This Kildare start-up has a healthy glow about it

Naas-based beauty start-up Pestle & Mortar is a skincare brand that offers simple solutions for beautiful skin.

Pestle & Mortar founder Sonia Deasy explained that the company believes everyone is beautiful and that the mission is to protect that natural beauty by harnessing the power of science and nature to develop effective, simple formulations.

“Confusing skincare marketing can leave you blindly navigating the beauty aisle not knowing what brands you can trust,” Deasy explains.

“Be intentional about where you want to get to with your business. You can only build processes when you have end-game clarity”

“Pestle & Mortar products combine powerhouse active ingredients with natural healing extracts and nothing harmful. When you trust that what you are putting on your skin is clean, safe and highly effective, you can build your daily beauty routine with confidence.”

A way of life

Sonia Deasy, co-founder of Pestle & Mortar


Pestle & Mortar has created high performance skincare that is easy to use, simple to understand and suitable for all skintypes.

“The formulations are inspired by my six-generation heritage in Indian natural healing,” she said. “By cosseting targeted active ingredients throughout a range that’s rich with natural ingredients, we make skincare that targets specific concerns and optimises skin health. Our core range currently consists of nine products that you can layer to build a daily routine that works for your skin.

“Myself and my husband Padraic are the founders. We have both always been self-employed, even before we were married, and so it’s a way of life for us.

“We ran a successful portrait photography studio together prior to launching Pestle & Mortar. It was the photography business that inspired us to try to find a simple solution for effective daily skincare – through the camera lens, we noticed that many people had a problem with dull and flaky skin with no idea how to solve it.”

Starting up

Deasy points out that there’s an enormous amount of support, advice, funding, mentoring and training available in Ireland for start-ups.

“In our region, Kildare LEO helped us enormously at the start with networking and funding. In general, Ireland boasts a progressive entrepreneurial society where multinationals and start-ups work side-by-side.”

She explained that Pestle & Mortar’s business model now is revenue funded.

“It gives us complete control over the company and the independence to make swift decisions.”

Deasy said that some of the most important lessons she learnt as an entrepreneur were in businesses she owned before Pestle & Mortar.

“The biggest lesson I learned was that ‘more is not better’. We launched Pestle & Mortar with one single product. Everyone thought we were mad launching a skincare brand with a single product. But we did one product really well and it worked.  Be really good at one thing and then scale that model to grow.”

Skin in the start-up game

Her advice for fellow founders is to be forthright. “Be intentional about where you want to get to with your business. You can only build processes when you have end-game clarity. You don’t need to have all the details figured out but you need to know the end-result that you’re expecting your business to provide for your life. It will help you to take continuous steps in the right direction.”

To keep the business agile, Pestle & Mortar relies on public cloud technologies. “We use Trello for project management and Slack for internal communication. Everything is integrated with G-Suite.

“We recently did a ‘tool review’ using two different colour sticky notes and a blank wall. We mapped out all of our processes and did a tool cleanse. It felt great!”

Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 19 June, 2020