Brooke & Shoals' Alison Banton On Seizing The Moment

At December's IMAGE Networking Breakfast, we're talking about seizing the moment. In business, this can mean taking big risks and a (very occasional) leap of faith. But this is what happens on the road to success; we have to take chances, grab opportunities and get going while the going is good, because otherwise, how will we know what might have been?

Ahead of our Networking Breakfast in?The Marker Hotel Dublin on December 2nd, we had a quick chat with one of our speakers, Alison Banton, Founder & CEO of Brooke & Shoals Fragrances find out a bit more about why she decided to take that leap of faith:

Tell me about the moment you decided to set up Brooke & Shoals Fragrances, and went "that's it, I'm going to go for it"?

In 2010, in the middle of one of the worst recessions in decades, I decided to seize the day and set up Brooke & Shoals Fragrances. Nobody else thought it was the right time to start a business with premium fragrance products that certainly weren't necessities. However, I saw a gap in the market; people couldn't afford to go out as much as before, and they couldn't afford to buy the very expensive home fragrance products they had bought during the boom time. I believed that if they could get a good quality alternative that was Irish made at a reasonable price, they would still want to purchase it.

Briefly describe one of the standout pivotal moments in your career story?

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Prior to 2010, I had opened two gift boutiques, one in Greystones and also in Dundrum. But the recession had hit hard and caused the closure of my Dundrum store leaving me with debts that would take years to pay off. This was a pivotal moment for me as my original goal of having my own brand and a chain of my own retail shops was fading fast. I was disillusioned and feeling low. I am resilient by nature and always solution focused. So I knew that I would find a way forward.

Good or bad, how did this change your business journey?

At that point, life had handed me lemons and I had to turn it around to make lemonade. I listened to customer feedback and decided to take the bull by the horns and start another company and develop the home fragrance collection further so that I could wholesale it properly. I upskilled and learnt a lot about the fragrance industry and fragrance blending and created my own bespoke collection. I began to grow the range gradually from candles into reed diffusers and then body products.

Is there anything you'd go back and do differently now? Why?

I don't think I would change anything about my journey as an entrepreneur. I have learnt so much from both success and failure that will always stand to me.

?And what advice would you give to the woman hesitant to seize an opportunity?

I would advise other women not to wait for the perfect time if they are thinking of making a change in their lives. In fact, sometimes a negative life event can be just the impetus you need to seize the day, take control and just go for it. I think if I had never tried to create my own brand I might have had regrets, so I am very glad I did it.

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The IMAGE Networking Breakfast will take place at The Marker Hotel Dublin on December 2nd, where you will hear from three women who have taken leaps of faith, with fascinating outcomes. Join editor-in-chief Melanie Morris for a morning of insight, prizes and more.

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