Mairead Ronan on making the career switch from broadcaster to beauty entrepreneur
Founder and CEO of FARO Mairead Ronan knows good hair, among many other things. Having earned her keep as a successful television broadcaster and personality, she focused her efforts on establishing her own niche beauty brand. FARO is a range of tangle-proof, fuzz-proof, fuss-proof hairbrushes designed for busy women (and men) who want to look and feel good in a jiffy. Her desire for this new business venture stemmed from the need to minimise time getting ready for early morning shifts. By partnering with distributor and product developer, Debbie Lawless, Mairead successfully launched FARO which is now stocked in shops and pharmacy’s nationwide. Mairead will be speaking about her career move at our next IMAGE Young Businesswoman’s Forum on 17th July, but before then, she sat down to answer some of our burning questions.
Thinking of switching your career, too? Get tickets for our IMAGE Young Businesswoman’s Forum on July 17th here
Have you always wanted to work in the beauty industry?
Honestly, no. But being my own boss was always something in the back of my head for years. Almost like Mrs Doyle whispering “go on, go on, go on”, I’d had some other ideas (not beauty related) but I didn’t have the balls to see them through. Like most things in life, it’s about timing and when I had the idea for FARO it felt right and I was far more confident to keep going with it.
Best piece of advice you ever received when setting up your own business?
I’m a bit of an oddball in the sense that I didn’t really get any advice before starting out. In fact, I told very few people about what I was doing. I only told my family that I’d started a business when the first 8,000 units had arrived in Dublin. Sometimes people want to help and they mean well but they can confuse you too and I really didn’t need anyone or anything confusing me at that time. Shortly after I launched FARO, Marissa Carter spoke about not following the money, and this is something that really resonated with me. With FARO, it has never been about the money for me and my business partner Debbie Lawless. FARO is about having a bloody brilliant blow-drying brush that every woman could use and experience great results. If I could offer advice it would be to make sure you’re doing what you’re passionate about it … and then the money thing happens naturally afterwards.
What was it like going from being a well-known face on Irish TV to a salesperson and CEO?
From early on I didn’t want to be the face of the brand. I wanted the brand to speak for itself, but this was naive of me because every new brand needs all the help it can get. Now I do bits and pieces, but I sometimes get a kick out of people saying “I didn’t know FARO was yours”. I was worried people would say “you’re not a hair stylist”, and they’re correct, but I have plenty of experience dealing with hair issues. I have difficult hair and lost a lot of hair after having two children. Also, I can’t afford to have a professional blow-dry every day so I understand at-home blow-drying.
What is your best achievement to date?
There was a huge sense of satisfaction (and relief) when we sold out of our first order. But over my career and life, I’ve loads of achievements that I’m very proud of. 1) Becoming a producer of a national radio show. 2) conquering my fear of LIVE television 3) Establishing and selling FARO around the country.
Dream person to see using a FARO brush?
I know this sounds cheesy, but I love love love getting messages from ordinary women from all over Ireland telling me how much they love their brush. It was developed for the everyday woman; whether she works full time or part time or stays at home with her kids. Naturally, though, I’d love to see Meghan Markle, Amal Clooney or Holly Willoughby use FARO.
Have you ever had a career mentor?
In my media career, I’ve had lots of people helping me out and giving me advice over the years. From Ray D’Arcy to Anton Savage in radio and in TV Darren Smith (of Kite Entertainment). Dara O’Briain has also been so helpful to me. But in Business, I haven’t had a mentor … I would LOVE one so if anyone is reading this and thinks they can help me, email me at [email protected]
How do you switch-off?
I’m pretty bad at it .. usually my husband Louis says ..”okay, phones away” in a very gentle tone. He reminds me to be present. So if it wasn’t for him I’d be “on” 24/7 and would probably be a bit of a nutter.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still enjoying FARO as much as I do now, but by then we’ll have more products in our range and I’ll also be a mum of 3 (and who knows maybe 4 kids!).