Ever wondered how someone makes it as their own boss? What it takes to run your own business? Here at VIP, we love speaking to some of Ireland’s top business people to find out the secrets to their success.
We caught up with Nadine Burns, one half of the mother and daughter duo at Sealore Marine Botanicals.
Have you always dreamed of owning your own business?
Business is in my DNA. I used to dream of having a 9-5 job and my father would laugh at me and say “you only think that”. I am the 4th generation of business women. I am lucky that for me, seeing women in business was the norm.
Growing up in the family business I experienced first hand the level of work and sacrifices that you have to make in order to enjoy success. In my 20’s I was more interested in seeing the world. I was lucky to have been offered a teaching position in Japan in my mid 20’s, but upon returning to Ireland in 2015 I realised that my father was in fact correct, business was in my blood.
What have been your biggest challenges you have faced?
We have been incredibly lucky to have been supported by our Local Enterprise Office in Leitrim from the very beginning. My mother was a participant on the new frontiers program and we have received invaluable mentorship and training from their business mentoring program.
The challenges are numerous when starting out any business, and Sealore is no exception. We faced many challenges in relation to suppliers, equipment and finance, we have alway been able to pick up the phone and be supported though each one by our Local Enterprise Office.
How do you balance work/home life as a business owner?
To be honest it is very difficult to balance work and home life, this especially difficult when we are so passionate about what we do. We have wonderful support from our family and friends who are also genuinely interested in what it is we are trying to achieve. But as a mother of a 2 year old, I do have to establish a cut off point for work.
Do you find that you often bring your work home?
For us work is home. Every element of Sealore is in our homes. My mother’s home is the location for harvesting and drying seaweed. We manufacture, fill and package every Sealore product in the Sealore lab.
My home has also been transformed into a mini distribution center and office where the main administration duties are completed!
What advice would you give a young woman who wants to be her own boss?
I would advise her to take some personal time and make sure she knows her why? Be honest about her dreams and aspirations. Top of the list is to contact her Local Enterprise Office and discuss what advice and support they can offer. From here I would advise her to connect with a really good mentor or coach to help keep you on track.
What do you wish you’d known when you first started out?
That progress is not linear.
Developing a range of products from the initial concept through to product launch is a vast undertaking. There are 100’s of moving parts; the perfecting of formulations, organic certifications, cosmetic safety testing, and the rest of the administration that comes with manufacturing a cosmetic product that adheres to the wide range of regulatory standards for cosmetics on market in the E.U and U.K.
What has been your biggest business mistake? What lessons did it teach you?
At Sealore we try not to view our experiences as mistakes. Yes, we have had some trialing times, we produce a range of outstanding certified organic, natural products that not only help you achieve beautiful skin that support each body system.
We are in control of every step of the process, from harvesting the seaweeds and developing unique skincare ingredients. During this process we developed new methods of cosmetic production and of course there were instances where our attempts were less than satisfactory but we persevered and in the end the results exceeded our initial expectations.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Being just a two woman team we have developed a full range of products that are not only luxurious and delightful to use, but 100% based in green chemistry and deliver real results. We are most proud when we hear from our customers about the positive impact our products have had on the health of their skin and the beneficial effects this has had on their lives. While we make no claims to treat or cure skin conditions, we have received countless testimonials on the efficacy of the Sealore range.
What woman in business inspires you the most?
It is a very inspirational time to be a woman in business in Ireland today with so many outstanding female entrepreneurs. But the woman who has inspired me the most is my mother Dolores, the visionary founder of Sealore. She has shown uncompromising values from the beginning of Sealore. From the outset Dolores wanted to produce a highly efficacious product, made from 100% natural, functional ingredients which deliver the ultimate luxury experience.
On many occasions she was told that what she wanted to do wasn’t possible. When advised to include cheaper ingredients, empty fillers or synthetic alternatives in her formulations she refused! She opened her own doors, developing her own skills and knowledge to the point that she was able to develop her own processes in order to be able to produce a product of outstanding quality.
What are your plans for the next five years?
We are always developing and exploring new concepts at Sealore and have many exciting plans in development for the near future. Currently our main focus is to continue to grow Sealore by helping our customers achieve optimum skin health. We believe in education, that by providing true and accurate information, customers will be able to make the best choices for themselves and the planet.