Going for Growth: Vanessa Creaven, Spotlight Oral Care

Spotlight Oral Care was designed and formulated by Irish dentists – sisters, Dr Vanessa and Dr Lisa Creaven – with the aim of creating the best oral health products without harming the environment.

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.

At their dental practice in Galway City, sister Lisa and Vanessa Creatven identified a gap in the market for safe and effective oral care products that contained clinically proven active ingredients to target their clients’ dental needs.

“Beginning the cycle, I expected I would gain a lot of expertise, but I had no idea as to the extent of that expertise, or the friendships I would make along the way”

While Spotlight Oral Care initially began developing teeth whitening strips and toothpaste, the company has grown to provide wide a variety of products, including a range of toothpastes for specific ailments, from sensitive teeth, gum health, rebuilding teeth, whitening, and oral care, as well toothbrushes, dental floss, mouthwashes, teeth whitening pens, and electrical oral care products – the Sonic Toothbrush and Water Flosser.

A shining example

Two blond haired dentists in blue medical scrubs.

Sisters Dr Lisa and Dr Vanessa Creavey, Spotlight Oral Care

Their range of products combine the latest advances in oral care research with the highest quality of ingredients, while always keeping the end consumer in mind.

Every Spotlight Oral Care product is cruelty free, vegan friendly, free from toxic ingredients, and is not tested on animals, having secured PETA approval in September 2020. In addition, their dental floss is made from recycled ocean plastic and their toothpaste tubes are made from sugar cane, making them the world’s first ever 100pc recyclable tube, which completely revolutionises the oral care industry.

Launched in 2016, Spotlight Oral Care products are now on sale in Boots, Tesco, Dunnes Stores and most pharmacies throughout Ireland, with its headquarters situated in Galway, Ireland.

The brand is well known in the UK, selling to this market through a dedicated UK website and through third party websites such as Look Fantastic and Cloud 10 Beauty. They launched in the United States in February 2020, having also signed a deal with Target, CVS and Ulta Beauty, and opened their New York office in 2020.

Spotlight Oral Care also offers worldwide shipping, contributing to their 3000% growth online in 2020. Spotlight Oral Care completed their Series A funding round in 2020 with an investment from Dermot Desmond and IIU which will allow the company to grow and scale based on their success in 2020.

Vanessa participated in Starting Strong in 2017 with Susan Spence, Softco as her Lead Entrepreneur. Two years later, she was a participant on the 11th cycle of Going for Growth with Lead Entrepreneur Louise Phelan, Phelan Energy Group.

“Beginning the cycle, I expected I would gain a lot of expertise, but I had no idea as to the extent of that expertise, or the friendships I would make along the way,” Vanessa recalled.

Despite the demanding schedule, the Creaven sisters believe that the insights they gain from their first-hand experience with patients in their dental practice is one of the major reasons Spotlight Oral Care has been a success from the get-go and inspires new product development.

Vanessa and Lisa won Start-up of the Year at the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards 2017. Vanessa was listed in the Sunday Independent 2019 30 Under 30, and both sisters have been awarded Tatler Businesswoman of the Year 2020.

Main image at top: Dr Vanessa Creavey and her sister and co-founder Dr Lisa Creavey, Spotlight Oral Care.

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 13th year of Going for Growth and more than 750 female entrepreneurs have so far taken part in the programme. Sixty places will be available for the 13th cycle of Going for Growth, which will run from January to June 2021 and the deadline for applications is Friday 18 December 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.

Published: 15 December 2020