It’s no secret that the motor trade is an industry that remains predominantly male-run – but one woman is determined to change and tear up the rule book – and all of that from Co Wicklow.
Ashford Engines was created just before the pandemic hit when Nadia Adan gave up her comfortable job in finance to pursue her dream and love for cars.
“We changed the car sales model,” she says. “When the pandemic happened, we couldn’t get people to come and see cars, so I turned to Instagram and did car reviews.”
“We go out there for these reviews and we sort of do Top Gear-esque but that’s stock that I’m selling right now. This means that a potential customer will see this and imagine themselves in the car.
Nadia has pivoted with social media revealing that she sold a Bentley for sixty thousand dollars on Instagram and has also sold other cars on the platform, bypassing traditional car selling sites such as DoneDeal and CarZone .
Car reviews are nothing short of a cinematic experience, for as Nadia informs her audience and potential customers of the vehicle’s specifications, we are treated to exciting views of both the car and Garden County.
“It’s something no garage in Ireland has ever done, and I’m starting to see other garages trying to copy that and it’s great to see we’re completely changing the game,” she said.
Nadia continues: “I am disrupting the automotive industry in Ireland, I hear it everywhere. It’s a woman doing it, it’s online and times have changed and we all have to deal with it.
Ms Adan is keen to support local businesses in producing her video reviews of the cars and features Co Wicklow whenever possible.
His business is best described as a boutique, which operates by appointment only and sells high-end luxury cars to daily commuters.
The 31-year-old’s determination and drive is perhaps a trait inherited from her mother, who had several of her own businesses.
Originally from Somalia, Nadia and her mother were forced to flee when war broke out in 1993. After traveling to various countries and being displaced, they both arrived in Ireland in the late 90s and made their home in Ireland since.
“When we lost everything, my mum’s first thought was ‘I need to take my daughter somewhere where she can go to school’ and that’s the only word I’ve heard from her all my life; education.”
Nadia says she is a “third culture child”, meaning someone who was raised in a culture other than that of her parents or the culture of her country of nationality, and who also lives in a different environment for a significant part of their child’s developmental years.
“I am Irish through and through,” she says.
Nadia says she has always loved cars and her former job in finance meant she was passionate about her luxury cars.
“I remember selling one of my cars, on one of the classifieds sites, and I actually made some money,” she recalls.
Before starting Ashford Motors, Ms Adan went to buy cars from individuals before reselling them.
“I’m not a mechanic, but I know cars and I know it’s a product and it’s about how they look, the brand and the quality of the car.
“When my work didn’t work out before the pandemic, I thought I’d give it a try,” she explains.
When Nadia originally signed up as a car dealership, she had no premises and operated solely from her home while beginning to make contacts in the automotive industry.
Its first premises were in Rathnew, before moving to Ashford.
Ashford Motor’s business model has proven to be a success, with Nadia revealing the company’s turnover last year was over €1m.
Nadia aspires for her business to be the best intimate, boutique-style car dealership in the county.
“I want to be the first garden dealership in Wicklow where we have affordable cars but luxury performance cars,” she says.
As Nadia takes on the auto industry, being a mixed-race woman, she says she has been belittled by the men in the trade, but overall her colleagues are supportive.
“It just makes me feel like I’m a threat to them and doing it right,” she says. “The quality of my cars and customer reviews speak for themselves.”
Nadia says she has become a trusted female figure for other women buying cars and listening to what matters to them and what their needs and wants are.
“I don’t make them feel inferior and I don’t try to sell them stuff,” she explains, adding, “Knowing my customer is important and whether you’re buying a car for €10,000 or 100,000 €, you receive the same treatment.”
“People buy people” and empathy is important, she adds. A testament to the quality of Ashford Motor, Nadia says they have never had a car return.
With Ashford Motors, Nadia says she wants to show other women that if they want to work in the automotive industry, they can – and that doesn’t mean they have to “put oil under their skins”. fingernails”.
“A car is the second biggest purchase a person will make, a house being the first, so that’s a big deal.”