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03rd Dec 2014

Irish Women in Business – Rachel Kavanagh of Glossybox

This week we're talking to Rachel Kavanagh, who set up Rockstar Tan and is now MD at Glossybox UK and Ireland.

Next up in our Irish Women in Business series is Rachel Kavanagh, Managing Director at Glossybox UK and Ireland.

Prior to taking on her current role, Rachel created Rockstar Tan after seeing a niche in the market for an organic self-tanning product.

Fast forward a few years and this Irish woman is enjoying huge success, having secured the position of MD at Glossybox UK and Ireland.

We asked her how she started out in the world of business, what her current role involves and what tips she would give to other entrepreneurs hoping to find success.

How did Rockstar Tan start out?

I have always been entrepreneurial, and when I finished my studies at Trinity College, I knew starting my own business was the direction I wanted to go in.

I didn’t want to travel the world or go straight into a corporate environment, I wanted to create and build something for myself.

I saw a niche in the market for an organic based tanning brand that still looked good on your bathroom shelf, and Rockstar Tan was born.

The brand took off faster then I imagined and we secured the likes of Boots and Debenhams as retailers, winning 12 Beauty awards in the first two years.

I moved on from Rockstar Tan in July 2013 when I got offered my current role as MD for Glossybox UK and Ireland and I moved to London to take the position.

Why did you join Glossybox as MD?

I had been in talks with Glossybox about sampling my product with them for the UK market.  I was just blown away by the concept and the surprise element- when I opened the box for the first time, it just stayed with me.

When the previous MD stepped down, she approached me to take over and when I met with Charles von Abercron (Glossybox founder) I knew it was a company I really wanted to be part of.


Can you tell us a little bit about the history of the beauty subscription service?

It was founded by Charles von Abercron in Berlin in 2011.

He saw a gap in the market for an innovative beauty sampling method that helped brands to reach their target customer base and allowed customers to receive a monthly customised edit of beauty products that they could test in the comfort of their own homes.

The result was GLOSSYBOX, the world’s leading global beauty box, present in ten countries selling one box every 22 seconds.

What challenges did you meet when starting out in business?

When I had my own business it was finances and managing the cash flow.  I’m not a trained accountant and although I understand figures, it took me a while to get my head around the accounting process itself.

When I started as MD at Glossybox, the challenge was getting the team balance right and who and what was needed to drive it into the next phase of growth.

Managing a big team takes up a lot of my time, but it’s also the key to your success. Your company’s performance will only be as good as the hires you make, so choose carefully!

What does 2015 have in store for Glossybox?

Lots, I’m really excited for 2015. We have the launch of our new interactive editorial platform Beauty Unboxed, which will be headed up by award winning journalist Evie Leatham.

We also have some special collector’s monthly box designs, our Valentines box and the Iconic Hollywood edition.

We also have a limited edition Mother’s Day box in March which is shaping up to be really special.

What are your personal must-have beauty buys?

I’m obsessed with Charlotte Tilbury at the moment. Her products perform so well and they are beautifully packaged.

I also tried SHOW Beauty, Tamara Ecclestons line recently as it was in our Harvey Nichols box and I was really impressed.

Other favourites of mine include Smash Box Brow Tech and Laura Mercer Cream Blush.

What advice would you give to others hoping to start their own business?

Do your research but make sure there is a gap in the market for what you want to do and if not make sure you are going to be doing it better than existing businesses.

Always have people on your team who have different skill sets then you so you can constantly learn from each other.

And most of all love what you do – if you don’t it’s time to get out and move on. There is no failure in admitting that.

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You used to star in Fair City, do you ever miss acting?

No I really don’t.  I was raised in an acting family so it was a natural step for me, but it wasn’t my long term goal.

What is it about Glossybox that makes it worth signing up for?

It’s the element of surprise every month and that guarantees a treat to yourself! You also get to sample products properly in your own time, without the pressure that can come from from classic sampling methods such as department stores.

Glossybox recently teamed up with both Karen Millen and Harvey Nichols, are there any more exciting collaborations in the pipeline?

Yes there are two big front runners we are hoping to secure for 2015, watch this space…