.
And the Maybury name is synonymous with the Dunmanway. When you were growing up, was it, was that ever difficult? Like did you ever feel under pressure to follow in the footsteps of your parents?
Sandra Maybury: No, I don’t think it was. Definitely, no, never difficult, no. And never any pressure to go in any direction. At all. And I have to say, just in general, the family are very supportive of anything that I’ve done, so,no, no pressure.
Geraldine Hennessy: That’s good.
Sandra Maybury: The name Maybury, I suppose, isn’t very common. Yeah, it’s, it’s well known Dunmanway. And outside of that, then I suppose I would’ve thought there’s very few Mayburys Yeah. [00:10:00] But when I did my research, I started doing a little bit in the whole genealogy side of things, just for the books.And I discovered there’s actually quite a lot of Mayburys out there. Okay. Okay. Yeah, just not as many in West Cork.
Geraldine Hennessy: Yeah. So you’re a unique down here.
Sandra Maybury: Well, yeah. Different.
Geraldine Hennessy: You have your own marketing business, Maybury Marketing. What is it like to be a business owner in West Cork at the moment?
Sandra Maybury: Well, I’m delighted to be able to work and offer my services from West Cork.
I’ve been self employed now for 18 years. I think coming up for June, I can work from home and I can still reach clients like all over Ireland. I think, you know, look, it’s been an incredibly busy couple of years, so it’s all good.
Geraldine Hennessy: The world is your oyster
Sandra Maybury: As such, I suppose. Well, you know what? I suppose I’ve been, at this so long now, you have to tailor or that lovely word at the moment, pivot. But you have to tailor your businesses to suit what people need. Okay. At the time. And yeah,so I’ve had to do that a few times and it , you know, you have to keep moving.
Geraldine Hennessy: That’s very good.[00:11:00]
Covid gave you the opportunity, I suppose, to pause and reflect with the end result of a rebrand of your business. Do you think that it’s important for businesses to undergo cyclical reinvention?
Sandra Maybury: Well, I don’t know about reinvention all the time, but it’s definitely important to review where you’re at. And again, I think so many people are busy in their business. You know, they’re working in their business rather than on it. They’re providing whatever service they’re doing or selling, whatever they’re selling, and they don’t always get time to step back and say, okay, am I on the right track here?
Is this actually what I want to be doing? So, you know, I do a lot of work in, um, mentoring. So I get to mentor business owners in all different sectors, in all different sizes, from solopreneurs to MDs in multinational businesses. So, you know, I get to talk to them about that and reviewing where they’re at, and it’s a lot of what the mentoring does cover.
Geraldine Hennessy: Okay. Okay.
So you mentioned there a little bit about the, the mentoring. What are the other various services that you offer?
Sandra Maybury: I suppose essentially I offer marketing to business owners. Which is very [00:12:00] much about getting the basics right, understanding who your customer is and what your message is and so on.
And a lot of the time my enquiries start with, I need help with Facebook. Okay. Definitely 9 times out of 10. That’s what most of the enquiries start with. And the reality is Facebook, as with any social media, is literally one piece of a puzzle. There are so many other elements to marketing and so many other basics you need to get right before you ever consider what you wanna be doing on social media.
So that would be one thing. Marketing consultancy for SMEs. I do a lot of mentoring. I’m on the, uh, mentors panel of the local enterprise office for Cork North and West, Cork South and Cork City. And I’m also a mentor with a program called Mentors Work. Okay. So for business owners, they’re great supports and they’re free.
Like free mentoring with mentors across all different areas of expertise. Mm. So, yeah, so I love that work. I wear lots of hats, to be fair. Yeah. I do a few other bits. I do a bit of event management. Um, and I’ve been involved in some, [00:13:00] I suppose, very interesting and exciting events in West Cork.
And I do some work in PR.
Geraldine Hennessy: Okay. And what’s your favorite?
Sandra Maybury: Oh, I get a great buzz out to the event management. I must admit when there’s an event or something like that, I do, I love all the intricated, itty bitty little pieces that have to be put together to make sure the event goes off to plan.
I love that. I love mentoring because I get to meet different people all the time, and they’re at different stages in their business. They’re different sizes. And I get lovely feedback. So I kind of feel like I, I’m doing some good when people come back and say, I’ve really benefited from the mentoring.
So yeah, I like all of it really.
Geraldine Hennessy: And what kind
of events have you worked on?
Sandra Maybury: Uh, so more recently I was part of the team that, um, brought the West Cork Business and Tourism Awards. Okay. Which were run by the Southern Star and, um, in partnership with Cork County Council. The Southern Star also ran their farming awards. I was, uh, helping with that.
And pre Covid, I would’ve done quite a lot of events. The Strictly Come Dancing in Bantry. Oh yeah. [00:14:00] So you’re smiling, you know about it. Um, I was involved from the very start there, which was I think 2018. So for the first couple of years I stepped back then after Covid, cuz other work had replaced that.
But I loved it. I was actually at the Strictly launch for this year, only there a couple of weeks ago. And they’ve invited me back as a judge.
Geraldine Hennessy: Oh. Oh my God.
Sandra Maybury: Yeah. Um, so, yeah, there, there are different events. There was other ones as well.
Geraldine Hennessy: It must be kind of interesting, you know, it’s quite varied, those kind of events. So it must be really interesting and keep you extremely busy, like
Sandra Maybury: Yeah. Yeah. There’s a lot of work in them. I will say. A lot of work, but I, again, it’s stuff I love and I love the buzz of the actual event on the day.
Geraldine Hennessy: Then just seeing everything, it must be quite satisfying, I suppose, seeing it all come together.
Yeah, very good. Okay.
Given the wide variety of businesses that your parents were involved in, does that rich reservoir of knowledge help you when you deal with various types of businesses and different types of people?
Sandra Maybury: Okay. Let me think about that now. Is that something that came from my parents or is it just something you learn yourself in your own business?
Probably [00:15:00] partly both. But I would say one thing in terms of marketing, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, if you’re selling shoes or you’re selling a service, the basics are still the same. You need to know who your customer is, understand what their needs are, know what your message is, what is it you want people to know about your business or your service?
And then come up with a plan and how you’re gonna get your message to your customer. That’s not all about Facebook. Oh, no, no, no. It’s part of it.
Geraldine Hennessy: Okay. So Dunmanway is at the heart of West Cork. In the era of the Wild Atlantic Way and remote working, what would be your hopes for the future of the town?
Sandra Maybury: I’m actually very passionate about Dunmanway. I suppose I live here. I work here, I was born here. I love that slogan, the heart of West Cork cuz that actually goes back years. Mm-hmm And it is so true because you know, Dunmwanway is right in the center of West Cork geographically and is easily accessible from all its surrounding towns, I suppose, with remote working and [00:16:00] facilities such as the Brook Park Business Center, you know, people can live in West Cork and they don’t have that commute and they can still work with global companies. And I’d like to think that Dunmanway has a lot to offer. I know I see new businesses cropping up all the time. Ones that are under the radar. You know, they’re, they’re working way online. There’s lots happening that we mightn’t always know about, so it’s brilliant.
It’s brilliant to see new businesses opening up.
Geraldine Hennessy: Very good. Okay. So onwards and upwards for Dunmanway .
Sandra Maybury: Absolutely. Yes. Absolutely.
Geraldine Hennessy: In your opinion, what is the most common mistake businesses make when marketing?
Sandra Maybury: I’m actually gonna say two things. There you go. I’m going to say sending the wrong message to the wrong customer. Okay. Happens all the time. And then I’m also going to say, That they sell what they want to sell, and it’s not always what the customer wants. Okay. You know? Sometimes they’re like, oh, well I’m going to sell this, but they might not actually have a customer for it. The customer might want a variation of that.
So yeah, I think there’s two common mistakes. Okay. Okay.
Geraldine Hennessy: And do you think that people sometimes go [00:17:00] down a rabbit hole in that, you know, they have this idea, this is what they think is best, but they might not take into account their market enough, you know
Sandra Maybury: They haven’t done the research, all this. I mean, that does happen.
Absolutely it does happen where they launch a product, but they’re, you know, telling the wrong audience about it or, okay, it’s too niche or not niche enough. You know, there’s lot, there’s lots of different elements to it.
Geraldine Hennessy: So do you think it’s important for people to get maybe an, an external viewpoint on it?
Sandra Maybury: Or just get the basics right?
Yeah. Do get a, an external viewpoint and, you know, talk to people and ask for people’s opinions. Do you think this would work or not? Sometimes we can be tunnel vision and imagine something’s gotta be a huge success and it mightn’t always be. But you do have to do the research. Do the groundwork.
Geraldine Hennessy: It’s important as well that people ask the right people, you know, say, look, I want your honest answer. Yeah. You know, they don’t want to be plámásed or such, you know.
Sandra Maybury: No. Nearly ask someone you don’t know. Exactly. You know, could you ask somebody to take a look at this and tell me if it’s right, rather than Yeah.You know, look at it yourself. Yeah. Okay. Sometimes if customers have like a product launcher, you know, we do [00:18:00] feasibility studies and um, business plans and stuff like that for businesses. And I’ll often do a questionnaire where you’ll just send it, you know, wide and see what responses come back and they’re impartial responses then. So they’re always good. I think that’s a good idea.
Geraldine Hennessy: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Okay.
And what’s the one piece of advice you would give to a business
Sandra Maybury: In terms of marketing, I’m gonna say get the basics right. Okay. Yeah. Understand who your customer is, what their needs are. Ideally, build a profile of who this ideal customer is when you’re trying to target them.
And then, what’s your message like? What do you want them to know about your business? Is it that you provide a great service? Is it that you have the best prices? Is it that you’ve got the best quality? What is it you want them to know about you? It’s almost like what do you want them to say about you when you’re not in the room?
Okay. Yeah. And then put those two pieces together and decide how you’re gonna actually tell people what you do.
Geraldine Hennessy: That’s a good idea, actually. What would you like them to say to you when you’re not in the room? [00:19:00] That’s a very good perspective to have on things.
Sandra Maybury: Absolutely. Sure.
If you think about it, if you bought something, if you went into a shop and you found they were really lovely.You know, customer service would say was great, and you go on, you tell your friend, actually, I bought these shoes in such and such a shop, and God, they were great in there. That’s what you want people to know about you. Or if it was fast delivery, you ordered something online, it came the next day when you were talking to a friend. You say that. So it’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
Geraldine Hennessy: Exactly. Okay. Okay. Fair enough.
You specify there about marketing, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give to businesses, I suppose more generally, what would your advice be to businesses?
Sandra Maybury: I suppose,be aware of what you’re getting into.And I see this again through the mentoring where, you know, there’s a lot of people who set up a business. But the, um, I suppose haven’t factored in how many elements there are to a business. People want to provide a service if it’s physiotherapist or they want to sell something, if it’s selling clothes, whatever it is, but they, you know, they have to factor in all the other elements. So if you are self-employed and you’re the only one in your business, you become [00:20:00] the finance manager, the sales manager, the marketing manager, social media & marketing manager, you know, you end up doing all of those things.
And I would say you’ve to carve out time and I’m not always great at this myself, but in your diary you do have to schedule in time to work on your business. You know, if it’s planning or whatever it is you need to be doing. Cuz I think we are all so busy just working in our business. The other stuff kind of gets pushed back.
But they’re also so important like as well, you know, a lot of the time they’re the kind of face of the business, you know, so you have to kind of get them right as well.
Sandra Maybury: I agree. You know, what you talk about being the face of the business and things like that. I, I’m trying very hard to practice what I preach.
Again, when I’m mentoring, um, clients, I’m telling them all these things, you need to do this, or I’m telling them things like, you know, on social media, you need to be more engaging. You need to be your brand, you need to be present. Videos are more engaging. So I say all these things and then I don’t always practice it.
So I now, this year and last year, to be fair, I’m trying very hard to practice what I’ve preached so that I’m not being hypocritical, telling other people what to do and not [00:21:00] doing the same myself. In an ideal world. We should be proactive. Rather than reactive. And just proactively trying to factor all those other elements into the business, into our work week.
And again, I’ll admit I’m not always great at it. Yeah. We try our best though. We do. We do. And you know, things get done in the end. Yeah, they do. Yeah, exactly. A little bit like the swan, I think. All right. Yeah. You know, all the work underneath the water. Uh, but elegantly gliding. Yes, absolutely. And on the outside it looks absolutely brilliant.
And inside there’s like loads happening.
Geraldine Hennessy: Yeah, exactly.
Well, that’s the way we want it to look anyway.
Yeah. And what are your plans going forward?
Sandra Maybury: I think continue doing what I’m doing. I like to think providing a good service and helping people, helping others to build their business and so on. I do tend, and anyone who knows me will know this, to get mad notions.
Okay. Like the book was probably the madness notion, the biggest thing I’ve done. But it wouldn’t have been the first, I got mad notions to do yera different events and different things like that that I’ve [00:22:00] done. So right now there’s no mad notions, but that could change very quickly. So right, right now I just wanna keep on doing what I’m doing.
Geraldine Hennessy: Well, I suppose writing a book is a, a fairly big, uh, achievement, so maybe just give yourself a bit of a rest.
Sandra Maybury: Yeah, I think I might just, uh, yeah,
Geraldine Hennessy: Take it easy on the mad notions that that’s a good thing. Yeah. Yeah. Very good.
Well, thanks so much, Sandra, for joining us on the Cork Creative Podcast.
If you’d like to learn more about Sandra, her book Spins and her business, you can find all the details at corkcreative.ie
Sandra Maybury: Thank you so much for having me. I’ve loved having a chat. Thank you.
Geraldine Hennessy:Thank you.[00:23:00]