A Ballymartin couple have turned their dreams into a reality by setting up their own natural skin care company thanks to the help and support of the Go For It Programme, in association with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
The project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.
Olivia O’Reilly and her husband Seamus were inspired to start ‘Freedom Cosmetics’ in 2020 with a desire to create products that are safe, nourishing, and free from harmful chemicals, additives and plastics.
“It all came about after a wonderful retreat we went on; I’ve always had a passion for skincare because I don’t really wear make-up. Then Covid hit so I had the time to make it and spend time researching.
“Starting my own business is something I’ve always wanted to do as I’ve always wanted to have the power to come and go as I please in the workplace – also having a young child, I wanted to be able to have more control over when I see him, so it gave me more freedom.
The busy mum of one says the past year has been very, very busy but has described her new business venture as a dream come true thanks to the Go For It Programme. Delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies.
Olivia said: “The best thing about owning my own business is being able to make decisions yourself. I am able to run the business the way my dream is and not somebody else’s dream.
“We got in touch with the Go For It Programme online, my husband Seamus found it, filled in the forms and went from there.
“We had a lot of great ideas but we spoke with Liam and he was able to focus us in on what we really wanted to do, how to get the business out there and advice around funding so it was very beneficial for us. It is an experience I have found very enjoyable.”
Liam Quinn, Business Adviser at Newry and Mourne Co-Operative Enterprise Agency said: “The Go For It Programme is available for anybody wanting to start a small business. They will come to the Enterprise Agency and the real output of the programme is to help them put together a business plan.
“Olivia and her husband Seamus were passionate about the business from the very start. It’s the type of business which fits in well with todays climate debate – they use 100% natural products. It is fantastic to see Freedom Cosmetics growing and expanding in the UK and Ireland.”
Cathy Mason, Councillor at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said: “I am absolutely delighted that Freedom Cosmetics is now up and running. Olivia and Seamus have put in so much hard work and it is really good that it is in the heart of the Mourne Mountains here in the district. “It is vital that we have local entrepreneurs like Olivia and Seamus operating here in the district not only for the local economy and the investment it brings but also for local job creation. The Go For It Programme has been an excellent support to businesses right across the district and I would encourage anyone that has a business idea to contact the team at Go For It.