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Denise Mulvaney
The Story
I love the quote “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land around the stars.” by Norman Vincent Peale. My Mother always speaks about guides who watch over us and protect us. She has a set of angel cards that she will go to when any of us are in need of some guidance. I had just moved back to Ireland and needed a trading name for my limited company as a UX consultant . My Mum pulled out a card, it was perfect! She randomly selected the Astara Angel card. The card read, “You deserve the best! Reach for the stars with your dreams and desires and don’t compromise.” …and that’s how Astara Creative limited was born!
Best advice given
Visualise what you want and live your life like you already have it. Don’t block what you really want with negativity.
Business day
Start early! I’m part of a 5am WhatsApp group. We check-in with each other when we get up and the coffee is on. Monday to Wednesday are my 5am starts and then Thursday and Friday I wing it. In that 5am to 7am block I do some exercise and then work on my business plan. It’s a great way to start the day.
Mind yourself...
When my creativity is in full flow I can work solidly on a project and forget to eat or sleep. My son keeps me grounded and reminds me to stop, switch off and have fun. I need those reminders. I’m lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world so getting outside in nature is always fun!
“Before you say anything count to ten in your head, once it’s out there you can’t take it back” - My Grandfather.
Best advice outside business
Proudest moment
Well, that’s on going. I’m very proud of the fact that I have loyal happy clients who are my ambassadors. It’s lovely knowing you are helping other businesses grow and succeed. I live for happy vibes!
Funniest moment
Nothing comes to mind, sorry
Do a bookkeeping and business course. It doesn't have to be a Masters degree but something that will give you an understanding of those areas of the business. I've had to learn those things on the job which isn't ideal.
A younger you?
There are so many. I'm inspired by their words, their strength, their bravery, their gumption. To name but a few: Meryl Streep, Albert Einstein, CoCo Chanel, Lucille Ball, Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, Helen Keller, Nellie Bly
anthem for business
Stronger by Kelly Clarkson. The 'power' lyrics for me in this song our 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger'. This is a phrase I always come back to and it's so true. I ran my first marathon a few years ago. I had only just taken up running 12 months earlier as a way of working through some stuff I was dealing with in my personal life. It was a great way of calming my mind. Anyway, just before I was due to run 26.2 miles in 28 degree heat I found out that headphones were band from the run and I wasn't going to be able to have my carefully selected power anthems playlist blasting through my brain during the race. So, from about mile 18 to the finish line I played Kelly Clarkson's song on repeat in my head to help me run through the pain and negative internal chatter. This song is my go to when I'm having a 'Why am I doing this' moment.
"why" For business
I love to be challenged creatively. Having my own business I get to pick and choose the work I do. I also love the flexibility and control I have over my life.
other jobs
I have worked in the design industry for nearly 20 years. I started as an animator and then moved into web design. I found my place in interaction design, now known as Design Thinking and UX. I also worked on/off as a jazz singer, I still do.
To always be excited about the work that I do and share that excitement and knowledge of User Experience Design with businesses. I'm passionate about technology and the future of AI but I also want to show that technology should enhance and work with Human to Human engagement not instead of.
Humanising technology, problem solving and simplifying how you communicate with your users/customers/employees through strategy and design. I always tell my clients, be prepared for an 'Aha' moment when I facilitate a workshop. I love the magic of UX!
Unique selling point
causes or projects
passionate about
I am very passionate about mental health and wellbeing. I have a young son and am very aware how important it is to teach him about vulnerability, mindfulness, communication and 'Chill out' time. l am currently working on a project that ties in my love for UX and selfcare which I'm very excited about.
get into your industry
I would say, find a problem in society that needs to be solved. UX and Design Thinking is all about problem solving and making things better. This could be a piece of software, a physical product or a better way to engage people. Start with the idea, sketch it out, list the people it will impact, role play the scenarios, feel their pain points and work out the solution. From working through the whole project from conceptualisation to deployment you will work out where you feel most comfortable and then sharpen your skills in that area, Strategist, Architect, UI Designer.
People can find you

I am based in Sligo in the West of Ireland.  My business website is I love chatting to people face to face or over Skype. If anyone is interested in learning more about UX, I love to chat so get in touch.

Cats, Dogs and Unicorns!
It depends on my mood, too hard to pick one
song to tell your story
That's easy, I took a leap of faith packing up my life in the UK and setting up my business in the west of Ireland. I relate to this song so much that I have the lyrics printed, framed, and sitting on my mantel piece at home. Home by Philip Philips
interesting facts
I can wolf whistle like a docker! I once sang with James Brown I know how to do the flying trapeze
1,000 euros!
I'd spend it on a mini adventure somewhere with my son
unaccompanied concert
Gareth Brooks (Yeah, I was a cowboy fan!)