Top Irish beauty brand, Millies, founded by Kildare born beauty therapist and entrepreneur, Joann Mahon, started with two salon-based services specialising in advanced skincare and professional products. Eleven years later, Millies.ie stocks over 100 Irish and international luxury brands and it’s the top Irish online platform for anyone looking for the best in skincare, haircare and wellness.
by Orlaith Melia
Tell us about your background and how you developed an interest in the beauty industry.
For me it was more so personal than it was a business idea. When I was 16, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries and I knew that was the reason that something was wrong was with my skin. That’s really where my love for skincare began. My Dad had Centra stores so I grew up working in retail and dealing with the public. I knew I wanted to merge my love of skincare with my retail experience but do it a little bit differently. I could see that using the right skincare made a huge difference to me so launching the business came from a personal need initially.
What characteristic has made you successful as an entrepreneur?
I think I’m very, very focused. If there’s something I feel like I can do, I will really focus on it and I don’t tend to steer too far from what it is that I want to achieve. I think the consistency part of it is always the hardest for people but I think once you can be consistent, you can make anything work. It goes across the board, providing a consistent service, sharing consistent information, it’s very important to me that we offer that to our customers.
What makes your business work?
Active communication and good leadership go hand in hand and are both a very important part of our business. We’re a completely female led business, with 35 women working in every area from the salons to our online operations managers. When the pandemic hit and it went into the first lockdown, everybody pulled together instantly and it really opened my eyes to how resilient women are. We have such an amazing group of women working with us and everybody is so strong in their own areas. We love to celebrate all the little wins and always make sure we have a bit of fun too. I think especially now it’s lovely to have the opportunity for women in our team who have children, to have the flexibility to work from home.
What makes Millies.ie different to other online beauty retailers?
I think because we came from the salon side of the business, we offer a lot more expertise. Millies is always led by knowing what our customers are looking for. People rely on recommendations from us, knowing that some of our staff have 15 years of experience in skincare. All the brands that we have under our clinical skincare or professional haircare are salon quality which makes them really stand out.
How do you think the pandemic has changed how people shop?
It’s unbelievable to see how people have changed how they shop and it’s lovely now to see so many older women who are shopping online for the first time. We really felt that the support people gave to Irish businesses was huge and the support we got from our customers was phenomenal. It’s not until you’re in a situation like a pandemic, that you really see how people support Irish business. For us, it was so important to support the Irish economy by supporting Irish brands.