Rachel O’Riordan Introduces her Fabulous Startup!
Forever Fabulous founder Rachel O’Riordan talks to Startups.ie about her exciting new business!
Company: Forever Fabulous
Founders: Rachel O’Riordan
Based: Greystones, Co. Wicklow
Staff Number: 1
Date started: Jan 2012, Official launch of website on 31st May
Tell us what your business does?
www.ForeverFabulous.ie is Ireland’s newest Online Boutique! Stunning crystal jewellery, darling accessories, super stylish clutches, “must have” handbags and a professional skincare/tanning range. Our gorgeous range is unique and exclusive to Forever Fabulous. What more could a girl want?
A Forever Fabulous Private Party? Treat your girlfriends, get dolled up for that big night out or simply enjoy a night in to choose from our delicious range of jewellery, accessories, clutches and handbags with your own in-house boutique! We set up and you shop! Have a jewellery and Handbag Party at home, at work, events and birthday parties or simply for something different. Our private parties are simple, fun & best of all the hostess incentive is Fabulous!
Forever Fabulous also offers a professional Make Up and Beauty Service. Our professional make-up artist and beauty specialist will come to you for weddings, hen parties, special occasions, events and nights out. We offer Wedding Packages with bespoke looks and prices to suit everyone.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I spent a long time thinking about what type of business I wanted to run, I am a professional trainer with Junior Achievement Ireland and have been in this role for over 6 years now we teach a lot around business and enterprise, so setting up a business has always been at the back of my mind, I am also a beauty therapist and freelance make -up artist so I really wanted combine all of my loves and passions into one business, we all know if you do something you are very passionate about it never feels like hard work. I did not want to open a beauty salon so I decided to provide a ‘good and a service’ and combine an online Jewellery and accessories boutique with my professional make- up service, a one stop shop if you like. After a lot of thought into the name and type of brand I wanted Forever Fabulous was born.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes I have always wanted to work for myself and be my own boss, when I was on maternity leave in 2010 I realised that I had changed and I needed to adapt my career, I want to be with my children as much as possible while also keeping a career and my sanity alive so I used this time to research my business idea.
What planning did you do before you started up?
As soon as I decided on the name Forever Fabulous I registered the name and bought the domain, I then researched all of my suppliers and formed my contacts, looked at the markets in Ireland and the UK and carried out some market research. I also up skilled my make-up artist qualifications.
I hired a graphic designer to create my logos and my brand. I wanted an extremely professional website that mirrored who I am and also tied in with my logos, I did not want to start with a simple site and build from there, I wanted the best from the start and I was very lucky to know my talented web designer Andreas Hartung from Apastron Design who understood my vision form the start. Cash flow was also another problem; I did not want to get a loan and start off in debt and knew the banks would not be very willing, so I saved a small amount to get things started.
Which entrepreneurs do you admire?
I admire women in business, I think they are fantastic, I have met some amazingly strong, driven and ambitious women over the last few months who juggle families and have created their own business’ to give themselves an income and a better family life, I am in aw of what women can achieve and how versatile we are, women do not get enough credit in this industry.
I also admire Norah Casey; she is a brilliant business woman and speaks her mind.
What challenges have you faced how have you overcome them?
It has been a lot of hard work, I went back to work after maternity leave four full days a week, so I work all day and then on the business every night and all weekends. It has been a hard slog juggling spending time with the children and getting the business going along with keeping a full time job too. I have a very supportive husband who also works very hard and I am very lucky. I hope in time to work at the business full time and create a better work life balance and be with my family more.
How have you promoted your business?
I wanted to create a buzz around the business so in Jan 2012 I set up the Facebook and twitter pages and started to grow a fan base around the brand, I was talking make up bookings straight away and building a client/customer base. I also held a couple of competitions to build fans.
I wanted to launch the business in a big way so I arranged the official launch night 31st May in VIP Bar of Suite 54 in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. I set the whole Forever Fabulous Boutique up and beamed a video of the website on to the main wall. A make-up artist carried out free make overs for guests and the wine flowed! I wanted press around the launch so I hired Marc O’Sullivan a press photographer, we held a press call with Irish model Michelle McGrath that morning and set up a photo area for the social and personal photos of all the guests that night. I wanted VIPS to attend and Orla Breslin from Cars Love Girls, Joanne Larby model and blogger and Jessica Gallagher model all in attended. I received press in the Daily Mirror, Evening Herald, Irish Daily Mail, The Tallaght Echo and various blogs. I also write the beauty pages in Irish Parent Magazine and held a competition in the June issue. This all created sales and a new customer base. I have just taken out a full page ad in Debs Ireland Magazine and website and I have created a store on Advers.ie. I have also been showcasing at wedding fairs and markets to help get my name our there.
Are you optimistic about the remainder of 2012?
I am excited about the future and the new doors that are opening for me and the business. I have made a lot of new business contacts through networking groups and made some new friends. I am just going to keep working hard and pushing my brand, I have come this far and do not want to give up now! I might hire a PR company and look into a bigger advertising campaign in the near future. I look forward to what the future holds.