Ken Boylan, the founder of Make up/Play studio, launched his business and make-up range in 2011 during the height of the recession. Here’s how he started and what happened after.
Boylan, one of Ireland’s best-known celebrity make-up artists, regularly contributes to leading fashion publications and is a frequent contributor to television programmes such as RTÉ’s The Afternoon Show, and TV3’s Xpose & Ireland AM.
When starting his company, Boylan received very little financial support.
“I had no support starting, whatsoever. Nobody would give me a dot,” he says. “The only way I could set up my own business was through the Credit Union. They were brilliant, and we borrowed from them.”
Boylan’s husband, Fabio, also put money into the business, which gave Boylan enough money to start the make-up line and the shop at the same time.
“It would have been lovely to have received support from my bank, but they [said no] when I told them my idea,” he says.
“We didn’t apply to anything like Enterprise Ireland (EI) because I didn’t know much about it and in my head I wouldn’t have been significant enough to warrant a grant from them,” he suggests. “When I think of EI, I think that it’s something for a bigger firm or a company that employs lots of people. I only employ myself and two girls.”
“I’ve been offered investments from people, but I’ve turned those down because I don’t want that hassle and added pressure. I was in a business partnership, but it didn’t go very well,” he says.
As the business grew, Boylan finally got support from his bank. “Now we are a limited company, and the recession isn’t as bad as it was, we were able to take a loan.”
Boylan hopes to continue to expand his business. “Like every small company we continue to get help from our bank,” he concludes.
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Images from Make up/Play.