Bia Beauty, Feed your skin!
Bia Beauty is a range of natural skin care products. They are created from simple food ingredients by a qualified Herbal Scientist.
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The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you
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Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?
From a very young age I've been passionate about plants; growing them, studying their therapeutic use, discovering their scents, making products from them and cooking and eating them! If I'm out walking I usually have my head stuck in a plant identifying it and figuring out what it can be used for.
This passion has carried on right throughout my life. I studied Organic Horticulture and Sustainable Development in my twenties. I recently graduated with a first class honours degree in Herbal Science. This was a real achievement for me as I gave birth to my son just as my final year started.
When I'm not working on my business I love to be outdoors, on my allotment or walking in the amazing Irish countryside. My love of nature has always inspired me and in return I do my utmost to protect the environment around me. I've volunteered with many environmental groups, from local campaigns to cleaning lakes to teaching children about native Irish trees.
It's this blend of experience, educational qualification and interest in natural products that my business grew from.
During the final year of my four year degree in Herbal Science we were asked to make, market and sell a natural product as part of an Innovation module. I created a 100% natural moisturiser and sold it locally at farmers markets and craft fairs. The response to my product was so positive that I continued making and selling it long after the project had ended. I discovered that I really enjoyed the marketing and sales aspect. What a surprise that was, I hated all the business subjects at school!
I then won an internship in The Rubicon (Business Incubator Centre) based on my idea for a range of natural skin care products. During this internship I wrote my business plan, explored my idea and learned a lot about running a business. From this I was accepted onto The Rubicon’s highly successful PINC Programme, an intensive business course for women who want to take their business idea to the next level. Here I learned all about the legality of running a business, how to keep accounts, how to carry out market research, how to build a brand. I even won an award for the best sales pitch on our final presentation day!
So that's my journey to where I am today, just preparing to launch my business in the coming weeks.
I'm passionate about my idea for natural skin care products because I'm passionate about plants, people and the environment. Our skin absorbs up to 60% of what we apply to it. And so if "we are what we eat" then our skin is also what it eats. I want to make beautiful, natural and effective skin care products from simple, natural food ingredients. The name Bia Beauty comes from Bia, the Irish word for food. I want to encourage people to feed their skin with natural and healthy skin food such as nut and seed oils, cocoa, avocado, mango butter, herbs, essential oils etc. Because of my dedication to environmental protection my business will be run in a sustainable, ethical environmentally aware manner.
I believe that I have the personal skills necessary to realise my vision for Bia Beauty. Throughout my life I have shown courage, determination and leadership which I am now applying wholeheartedly to my business.
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Irlanda, CK, Cork
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La necesidad: ¿Cuál es el problema que tratas de solucionar?
A lot of skin care products contain irritants that are harsh on the users skin and on the environment. And there's the use of petrochemicals, synthetic colours and perfumes, the use of animal products, animal testing and issues with packaging to consider.
"The ecological footprint left behind by the manufacturing and distribution of cosmetics and fragrances has been dismal," says Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the NRDC.
Consumers need to learn more about feeding their skin. Our skin absorbs up to 60% of what we apply to it and so "if we are what we eat" then our skin is also what it eats. Nut, fruit and seed oils and butters are really beneficial for the skin when used properly.
And the people who grow and harvest these ingredients need to be paid a fair wage.
La solución: ¿Cuál es tu solución? Sé específico.
Bia Beauty is a range of natural skin care products with a difference.
-they are created using simple, natural food ingredients; fruit extracts, nut and seed oils, cocoa, mango, avocado butters,native Irish herbs, essential oils
-they are researched and developed by a qualified Herbal Scientist. I use my knowledge and experience to create products that are highly effective
-all products are 100% natural
-Bia Beauty is a truly green company, packaging is recycled and recyclable, all plant waste is composted, waste is kept to a minimum and recycled where possible.
-Bia Beauty is a socially conscious company, local business and charities are supported, exotic ingredients are bought through a supplier that "constantly monitors the market to search, demand and consequently supply more organic, natural and ethically sourced materials". For example the Shea butter I buy from them comes from a women's collective in Ghana. Once Bia Beauty grows I will buy direct from initiatives like this.
El Modelo: Muéstranos a través de un ejemplo específico cómo tu solución hace una diferencia, incluye tus actividades primarias
I buy my exotic raw materials from Aromantics, a company in the UK. They have a detailed Natural, Organic, Ethical and Fairly traded Purchasing Policy. As they say themselves "We give priority to raw materials that have been fairly traded or ethically sourced from traditional communities, modern community projects or co-operatives. This demand encourages and rewards growers to use organic and co-operative/community principles in their production, to be more ecologically aware and to ask for a fair deal when selling their produce. This in turn affects the cosmetics market and so consumers’ awareness and demand for such products. It is a positive cycle of change that respects nature and people and improves the ability of future generations to sustain themselves." As soon as Bia Beauty expands and can buy direct from growers or growers collectives I will have a similar purchasing policy.
El mercado: ¿Quiénes son tus pares y competidores? Identifica a otros que también estén trabajando para dar respuesta a las necesidades que tú abordas y en qué te diferencias de ellos. ¿Cuáles son los desafíos que estos jugadores podrían representar para tu éxito o crecimiento?
My main competitors are Trilogy, Burt's Bees, Dr. Hauschka, Lush, The Body Shop, to name just a few! What differentiates Bia Beauty is the Feed Your Skin message. I want people to understand the importance of putting good quality natural products on your skin. I want to create a link between food and skin care. I also feel that my qualifications, which I promote on my packaging and promotional material will set me apart, I want to become the "skin care guru". And also I want Bia Beauty to be known as a company you can trust, if we say products are 100% natural, then they are. If we say we are a green, socially conscious company, then we are.
Select the stage that best applies to your business
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What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?
Its important for my business that I be seen as a "skin care guru". In order to do this I have been giving radio interviews and teaching classes in skin care. As a result I have been able to spread my "feed your skin" message and talk about my desire to create a sustainable and socially conscious business.
I have also supported my local community in various ways. For example I gave skin care classes recently at "The Girls's Club". The Girls Club Cork is a voluntary cancer support group for women who have or have had cancer and their carers, families and friends.
Through these classes and other promotional work I want to change people's attitudes to skin care and cosmetics. I also want to be a positive example to other businesses.
What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?
As my main competitors are hugely successful brands with enormous budgets for marketing, my much smaller budget will be a hindrance. However I am doing all I can to overcome this. I have received funding from my local Enterprise Board for marketing. I also attend business seminars on getting free PR and marketing. I plan to make the most of social media and any opportunity I get to tell a story to the media will not be wasted. Also I feel that my business has a unique angle to it, feeding your skin. This will help me capture peoples imaginations and excite their interest.
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?
My financial projections are to make €59,500 in sales in Year 1 with a net profit before tax of €16,700, €116,800 in sales in Year 2 with a net profit of €7,600 and €176,900 sales in Year 3 with €28,800 in net profit. I have financial support from my local Enterprise Board as well as business mentor-ship. I plan to create one full time and two part-time jobs within the first three years.
My business is a "for profit" business but it is my sincere desire that my local community, my suppliers both in Ireland and abroad and my customers benefit from the success of my business.
Environmental sustainability will come about through my waste policies, packaging policies etc. I aim to build the first environmentally friendly cosmetics factory in Ireland.
Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?
I think social entrepreneurship takes qualities from both charity and business. People in developing countries are looking for something more than charity. They are looking to be treated with respect and given the same chances that we in more developed countries have been given. And I think that unfortunately a lot of business is self-serving only and fails to support its local community. Social entrepreneurship takes the positive from both, the caring aspect of charity with the innovation and efficiency of business. Social entrepreneurship is the way forward for the developing world, a chance to trade on a level playing field, the promotion of economic freedom. Its about people not liking the system that they see in place and so taking positive steps to change it, allowing people in the developing world to be part of the change and control the change, not just recipients. I read that social entrepreneurship is dreaming combined with doing!
What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?
What I would find rewarding and fascinating would be to see how Ben and Jerry's have made an impact on the farming cooperative and community by trading fairly with them. Then I could use this as a model for my business, vanilla is also a raw material that I use in my business!
The challenge I would say will be trying to take as much as possible from the experience, to take home the message of fair trade and the difference that business can make and to spread this in my local community.