Meet the Makers: Elaine Kennedy, Hawthorn Skincare

Elaine Kennedy is the founder of Mayo-based Hawthorn Handmade Skincare, a business participating in the Showcase Ireland 2021 Virtual Showrooms event.

Hawthorn Handmade Skincare are participating in Showcase Ireland 2021 Virtual Showrooms, from 25 January to 29 January. Showcase is one of the industry’s largest international trade fairs where designers and craft makers provide a choice of contemporary and heritage collections, offering innovation, quality, sustainability and a distinctive point of difference to retail buyers from across the globe.

Showcase Ireland is an initiative of the Design & Crafts Council Ireland and is supported by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices. View the Digital Catalogue here

“After living in London for a number of years, I made the decision to return to rural Ireland and develop a craft business on my family farm”

Hawthorn Handmade Skincare, developed by Mayo native Elaine Kennedy, are a range of natural skincare products – using only 100pc natural and sustainable ingredients, in eco-friendly and fully recyclable packaging.

A tradition of crafting and farming

Pouring body butter into a jar.

Elaine’s family have a long tradition of crafting and farming based on the shores of Lough Carra at the foot of the Partry Mountains and her parents instilled a sense of duty to preserve the precious landscape surrounding them from a young age.

This connection to nature is what inspired Elaine to return home to Ireland and establish the business.

Tell us your business story?

After living in London for a number of years, I made the decision to return to rural Ireland and develop a craft business on my family farm.

Taking inspiration from the rich natural heritage all around me, I created Hawthorn Handmade Skincare.

How has Covid-19 impacted your business?

Pre-Covid-19, wholesale accounted for 80pc of my business. While I had a website, it had limited functionality, so I made a snap decision to create a new website with the help of a Trading Online Voucher from LEO Mayo. The website launched on 1 April and I instantly saw a surge in online orders. Since then the business has seen growth month on month.

How have the Local Enterprise Offices supported your business?

I have utilised as many of the Local Enterprise Office supports as I can – including a Business Priming Grant, Trading Online Voucher, mentoring and workshops – which have all been fantastic helping to establish and grow my business. I took part in the IBYE competition in 2019 and was a finalist in Mayo for Best Start Up.

Last year, the business exhibited for the first time at Showcase in the LEO zone of the RDS. The Mayo Local Enterprise Office has supported me at every step of my entrepreneurial journey.

What’s next for Hawthorn Handmade Skincare?

With 17 products already in the range, new products are in development and will be launched later in the year.

The brand is now stocked in 25 outlets and I’m looking forward to launching into our first international stockist in 2021. We are hoping Showcase 2021 will help us attract even further international interest.

Published: 27 January 2021