04 Dec 2015 | 09.10 am
Niamh Hogan Conquers The Fear Factor
Holos Skincare founder reinvents herself
04 Dec 2015 | 09.10 am
Niamh Hogan knew nothing about the beauty industry until she found herself in it. The founder of Holos Skincare practiced natural health therapy for 12 years before launching the skincare line. She worked in massage, reflexology and aromatherapy, where she found herself using the same essential oils again and again for her clients.
“I was blending them to treat things stress, anxiety, low-mood, low-energy — all those issues,” she recalls. “And I was using the same blends of oils all the time and seeing how they enriched people’s lives.”
How It Started
Niamh brainstormed about how to get people to use more essential oils in their daily lives. She began blending for hand creams and then some face creams. Through trial and error, Niamh was in the beauty industry. “It just kind of happened to me rather than me making it happen.”
Holos Skincare officially launched in January 2014. The products are hand-manufactured, packaged and distributed by Niamh and her sole employee. “I’ve come into the beauty industry from a health background, so I’m bringing all of that together, because I very much believe that health and beauty are naturally entwined. If you’re healthy, you’ll be beautiful.”
Niamh started the line by investing every penny in buying and testing ingredients. She wound up with a range of products and no money to distribute them, at which point she sought funding from her Local Enterprise Office, a bank loan and various grants.
“There’s loads there — you just have to fill in the forms and have the right criteria,” she says.
Holos Skincare isn’t Niamh’s first venture. In 2008, she left full-time employment to establish her own health clinic. “There was always someone above me and I could never fully do what I wanted to do.” That venture was downsized during the recession, when Niamh learned about the importance of asking for help.
“In my first business, I didn’t ask for help because I thought I knew everything.
“But if I had asked for help, or taken the help people were offering me for free, I would probably have had a much more successful business.”
With Holos Skincare, she’s learning to walk the walk and talk the talk. “I was putting myself in a position where I could be rejected at every point along the way. Even going for funding — that was terrifying. I think fear of rejection is part of human nature, and I was putting so much into it that I had fear all the time.”
Dealing With Fear
Niamh coped with that fear factor by finding support. “I think everyone needs someone who believes in them when they don’t believe in themselves,” she muses. For Niamh, it’s her partner, Paul Hickey, who consistently reminds her of the big picture when she gets bogged down by smaller problems.
Niamh also found solace through networking with peers via Acorns, a network for female entrepreneurs in rural Ireland. “Speaking to people who are at the same level and want the same things as you do, and just hashing it out, is really beneficial. And it dispels the fear of it when you see everyone else has the same issues.”
Next year, Niamh hopes to expand Holos Skincare to the UK and start making plans for the US. “It’s all or nothing,” she declares.