My Entrepreneur’s Experience: Anne Gallagher, The Beauty Kit

My business is an online beauty store called TheBeautyKit.com. It launched in November 2018 after six months of development and preparation. The idea for The Beauty Kit came from when I worked at L’Oréal a few years ago and I noticed that there were very few purely online retail opportunities for brands and consumers in Ireland, when compared to the US and UK markets where these businesses were thriving.

I decided to launch a website which would offer consumers the convenience of shopping online for their favourite mid-to-high end beauty brands but also offer a wealth of information for consumers through educational tips and topics from industry professionals in our Experts’ Zone. The site offers consumers a chance to learn about the products, ingredients or tools that they might have been considering purchasing but not quite sure if they are right for them, or indeed how to use them. Our experts’ topics are there to help advise and enlighten our shoppers.

“I felt that I needed to find a network through which I could meet like-minded people who are at a similar stage in their businesses and share the journey with them…”

There have been so many challenges in starting a new business on my own. The biggest challenge for me has been the isolation of being in my home office working alone every day after a career working in marketing in a busy office surrounded by colleagues and motivated by our shared energy. I felt that I needed to find a network through which I could meet like-minded people who are at a similar stage in their businesses and share the journey with them; learning from them, but also sharing my learnings with them too.

I felt that as someone who always knew her job well and felt like an expert in her field, I was now in unchartered waters and everyday was a school day, as they say. I felt that I had so much to learn that I needed to throw myself into something that would give me that opportunity, while also helping me to grow in confidence as an entrepreneur and to really believe in my capabilities to drive and grow my new business.

When I decided to apply for the Springboard+ Entrepreneurs Programme, I was at a stage where I had already started my business, but I felt I needed to learn more about how to make it a success. Since giving up my marketing job at a large corporation and taking the step to working for myself, I had felt that the learning curve was immense, however, I was hungry to learn more and I knew that there were still a lot of gaps in my knowledge that I would need to fill before I would be able to feel confident in running my business successfully.

“I really struggled with the isolation of working alone all the time and I found it difficult some days to motivate myself…”

I chose this programme because I felt that the timing was perfect for me. I had already started up my business and I was aware of the gaps in knowledge that I needed to fill. I was also aware that there were gaps that I wasn’t even aware of, if that makes sense! I knew that there was so much more to learn and while I felt that the programme content was going to deliver that knowledge, I felt even more so that I would learn from the other people on the programme too and that has certainly been the case.

The key thing that changed for me after the programme started was that it built in a routine into my week. That might sound like a small thing, given the vast amount that I gained in knowledge from this programme, but that was the turning point for me. I really struggled with the isolation of working alone all the time and I found it difficult some days to motivate myself. Knowing that every Wednesday I would be going into the Irish Times Training HQ to meet the same great group of people really motivated me and I found that I was hungry for information as each week passed.  The standard of training from the lecturers was really quite exceptional and I took a lot of motivation from that too.

“…the course gave me a chance to better understand my own motivations for wanting to start and run my own business.”

I would highly recommend the programme to anyone who is either at a start-up stage or who is even thinking about starting up a business. The course content is specifically tailored to entrepreneurs regardless of their stage in business and their industry. The variety that we had in our group was extraordinary and I think it was partly the mix that made our group work so well. I found that the course gave me a chance to better understand my own motivations for wanting to start and run my own business. It also taught me the theory behind my own personal development journey and my leadership style. While it is quite academic – more so than I expected at the outset – I found that it was thoroughly educational in a practical sense too and provided me with a lot of tools to help me to operate and run my business effectively. 

I would like to thank the organisers at Irish Times Training for their support on this course. There is a definite sense of professionalism and mutual respect for everyone involved. The nature of the course tended to allow for a lot of discursive learning too; where the group felt comfortable in being vocal throughout and sharing their learnings with the class to the benefit of all and the lecturers encouraged this in the most part.

“…there was immediately a very warm, welcoming environment in the course.”

I think I was particularly lucky with the group that I was with because there was immediately a very warm, welcoming environment in the course and that built into a great sense of comradery that helped everyone throughout, particularly with the assignments. The fact that the course is accredited by Ulster University is a fantastic bonus, because it means that not only did we have the pleasure of gaining so much knowledge throughout, but we will also have the chance to graduate later this year.

Click here for more information about the programme.

Anne Gallagher - The Beauty Kit

Anne Gallagher

Founder, TheBeautyKit.com

www.thebeautykit.com

Instagram: @thebeautykitcom


About Springboard+

Springboard+ provides free higher education courses in areas of identified skills needs to unemployed people, those previously self-employed and those returning to work. Courses will also be free for employed people on NFQ Level 6 courses. For employed participants on courses NFQ level 7 – 9, 90% of the course fee will be funded, with participants required to contribute just 10% of the fee.

Springboard+ allows you to bring your career to the next level – learn new skills, enhance your existing skills, get the promotion or job you’ve always dreamed of.

Springboard+ is managed by The Higher Education Authority on behalf of The Department of Education and Skills. Springboard+ is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.

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