The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. – Coco Chanel.
Chanel, Nars, Clarins and Benefit – these are just a few of the international cosmetic brands that every Irish woman stockpiles into her beauty bag. Last week, I interviewed Suzie O’Neill, creator of AYU Make Up who illustrated to us that home grown, Irish beauty tools could be manufactured to equally as high a standard as their foreign counterparts so, what about make up itself?
Let me introduce Siobhan Boyle, the “girl boss” behind Sculpt Cosmetics. Sculpt is a diverse brand who offer everything from in salon services at the “Sculpt Studio” in Co. Donegal to professional training courses at the “Sculpt Academy” to the sale of a diverse range of products online and in store, including their own brand formulas. Sounds like an awful lot of work for one woman, doesn’t it? Well, this week, I caught up with Siobhan to find out how she manages to juggle it all – with a 7 month old baby to boot!
- What inspired you to create and develop Sculpt Cosmetics?
As a make up artist of 12 years, I felt that there was not a mid-range brand that focused on giving women what they needed. Most brands tell us what we want, they don’t actually help us figure out what suits us. It grew from there! I opened up a make up studio and began offering training courses, finding that the demand was huge! I started my first training course and I knew it would work. I had a really extensive training, make up and professional background in this industry – I am a qualified trainer and assessor. Then, I started with a cosmetics range. That took me a year to perfect. Now almost 4 years later, I have a training school offering professionally accredited (by VTCT) courses, full services and a full make up retail store. It really has been an amazing journey but we’re not finished yet. We are currently looking for the right premises to offer a stand alone retail store focusing on make up and beauty products – an Irish Sephora!
- What does your typical day look like?
I will be honest, my life is crazy at the minute! I just married my husband, Barry, and we have a gorgeous baby, Gia, who is just 7 months old. We just moved into our new home and I am working full time! So I really don’t have typical day. I get up early with my baby girl Gia, the three of us have breakfast and then I start getting ready for work and getting Gia ready to go to her babysitter. Then, if I am not teaching my make up courses; I am in the studio and usually have clients for the majority of the day for make up, tanning, brows etc. I also do a lot of bridal make up and this is a much earlier start of about 6am and I always go to the brides venue to make it easier for her! Weddings are amazing to see from my side as an artist so I really enjoy those. Most weekdays, I teach night classes so I don’t get home until 10pm or after.
Sculpt is currently being transformed into a full-blown make up haven with my main focus set on turning our store into the ultimate make up boutique. I hope to make us the main shopping destination for make up junkies both online and offline, so I am am always researching the best stock for us and restocking. There is a lot of boring admin squeezed in everywhere too – not all make up is super glam! My job and lifestyle is tiring. So many people tell me I am crazy working how I do, but I love my work and the mixture of work I do – teaching, clients, retail and brides!
- Sculpt provide numerous “Personal Make Up Courses” for women who wish to improve their make up techniques. Can you tell us what make up technique you have found the most difficult to master?
When I started out in make up 12 years ago, I really struggled with not perfecting things and gave myself a very hard time. However, I learned that with practise and great patience, you can become better. My first proper job was in TV. I worked for TG4 as a trainee artist and I struggled with my timing as we were always under time constraints on set. It was the best training I ever had – directors do not wait for trainee artists, so I had to get better and I did.
- Do you take inspiration from other women in business and if so, who?
Oh, there are so many ladies that I admire. I am a huge Beyoncé fan. I am in awe of her rise to the very top of the world, from performing in local talent competitions. I also admire how private she is. In terms of the beauty industry, I have always loved Bobbi Brown. She started off her line of make up with just a few lipsticks and built an international brand based on enticing women to appreciate their own natural beauty! That is pretty amazing in my eyes. Marissa Carter is a huge Irish inspiration – she took the beauty and tanning industry on and rose to the top through hard work, knowledge and persistence!
In terms of bloggers, I absolutely respect the success of Suzanne Jackson (So Sue Me) and Joanne Larby (The Make Up Fairy) for showing that with self-belief, hard work and talent -anything is possible!
- Who is your style/beauty hero?
I adore Victoria Beckham’s fashion. It is sleek, sophisticated and practical (at times). I like clean lines, block colours, black, whites and neutrals for work so I envy her wardrobe in a big way. There are so many talented make up artists out there, I love Paula Callan’s make up artistry style – she loves to see skin look like skin. Skin looking stunning is my make up philosophy, so her work is a huge inspiration for me. I believe if you can build a look based on flawless skin, then everything that follows is bonus. I can’t but mention Pat Mc Grath here as her MAC campaigns from the noughties are what inspired me to get into make up in the beginning! That whole “MAC mania” era from 2001 – 2004 was like an addiction for me. I would go to Dublin a few times a year and pick up the art work that accompanied their ad campaigns to try and recreate them! Those were the days of internet dial up in my house so I couldn’t access things as quickly as I can now! I remember my first few MAC eye shadows were bright and fabulous – “Electrical Eel”, a bright blue and “Chrome Yellow”!
- At this very moment, what is in your handbag?
I have recently switched handbags to a bigger one to carry more bits – my other one was breaking! I have a large Longchamp tote so I can fit my laptop into it. Other than that; it holds my purse, keys, my notebook, pens, my make up bag and 7 lipstick & glosses (these are all nudes or pinks in a mixture of cream and matteformulas). I go through lip colour phases and I am in a nude phase now. Having my baby girl Gia means that I also have 2 dummies, a few bibs and a set of plastic rattle keys – all pink of course. My phone is usually in my hand so it never makes it into the bag!
- If you could only take three of your own brand’s products to a desert island, which three products would you choose?
Oh god, just three?? I’d definitely have Sculpt’s “Great Lengths Mascara” – essential to open up your eyes. The “6 Well Powder Palette” which has contour, blush and highlighter in it – that on his a bit of a cheat! And, the final item would be the Sculpt “Oil-Free Foundation” to keep the shine at bay and give me gorgeous coverage. That question was the most difficult to answer!!
- If you could give your 16 year old self some beauty advice, what would you say?
Be more confident in yourself and your look, individuality is beautiful! I would of liked to have given myself more confidence in general and allowed myself to believe in my own creativity. I found school very focused on the straight route to college and career. I would have preferred exploring what I wanted to do or was good at doing!
- With so many brands on the market at the moment, why should we choose to purchase Sculpt Cosmetics?
The beauty of my brand is that I truly won’t sell you anything you won’t use. I encourage clients to purchase what they actually need and what suits them, rather than what they think they need. This way, I build a relationship with my customers and people come back to me. I also built the brand based on what was missing from the Irish market. In Sculpt, we stock other brands as well as our own range. This allows you to browse various brands, should our own range not suit your needs. That is what really sets us apart from other beauty brands. We have various brands like Paese, Amazing Cosmetics, Flormar, Morphe, Dermalogica, Sleek, NYX, Sculpt, SOSU, Bellamianta Tan, theBalm and Lilly Lashes to name a few so if one thing doesn’t suit you then we can find something that will! We are constantly adding more and more brands so you have more choice.
- Any tips for aspiring business women?
GO FOR IT! Look to others for support and guidance – you cannot do everything yourself and must take help and guidance in areas that you struggle in.
Now, tell me. What do you think of the second post in our “Irish Girl Boss Series” and, who would you like to hear from next?