Interview: Jane Swarbrigg, Director of Inglot

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THE STYLE EDIT Editor Jenny Taggart talks to entrepreneur, businesswoman and director of INGLOT cosmetics Jane Swarbrigg

How did you become involved in the cosmetics industry?

I always had a great passion for make-up and beauty – but actually studied marketing – my second love, in college. When my mum Geraldine sold her previous business (Vero Moda) we decided to partner up and were lucky enough to come across Inglot.

I was delighted to combine my two passions, and studied make-up in Dublin before opening our first store in July 2009.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I was always animal-mad and wanted to be a vet from a young age. However I’m actually really squeamish so Veterinary Medicine was out of the question in the end. I was especially drawn to Inglot as it was one of the few make-up companies who did not test their products on animals!

Your mother is a very inspirational woman and recently won a prestigious award for her entrepreneurship. How much of an influence has she had on you growing up?

I learnt everything I know from my mum, she’s the best in the business. My brother and I travelled the country with her opening stores as children, so we literally grew up in the retail business. My mum and dad instilled a great worth ethic in us from a young age – I’m sure that’s why we’re both so driven today!

What advice would you offer to young females who are hoping to start up their own business?

Keep searching until you find the right product or business for you – and make sure it is something you are truly passionate about. The next step is seeking out the right people. Finding individuals who are just as passionate about your business is the key to success in my eyes – as a happy team is the key to a truly successful business.

Has the industry changed at all since you started out in business?

Yes it has become much more competitive which has spurred me on to be even more innovative and creative with our ideas. The appetite for beauty in Ireland is really phenomenal and it’s incredible to be a part of this ever-evolving industry.

You combine online micro-blogging with a busy career as an entrepreneur, how do you balance work and blogging with a social life?

It took me a few years to figure out that I’m much more productive when I’m feeling revived and have a fresh head. I used to work crazy hours when the business first started and literally couldn’t switch off. I’ll be the first to admit I was addicted to my Snapchat when it first became popular!

Now I try to have a cut off time in the evenings when the phone and laptop are put away. I relax by going to the gym or watching a good movie. I also love my little breaks away – long weekends in the sun are the best tonic for complete R&R!

As the business grew so did our head office team and support network at Inglot. So I’m lucky that I have a team that I trust completely and can happily switch off when I need to.

What’s the biggest misconception about you?

Social media can be pretty deceiving and tends to paint a perfect, if slightly inaccurate picture of life. I don’t share as much personal information as I used to and don’t go online that often if I’m not in the best of form, as I want my sharing space to be mainly positive – as well of course as sharing business related posts. In reality my life isn’t that glamourous and I’m a bit of a granny who loves cosy nights in with my cat!

Favourite city in the world?

New York, of course!

Favourite hotel?

The Obama Resort in Tenerife

Best holiday you’ve ever been on?

A ski holiday with ten of my best friends. Fun on the slopes followed by Apres Ski – what more could you want?! I would highly recommend for everyone to try a ski holiday once, they are so much fun!

The Vice?


The Virtue?

I live a pretty healthy lifestyle and aside from the chocolate, look after myself with good food and plenty of exercise.

Your perfect weekend includes:

Simple… family, friends and good food! I’m a real home bird and try to get home to Mullingar, where my family and best friends live, as often as I can. Quality time for me is catching up with loved ones, be it a girly night or dinner and chats with my family. To make it really perfect I’d whisk us all away to the sun if I could.

You’re stranded on a desert island, what four beauty products would you want to have with you?

All Inglot products of course! Our SPF Primer, Refreshing Mist and Rich Care Lip Balm (with SPF 30) to keep my skin and lips hydrated. Lastly, volume and waterproof mascara – just in case I stumbled across a beach party!

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

I’ve had some tough times in my personal life that I’ve gotten through with the support of my family and friends. They all offer the same solid advice: trust your gut and don’t settle for anything less than you deserve.

“Trust your gut and don’t settle for anything less than you deserve”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

As hard as it is, try not to sweat the small stuff! I’ve always been a bit of a worrier and I’m gradually learning that things don’t always pan out as you hoped, but as one of my favourite songs goes: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you’ll get what you need”.

Any regrets?  

I do wish I worked harder in school and college and really applied myself. I was hyper and the ultimate messer, so I’d love to see what I could achieve if I did it all with a wiser head on my shoulders. School for me was about the craic, but thankfully it all worked out in the end.

What three tools (apps, books, podcasts, etc) would you recommend to anyone starting their own business?

One of my favourite podcasts is ‘Girlboss Radio’ by Sophie Amorusa. I’ve discovered a lot of inspirational women via the podcasts which are insightful and never boring! Any part time blogger would find the ‘Day One’ app helpful. It allows you to journal and stores your notes as well as pics, dates, times and even weather data. You can back it all up to your laptop which is super handy. I recently read a really sassy book by Sarah Knight called ‘You Do You’, it touches on business but is more so about confidence and owning what you do. I felt really empowered after reading it!

What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?

Over the last ten years I have grown so much as both a leader and a businesswomen and know I will never stop learning. Every week brings new challenges but I now feel capable of tackling any business related issues and try not to let difficult times phase me. With time I’ve become increasingly solid and confident in my role, always aiming to be firm, but fair in my approach. We are all human and make mistakes, but the key is not to dwell on them – simply learn from your errors and work hard to ensure the pattern doesn’t repeat itself.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I hope I’ll be running a much larger, successful and multinational Inglot while being settled with a family of my own and living a balanced happy life.

What plans do you have you in store for Inglot in 2018?

We have huge plans for the future as we continue to grow our business in Ireland and Northern Ireland – and hope to emulate what we’ve achieved here in the UK. We have a number of exciting new products in the works and I’ve endless ideas for our teams, including a host of new opportunities for them. The Inglot Event Team is going to be even bigger and better in 2018, and we are hosting the first Annual Inglot Awards this Spring. It’s something I’m hugely excited about as we’re going to have categories for both Inglot and non-Inglot make-up artists and make-up lovers alike.

Watch this space, 2018 is going to be another stellar year for Inglot!

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