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 Claire Brett, owner and creator of Dublin Herbalists.
Have you always dreamed of owning your own business?
I knew at some stage during my twenties that I didn’t want to work for anyone else, and that I would have to make things happen for myself. I did many different jobs in various industries until I was about 30 and then once I was a qualified Herbalist and Naturopath, I started consulting and making creams on the side. This snowballed and “Dublin Herbalists” was born. I have never looked back!
What have been your biggest challenges you have faced?
There are daily challenges when running one’s own business, and I think the key is to stay calm and write lists. Many lists. Challenges are fun, it is where the growth happens. Nothing is too difficult when you break it down and have the right team around you.
How do you balance work/home life as a business owner?
I love what I do and get such enjoyment and pleasure from my work, that it (often, not always!) doesn’t feel like work, and so I move between roles and tasks fluidly at this stage. I live across the road from the office and that helps a lot. In fact, the entire Dublin Herbalists team lives within a 1km radius from the office, and this enables us all to have a fantastic balance
in our lives.
Most of us have more than one child and there are often one or two in the office due to some reason or another. We are very flexible when it comes to family and childcare issues, and this offers us all a great safety net and support network too. This is priceless for working parents.
Do you find that you often bring your work home?
All the time. However, being a mum of 3, I am pretty good at multitasking at this stage and I enjoy the fast pace! I get bored easily and hate not having things to do. This is my personality, I am not glorifying being busy, I can happily switch off when I want to. This is one of the joys of being my own boss, because I know how and when I want to work and when I don’t.
What advice would you give a young woman who wants to be her own boss?
Go for it! Trust yourself and keep going, even when it feels really difficult. If you enjoy what you are doing and are passionate, you will find a way!
How important of a role do your team play in your business?
Team is everything. We have an incredible group of ladies working at Dublin Herbalists. I am acutely aware of my failings and my team picks up where I leave off. We all compliment each other and are good friends. Many a discussion is had and problems solved over a glass of wine in the evenings!
What do you wish you’d known when you first started out?
Ignorance is bliss really, it is best not to know, just start.
What has been your biggest business mistake? What lessons did it teach you?
When we first ordered cartons (boxes for the products) we got the dimensions wildly wrong, and ended up with huge boxes! This was a very costly mistake and taught us so much. The lesson is to check and double check and ask all the questions. There is no such thing as a silly question!
What has been your biggest achievement?
Last year (2021) I gave birth to my 3rd child and of course being a mother, I think that my biggest achievements are my beautiful children! Professionally, Dublin Herbalists released 10
new lines which was a mammoth achievement during such uncertain times. From formulating to sourcing ingredients and also designing packaging for not one but ten new lines, I feel that 2021 was a huge year. I am actually not too sure how we did it, but we did!
What woman in business inspires you the most?
I really admire Jo Malone- her entire life story and the passion she has for building businesses. She encourages one to appreciate all one’s life experiences- the good, the bad and the ugly- as an opportunity for growth, and has been a trailblazer in the fragrances arena for many years.
What are your plans for the next five years?
Firstly to keep enjoying what we are doing here at Dublin Herbalists. To keep innovating and having fun. To buy and move into a bigger building because we are bursting at the seams right now. To expand our bathroom range and to keep our customers excited with new face products that we ourselves (the team and I) enjoy using.
Follow Dublin Herbalists at @dublinherbalists and check out the full range at dublinherbalists.ie