Aimee Connolly’s successful Sculpted by Aimee cosmetic brand has gone from strength to strength since she started her own business over five years ago. She talks about her Going for Growth journey.
Going for Growth, a programme jointly run by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, assists ambitious women entrepreneurs to achieve their growth ambitions.
So far more than 850 Irish women entrepreneurs have participated in the award-winning programme, including Áine Kerr of Kinzen. The 14th cycle of Going for Growth reported significant results for its 57 participants. Combined turnover increased from €35m at the start of the cycle to €43m by the end, a 23% increase in just six months.
“Educating people on the brand is very important and this approach allows the company to be really dynamic, offering tutorials and point-of-sale opportunities to our customers”
Going for Growth is now inviting ambitious women entrepreneurs to take part in its 15th cycle with the deadline for applications set for Friday 18 November.
Sculpted by Aimee
Aimee Connolly began her working life at the age of 16 during her transition year when she became a makeup artist and her passion for cosmetics grew from there.
“Susan Spence, Louise Phelan and Breege O’Donoghue were my three amazing leads and I just can’t rate them and the programmes highly enough”
With a degree in Commerce and French as well as her experience in the beauty industry, she spotted a market opportunity for a makeup product specifically designed to suit all ages and skin types that simplified the makeup process.
So, with six years of experience in makeup and four years of business, she thought “let’s merge these two together and let’s work for myself”, which is just what she did, with the philosophy of “not over-thinking it and just going with my gut.”
Aimee’s successful Sculpted by Aimee cosmetic brand has gone from strength to strength since she started her own business over five years ago. From her first product launch, which was a 3-in-1 Sculpted Highlighter and Shader palette, packed at her own kitchen table, she now has over 160 products available and has sold 2m units to date. Her team now comprises 25 people and the business sells a wide range of makeup brushes, lipsticks, palettes, eyelashes, foundations, and instant tans.
The company has an omni-channel approach with products stocked in 350 stores across Ireland, as well as its own website sculptedbyaimee.com. While the pandemic escalated the online channel, Aimee and her team managed to maintain a split of 60% in-store distribution and 40% online. “Educating people on the brand is very important,” says Aimee, “and this approach allows the company to be really dynamic, offering tutorials and point-of-sale opportunities to our customers.”
Sculpted by Aimee not only has experienced massive growth in sales, particularly in the last 2-3 years, but is scaling for internationalisation, with launches in the UK and the Middle East planned in Q4 2022, and plans for the US and Asia markets in the longer term.
As to future growth in Ireland, Aimee has opened a new Sculpted by Aimee store, which sports an all-pink facade in Dublin’s Grafton Street in September 2022. “It’s great being a brand online but being a makeup artist, I want people to have that space that they can come to learn about makeup, get their makeup done and redeem them with our products,” says Aimee.
Aimee participated in Starting Strong, Going for Growth and Continuing the Momentum which she says “has been a super asset to me personally and professionally since 2018. When you go through the stages of business and meet challenges, obstacles and equally successes, it is so lovely to have a roundtable of like-minded businesswomen to discuss these with, gain advice from, and of course learn from your Lead Entrepreneur. Susan Spence, Louise Phelan and Breege O’Donoghue were my three amazing leads and I just can’t rate them and the programmes highly enough.”
For Aimee, the pace has been “non-stop but I am so excited about what lies ahead and also at the same time, I’ve really enjoyed the journey to date”. Sculpted by Aimee is an award-winning brand and Aimee herself won the 2021 EOY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
The call is open for applications from female entrepreneurs who would welcome peer support to take their businesses to the next level by taking part in the Going for Growth programme. This is the 15th year of Going for Growth and more than 850 female entrepreneurs have so far taken part in the programme. Sixty places will be available for the 15th cycle of Going for Growth, which will run from January to June 2021 and the deadline for applications is Friday 18 November 2022. There is no charge for those selected.
Anyone interested is encouraged to register on the website goingforgrowth.com