Bellamianta is this little tan-loving country’s most loved luxury tanning product and ahead of their official launch today in Brown Thomas, hardworking mums Linda Stinson (33) and Lisa McDermott, (36) share their career lessons and their story.
1. FIND YOUR NICHE
We both formerly worked in retail – that’s where we met and we just instantly hit it off professionally – and we spoke to customers on a daily basis and knew exactly what women wanted, which is the best product for their budget. We had noticed how skincare had taken a very firm direction towards cleaner ingredients and we knew that people genuinely cared about what they put on their skin but didn’t necessarily want the often hefty ‘organic’ price tag. We began to work on a skincare line, always intending to create a tan as part of the range. We quickly realised that there was no other tan that was ‘clean’ on the market and we took all of that skincare knowledge and put it into what’s now Bellamianta. We pride ourselves on our ethos which is affordable luxury, while using the cleanest ingredients and never compromising on performance.
2. HUSTLE HARD
We have always taken pride in our work regardless of what role we were in and we wanted to grow our skills to be the best we could be. We always had an entrepreneurial goal so for the two of us, it was more about when we were going to take the leap of faith, rather than if we would do it.
3. IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME?
We were always 100% confident in our product, we spent two years developing and refining the formula to what you see now. But even with that confidence it really hard to know how other people will feel about your brand. We were really lucky to get a huge amount of support around Ireland from retailers, bloggers and beauty experts and the brand wouldn’t be where it is now without them.
4. MISTAKES ARE ON THE STEPS OF SUCCESS
Honestly, a great product is made by trial and error; with a lot of mistakes you’ll get it right.
5. A WORK/LIFE BALANCE IS KEY
We both worked full time while creating Bellamianta; it was long hours and time away from our children and although we knew ultimately we were doing it for our families it was extremely difficult. Finding balance between family and work is really difficult and can be impossible at times. Any mother whether they work outside the home or not juggles everyday; you just become extremely good at prioritising and making lists!
6. CELEBRATE THE BIG MOMENTS
One of the biggest highlights for us, so far, was selling out of the mousse just a few days after launching. It was totally unexpected and so rewarding.
7. FIND THE RIGHT PARTNER
The best explanation for our partnership is that we pick our battles; we have very different personalities, strengths and weaknesses but we both completely trust each other’s judgement. At the moment we’re both a jack of all trades but as the company grows we are naturally taking ownership of the parts of the business our skills marry up to. If Linda wasn’t in cosmetics she would be in the FBI, she has amazing gut instinct and is very creative. I (Lisa) tend to be more pragmatic and detail-orientated but we are both very results driven and hardworking. The great thing is the fact that we are both very family orientated and support each other’s lives away from Bellamianta too.
8. NEVER STOP LEARNING
The amount of new skills you gain from running your own business is phenomenal. Coming from a cosmetics business background we had some skills and knowledge of the operating procedures for retail however that doesn’t prepare you at all for being completely accountable for every aspect of a brand from product development to having it listed in a store to having customer awareness of your product. Everyday is a school day and every person you meet has something to teach you. We love learning new skills so that’s a huge part of what keeps us motivated.
9. THIS IS A NEW DAWN FOR BUSINESS WOMEN
We honestly think there is a fundamental change in women’s attitudes at the minute; in years gone by, business – particularly start-ups – were dominated by men but now women seem to not only have a huge number of the successful Irish start-ups but we are getting the top jobs in international firms and really making the work environment more gender-equal. It’s fantastic to see and we believe Ireland leads the way. We only have to look at how many successful women we have across all sectors to see how many inspirational women we have on our own doorstep.
10. LEAD FROM THE FRONT
A great leader for us is someone who leads by example, who positively motivates and appreciates their team. It’s someone who doesn’t have to know everything, but who knows how to inspire people and learn from the people around them.
Can you sum the Bellamianta Recipe For Entrepreneurial Success in three parts?
1 – Believe in yourself, you can do it. 2 – Research and get advice from as many people as possible. 3 – Have a plan; know your niche and know your market.