SISTERLY’s mission is to become a trusted brand of science-backed premium supplements, specifically designed for women at every age and stage.
Split between Dublin and Los Angeles and founded by three Irish women, SISTERLY’s mission os to give female health the time and attention it deserves.
The business does so through a straight-talking brand of premium supplements that take the highest-quality, science-backed ingredients and which are delivered at optimum strength.
“We came together to build this brand to meet our own needs and soon we were developing these products for our mothers, sisters, girlfriends and ourselves”
“Women’s health is under researched and underfunded,” explains SISTERLY co-founder Jennifer O’Connell. “As a result there is both a lack of female focused products and a lot of confusion and overwhelm when it comes to knowing what supplements to take during female specific life stages. Let’s face it, our bodies do a lot and we deserve better. SISTERLY’s mission is to become a trusted brand of science-backed premium supplements, specifically designed for women at every age and stage.
In 2023, the global women’s health and beauty supplements market has an estimated value of US$56 billion with a CAGR of 5.1% from 2023 to 2030.
“Our first product in the SISTERLY range, The Elevator, delivers all your essential vitamins and minerals in optimal doses to have you charging on all cylinders,” O’Connell said. “It specifically addresses energy, immunity, hormonal balance and beauty. The Elevator is delivered monthly in a box with 30 convenient powder sachets that can simply be added to water or your favourite smoothie. We have kept all of our products extremely clean and only adhere to the strictest standards that apply here in Europe.”
SISTERLY was founded by Aoife Matthews, Jennifer O’Connell and Louise O’Riordan. “We feel very lucky to have come together from very different careers,” said Aoife Matthews, a former investment banker. Jennifer O’Connell is a senior counsel and Louise O’Riordan is a brand and marketing executive.
“In creating any brand or business, it really pays to have financial, legal and start-up brand marketing experience,” co-founder Jennifer O’Connell said. “The support of having three founders working towards the same goal has been a great experience.
“We came together to build this brand to meet our own needs and soon we were developing these products for our mothers, sisters, girlfriends and ourselves. That sentence alone, which is scripted on our box, keeps us accountable and guides us in all of our decisions from product development and our clean formulations through to how we choose to communicate what is in our products and their benefits. Internally we always refer to wanting to be ‘straight-talking supplements’ and we always strive to make the complex simple for our customers.”
A straight-talking brand
“We all grew up in Ireland so we are delighted to launch here. We have received so much good will and support from friends, future customers and press. It’s no secret that Ireland is very supportive towards entrepreneurs and in promoting innovation.
“We have experienced this support first hand especially through Enterprise Ireland. Not only did they match our first fund raise but they opened so many doors for us both in Ireland and abroad. They continue to make very meaningful introductions and provide us with regular consultants across our business needs with monthly check ins.”
Listen and tweak
As a small lean team SISTERLY is naturally agile at this stage in its growth. “However, we are making sure we put the right processes in place to ensure we continue to operate as efficiently as possible in the months and years to come given our growth plans,” explained co-founder Louise O’Riordan.
“On a basic level we use a task management system and we also have a seasoned entrepreneur/executive coach to keep us on track with our business goals. We also have some data analysts we work with when planning our product pipeline.”
Upon returning from Spain, Matthews participated in the Back for Business program, aimed at connecting entrepreneurs who recently returned to Ireland who were on a mission to start a new business.
“We will be raising our next round of funding early in the new year to prepare for launching SISTERLY in the US,” she explained.
“As we are our own target market, the three of us have good insights in to what our customer will like but sampling with our focus groups (after third party quality testing) of doctors, medics and friends brings great feedback.
“We are all about listening and tweaking accordingly. We knew from our medical community that we had a special formulation but the flavour was something no one could agree on. We were going to launch with a completely unflavoured product but with feedback we opted for a light, natural mandarin flavour.
“Now we have a product to bring to market that has received unanimous compliments in its function and inoffensive flavour. For a product that should be taken every day flavour is important,” she notes.
O’Riordan’s advice for fellow entrepreneurs is to surround yourselves with seasoned entrepreneurs that have been down your path before.
“Not just so you can learn from them and hopefully avoid some common pitfalls, but also for some comic relief when you share some war stories along the way!”
Main image at top: SISTERLY co-founders Louise O’Riordan, Jennifer O’Connell and Aoife Matthews