Look at any successful businesswoman and you will discover how much they truly believe in themselves. Self-belief is probably the single most important trait possessed by any self-made woman. If you don’t believe you can succeed, then you won’t get very far.
To quote Mary Kay Ash who founded Mary Kay Cosmetics: “If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.” This was a woman who continued to build her business, just a month after her husband’s death.
Inspiring caught up with Susan Fox of Eden Beauty Group who distribute brand Casmara and owns and runs Eden Beauty Group. Since 2001, Eden have built their business on expertise, trust and friendship. Working with skin problems is of special interest to the team because they can improve both clients’ appearance and their quality of life. That’s why, year after year, they return while some clients travel for treatment at Eden. Every skincare product they distribute is tested personally by Susan and then by her team. The Casmara Dermocosmetic Laboratory was founded in 1974 bringing together over 40 years of high-tech cosmetic innovation. Their philosophy is simple, to offer effective skincare in an innovative way, through unique and exclusive formulas. The entire range is designed based on Commitment, Quality and Excellence.
How do you start your day?
I usually fall out of bed at 6.30am and the morning is spent making breakfast and school lunches for my 2 children. Family is always a priority first thing. They are both gone by 8am when I check e-mails and grab a cup of tea and my workday begins. You cannot rest on your laurels when you run your own business.
How do you end your day?
I lay on the floor every night and do a range of Pilates and strengthening exercises for my very dodgy back. Pilates helps me to relax and stretch out the stress of the day. Then I usually read for a while and then it is lights out by 11pm if possible. My day always starts early and sleep as I tell my clients is important.
What was your mission at the outset?
To become an industry leader in the beauty arena, to develop a business that would grow and develop over time, at a reasonable pace. To inspire and show the world that beauty is a serious business.
How did you come up with the name for your company?
That was easy, when we found the building, (we are still here 19 years later) it had a muddy lane as an entrance, and I decided to make it a little green oasis. One of my friends said it would be like a little Eden and hence the name choice. It is our very own piece of Eden.
How many employees do you have?
We currently have a team of seven fabulous women. I am very lucky to work with a team of women who love the beauty business as much as I do and treat my business as if it were their own. We are truly a dream team; we help and support each other. Confidence is essential if you want to win clients and build a profitable business. Confidence will win people’s respect, earn their trust and gain you a solid reputation.
How do you advertise your business?
That has evolved over the years first in local newspapers, then on radio and in the last number of years we have focused a lot on social media. We work with a Brand ambassador and influencers. However, I still feel a happy customer and word of mouth are the best advertisement you can get. We gain so many clients through referrals.
To what do you attribute your success?
Very hard work and huge determination. I am a cup half full person. Owning your own business is an emotional roller coaster and you must be prepared to learn from your mistakes and constantly evolve and move forward. It is a constant juggling act and takes focus and a huge amount of multi-tasking. My team are a huge part of this. The beauty industry is always changing, so you will constantly need to keep up and innovate. Successful entrepreneurs are always passionate about what they do because they tend to create businesses around the things they enjoy.
What are the most important services a business needs to utilise as a start up?
I have found the local enterprise board very helpful over the years. I have done everything from start your own business courses to digital marketing courses with them as well as getting support for launching our online store. Some of the women’s business forums and groups are also great. I also think that peers in your industry can be a fantastic support. I am in several What’s App groups with other salon owners who rather than treating each other as rivals offer each other huge support and advice. Never be afraid to ask someone you admire in business for advice. Empowered women empower women.
How do you best network?
I attend a lot of industry events, trade shows etc. We also do road shows where we bring our products to clients around the country. We will be in Cork on 16th Sept showcasing our ranges to the press and salon owners there. Face to face networking is my favourite kind, you get a feel for the person and their business.
How do you manage stress?
I am very good at switching off. I try to go for a walk every evening and I take regular mini breaks to keep me from burning out. I try to get a good 7-8 hours’ sleep and don’t drink during the week if possible. I read every night before going to sleep to calm my mind and when I do feel stressed, I remember to breathe through it. Pilates helps with breathing.
What ignited your spark?
I come from a family of entrepreneurial women, so I think it was bred in me. My grandmother had her own restaurant in the 50’s when it was very unusual for a woman to run and own her business. My Mum ran her own business for over 20 years. Those are two strong role models which were instrumental in my decision to start Eden. I always wanted to run my own business, I love the thrill of setting something up and hopefully watching it grow.
ell me about your best and worst days at work?
My best days at work are always centred around my clients. I get huge satisfaction when a client’s confidence soars after a course of treatments changes her skin and in turn how she feels about herself. There have been many bad day’s over the last 19 years particularly during the recession when I had to make very hard decisions which affected my team but were necessary to survive and ultimately grow the business. To be a successful entrepreneur you must believe in yourself and believe that what you are doing is making a difference. That strong sense of purpose will be reflected in your business, which will only stand the test of time. That makes a difference. Of course, there will be days when you feel like sticking your head in the sand. But when you’re feeling down, remember why you began in the first place. Remind yourself of all the things you’ve achieved. Stick at it because the next best win could be just around the corner.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I LOVE to travel, and we try to do one big trip and lots of little ones throughout the year. I am an avid reader; I love to cook, and I walk daily. I also enjoy the theatre and a good meal out.
Try to describe yourself in three words only? Strong, Determined, Ambitious.
How do you generate innovative ideas?
I listen to podcasts, read a lot of books, attend as many seminars and events relating to my business as possible and spend a huge amount of time researching new products, treatments and ideas. It is a 24/7 pursuit. I must stress though it’s not a chore. I am passionate about my work and it come naturally to me.
If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
I love history probably Czar Nicholas II the last Czar of Russia. I am fascinated by his story and I would love to hear why he made the decisions he did that ultimately led to the destruction of his family.