Going for Growth: Cliona O’Brien, Moon + Mellow

Cliona O’Brien, founder of luxury sleepwear brand Moon + Mellow, decided to focus on something she loved and went for it. She talks about her Going for Growth experience.

In this new series we talk to women entrepreneurs who have taken part in the Going for Growth programme. Going for Growth is a six-month part-time programme, supported by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, which assists ambitious female entrepreneurs to achieve their growth aspirations. Applications are currently being sought from ambitious female entrepreneurs for the 14th cycle of the popular programme.

Cliona O’Brien founded her luxury sleepwear brand Moon + Mellow on a love for bed, great sleeps and beautiful things.

“I was able to discuss my business openly with others sharing the ups and downs and my plans for the future”

She inherited a love for pyjamas from her mother who had always treated her to really nice sets on special occasions. Cliona also has a strong belief in the value of rest and the idea that something as simple as a great night’s sleep can change everything.

An awakening in business

Cliona has a background in marketing and business management. She spent the first half of her career working in responsible sourcing, developing products for some of the world’s top-ranking global brands and finding ethical factories to produce them.

In 2016, she completed an MA is Business Ethics, recognising that more and more people, like her, were valuing brands that embraced sustainable practices, offering customers the finest quality, ethically produced products and transparency in what they did.

In 2018, Cliona set about creating a sleepwear collection that looked great on but also offered a luxury sleep experience. She always had an obsession for finding the ultimate pyjamas, incorporating beautiful fabric, comfortable feel, and that little bit of extra style and magic.

While she found nice pyjamas along the way there were always changes she wanted to make and details she wanted to add, and she found herself dreaming about creating her own line. Eventually she decided to focus on the thing she loved and went for it.

Moon + Mellow launched in Brown Thomas in July 2019 and Cliona has gone on to stock her collection online and with luxury hotels and boutiques across Ireland. She is now expanding into new markets across Europe.

Going like a dream

Cliona is part of the Going for Growth community after participating on the Starting Strong element of the programme in 2021.

In exceptional cases, entrepreneurs at an earlier stage of their business journey will be considered for Going for Growth if they are generating sales, and it is felt that the business is highly innovative, plans to have export customers and the entrepreneur has significant growth ambitions. If accepted, these participants are included in the ‘Starting Strong’ element of the programme.

“The programme provided me with a network of like-minded entrepreneurial women and an exceptional lead who I met with monthly. Our meetings gave a structure to my monthly plan and a deadline to complete objectives,” says Cliona.

“I was able to discuss my business openly with others sharing the ups and downs and my plans for the future. Our group was made up of women from different business backgrounds and experience which gave me a pool of expertise to bounce ideas off and to learn from. It was brilliant!”

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 14th year of Going for Growth and more than 800 female entrepreneurs have so far taken part in the programme. Up to 60 places will be available for the 14th cycle of Going for Growth, which will run from January to June 2022 and the deadline for applications is Thursday December 16th 2021. There is no charge for those selected.

Anyone interested is encouraged to register on the website goingforgrowth.com and a link to the application form will be sent to them.

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.