Irish Tatler, in partnership with Boots, invites you to join us on International Women’s Day for an inspiring brunch celebrating some of Ireland's leading female founders in the world of beauty and wellness.
In conversation with Elaine Prendeville, editorial director of Irish Tatler magazine, the founders of some of Ireland’s leading brands, Spotlight Oral Care, Pestle & Mortar, Bellamianta Luxury Tanning and Moxi Loves will share their respective success stories, the ups and downs along the way, and how they're continuing to make waves both at home and abroad, with the support of Boots through their journey.
Boots has a long history of empowering women. Florence Boot, one of its founders, was a pioneering businesswoman and that ethos continues today. In honour of International Women’s Day, Irish Tatler and Boots Ireland are celebrating some of Ireland’s successful entrepreneurs.
Taking place Sunday 8th March, at Cliff Townhouse Seafood Restaurant from 12:30 pm to 3 pm, guests can expect an inspirational and empowering afternoon celebrating some of the country's most fearless females. Plus bubbles, brunch and beauty goody bag worth over €100!
Keep scrolling to meet the four female founders blazing a trail in business — and on the beauty shelves — who will be speaking at this Sunday's #SmartBeauty Brunch.
Owner of beauty brand Moxi Loves, Pamela Laird saw her first product make waves in the industry, but she was forced to start all over again when new EU regulations resulted in a ban on single-use plastics. An appearance on UK TV show The Apprentice in 2019 gave her a much-needed boost and, as she looks to expand her business, she talks about inspiration and taking her brand to the next level.
“My mum has to be the biggest inspiration for me because she had her own beauty business. From a young age, it was like I was destined to be in the beauty industry working for myself in some way. She encouraged me to explore what I was interested in and pivot in the industry a little more. That’s how I realised I wanted to create my own brand. Of course, I’m also inspired by the other Irish beauty legends creating great products. A small country doesn’t mean small brands!
Getting on to The Apprentice last year brought my own brand back to focus when I needed a bit of support. Now I’m in the middle of investor pitching. It’s about numbers, projections and what markets I’m going for, so it’s a whole new world but you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Moxi Loves is also launching into Boots at the end of March and I’m delighted. Boots is one of the biggest names in beauty and I’ve always dreamed of being on its shelves. To be able to say I’ll have two products in the skincare aisle, next to so many incredible brands, gives a start-up brand like mine such a boost. When you’re looking at growing and going into other markets, to have Boots supporting you gives you so many extra opportunities. It’s amazing.”
Entrepreneur Sonia Deasy launched Irish skincare brand Pestle & Mortar with one product. By stepping out of her comfort zone, she’s seen it grow to become a global brand.
“I started the brand with my Pure Hyaluronic Serum. Everyone thought I was mad to launch a skincare brand with just one product. That product was an instant success — the customers did the marketing and our following grew by word-of-mouth. I knew then that people wanted simple solutions to the problem of ineffective skincare.
There are stumbling blocks every day on this journey but I’ve learned that if there are no challenges it means that you’re staying within your comfort zone. Nothing ever happens within your comfort zone. I did a Skype interview with a New York Times journalist just after we launched the serum. I did the interview in my kitchen, having practically sedated the kids so that they wouldn’t interrupt me. Afterwards, I heard nothing for six months and I was really disappointed. I woke up one morning just after Christmas that year and my phone had thousands of texts because the article had been published in the New York Times. Our website almost crashed with the orders that came in. Expansion happened gradually and then all at once! We systematically approached distributors, retailers and international markets with a lot of planning and hard work.
For Pestle & Mortar products to get onto the shelves in Boots is huge. I love that Boots celebrates both niche and mainstream brands —the company listens to what its customers are asking for and provides it. As a result, the customer gets a carefully curated selection, expertise and service. Nurturing relationships with like-minded retailers, such as Boots, who respect our brand and value the customer above all else is key to our success.”
Linda put her experience in the beauty industry to good use when she founded Bellamianta Luxury Tanning. However, it was a personal experience that led her to create her first product.
“I’ve been in the cosmetics business now for over 17 years. We used to have events in a store I managed where brand owners would come over and tell their stories about how they started their businesses from their kitchen tables. It was so inspiring because it made you think, ‘This is achievable,’ and it’s something I always wanted to do. I’m a trained beauty therapist and makeup artist but quickly recognised that I didn’t want to go into the service end, I wanted to own my own business.
A big turning point for me was when I had a reaction to a spray tan the night before my wedding. I am a skincare junkie — I’m actually in the middle of setting up a new skincare brand — and what I really wanted to do was take my knowledge of skincare and put it into a luxury tanning formula. I wanted one that would also be a treatment for your skin, that didn’t contain alcohol and was packed with fruit extracts and ingredients to nourish the skin while you were tanning. I also wanted it to be vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.
The great thing for us is that we’re made in Ireland, our boxes and cartons are sourced from Belfast and our products are made in Mayo. We started with two products, a lotion and a mitt, and very quickly it spiralled from there. When we brought out the mousse, we had 15,000 units and sold out within a week. We had to triple our manufacturing.
I was overjoyed when both Bellamianta Luxury Tanning and our mass-market brand Iconic Bronze went into Boots stores. Boots is one of the leading beauty retailers but it also offers great help and support to smaller brands. I will always remember getting into Boots as a milestone in my career.”
VANESSA AND LISA CReAVEN
Galway sisters Vanessa and Lisa Creaven, both dentists, started their Spotlight Oral Care company with teeth whitening strips and have expanded to include a range of toothpastes. As Vanessa explains, having a great team is key to success.
“It’s never about the best business idea, it’s about building a proper team where everyone works well together. You’re not going to have all the skills yourself but maybe other people will have the skills and you can lean on those.
Myself and Lisa always talk about how invaluable it is to set up a company with someone you trust. She would be my biggest support and I hers. We have a really strong team. We’re all quite close, stand up for ourselves and argue our points. Having good people around you is important as you grow.
At the start, we brought out our teeth whitening strips and then a whitening toothpaste, which was a natural progression. When we launched the strips we hadn’t planned on doing a huge amount of advertising, just to grow it softly as we were working full time as dentists. We were lucky with the timing of it and it kind of took off. We launched into Boots in February 2017, about six months after we launched to market, which was relatively quick, but Boots saw the potential in our product. We have since grown to be the number one teeth whitening brand across the country, including in Boots Ireland stores.
It’s nice to know that our customers can go into any store and can always find us. There’s a trust factor in our relationship with Boots and when we were developing our range of toothpastes we pitched it to them first because we love to get the team’s feedback on our products. It’s a great relationship.”
Shop these brands in most Boots stores, through Order & Collect or online Boots. ie. *Moxi Loves will be available in Boots from end March 2020.
What better time to celebrate the achievements of Irish women than on International Women’s Day? Join us for an inspiring Irish Tatler brunch in partnership with Boots on Sunday 8 March in Cliff Townhouse Seafood Restaurant, Dublin. It will be an afternoon of chat and inspiration. Guests will receive goodie bags worth over €100. Tickets are €40 and can be purchased using the link below.