Going for Growth: Sculpted by Aimee founder Aimee Connolly began her working life at the age of 16 during her transition year where she became a makeup artist and her passion for cosmetics grew from there.
Award-winning business development scheme for women entrepreneurs Going for Growth is accepting applications for the 16th year of the programme.
The programme, which is supported by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG, helps ambitious female entrepreneurs to achieve their growth ambitions – helping to build stronger companies, create new jobs and increase revenues.
“When you go through the stages of business and meet challenges, obstacles and equally successes, it is so lovely to have a roundtable of like-minded businesswomen to discuss these with, gain advice from, and of course learn from”
The 15th cycle of Going for Growth reported significant results for its 69 participants. Combined turnover increased from €80.6m at the start of the cycle to almost €92.3m by the end, almost a 15% increase in just six months.
The deadline for applications for the 16th cycle of Going for Growth is Friday 17 November 2023.
Up to 60 places will be available and applications are sought from female entrepreneurs across all sectors who are strongly focused on growth. There is no charge for those selected and the six-month initiative will begin in January 2024. To learn more, click here
Sculpted by Aimee
With a degree in Commerce and French as well as her experience in the beauty industry, Aimee Connolly spotted a market opportunity for a makeup product specifically designed to suit all ages and skin types that simplified the makeup process.
So, with six years’ experience in makeup and four years of business, she thought “let’s merge these two together and let’s work for myself”, which is just what she did, with the philosophy of “not over-thinking it and just going with my gut.”
Aimee’s successful Sculpted by Aimee cosmetic brand has gone from strength to strength since she started her own business over 5 years ago. From her first product launch, which was a 3-in-1 Sculpted Highlighter and Shader palette, packed at her own kitchen table, she now has over 160 products available and has sold 2m units to date.
Her team now comprises 25 people and the business sells a wide range of makeup brushes, lipsticks, palettes, eye lashes, foundations, and instant tan.
The company has an omni-channel approach with products stocked in 350 stores across Ireland, as well as its own website sculptedbyaimee.com. While the pandemic escalated the on-line channel, Aimee and her team managed to maintain a split of 60% in-store distribution and 40% on-line. “Educating people on the brand is very important” says Aimee, “and this approach allows the company to be really dynamic, offering tutorials and point-of-sale opportunities to our customers.”
Sculpted by Aimee not only has experienced massive growth in sales, particularly in the last two-to-three years, but is scaling for internationalisation, with launches in the UK and the Middle East planned in Q4 2022, and plans for the US and Asia markets in the longer term.
As to future growth in Ireland, Aimee has opened a new Sculpted by Aimee store, which sports an all-pink facade in Dublin’s Grafton Street in September 2022. “It’s great being a brand online but being a makeup artist, I want people to have that space that they can come to learn about makeup, get their makeup done and redeem them with our products,” says Aimee.
Aimee participated in Starting Strong, Going for Growth and Continuing the Momentum which she says “has been a super asset to me personally and professionally since 2018.
“When you go through the stages of business and meet challenges, obstacles and equally successes, it is so lovely to have a roundtable of like-minded businesswomen to discuss these with, gain advice from, and of course learn from your Lead Entrepreneur. Susan Spence, Louise Phelan and Breege O’Donoghue were my 3 amazing Leads and I just can’t rate them and the programmes highly enough.”
For Aimee, the pace has been “non-stop but I am so excited about what lies ahead and also at the same time, I’ve really enjoyed the journey to date”. Sculpted by Aimee is an award-winning brand and Aimee herself won the 2021 EY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
The deadline for applications for the 16th cycle of Going for Growth is Friday 17 November 2023. To learn more, click here