Una Tynan founded Blank Canvas Cosmetics in October 2011. It was tough to get started, but her company is now growing at an impressive rate.
Una Tynan (left) is an entrepreneur who ‘bootstrapped’ her idea. Blank Canvas Cosmetics is an online store and to get it up and running, Tynan taught herself web design, coding and digital marketing.
“Initially, funding was the biggest challenge. I set up my company at a time when the banks or enterprise boards weren’t giving proper loans or supports. I accepted I was on my own,” says Tynan.
“I was even refused a business banking account based on the fact I had a personal loan I was paying back.
“In the end, I used my redundancy and savings to get started. Because I did the website build and all the digital marketing myself, I didn’t have to pay for them with money.”
Help to survive
“I applied for the back to work enterprise allowance giving me the equivalent of unemployment benefit – €188 per week for the first year and €141 the second year. This helped me survive and my business started to take off.”
Tynan says that her biggest challenge as her company grows, is stock control.
“Any financial support at this stage would be fantastic. A big hurdle as you get bigger is stock control and this can be challenging when you are self-financing,” she says.
Growth has been phenomenal
“Expansion is my focus for Blank Canvas right now. We’re five years in business this October and the growth has been phenomenal. We have a number of products in development at the moment and this costs a lot of money to get off the ground. We now have over 60 stockists with around 200 waiting which we try to stagger according to stock levels. I often hear of funding being allocated but with the fast growth of the business, I haven’t had the chance to look at this properly,” she says.
Tynan said that financing large product development projects is also a challenge. “Last year we launched the ‘Pippa for Blank Canvas’ palette and ‘Master Palette One’. The R&D that is involved is such a lengthy and tedious process but seeing it develop from a small idea to a successful phenomenon is very exciting.”
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Article by Catherine Devine. Images from Shutterstock and Blank Canvas Cosmetics. ⊕