To celebrate International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we spoke to some of the women behind our best-loved brands. From what it’s really like in the industry and the biggest lessons they’ve learned, to what advice they would give to other females, join us as we celebrate our leading ladies.
After spending a huge part of her life struggling with her own skin, Catherine Wilson wanted people to always have access to salon-standard skincare. With one mission always clear in her mind - luminosity for everyone - she launched OLIVIEREWILSON, an affordable range of microneedling and cryotherapy tools.
With the birth of her brand, Catherine has given people the power to take care of their skin at home, and in between their beloved salon treatments.
We found out what she did before launching OLIVIEREWILSON, the most important lessons she’s learned during entrepreneurship, and she tells us about an exciting new project she’s got in the pipeline.
What made you want to launch OLIVIEREWILSON?
I spent a huge part of my life not liking my skin. The struggle against uneven skin tone, pigmentation and dry skin remains an ongoing battle. Learning to love the skin I'm in is a journey I'm still on which has led me to create a range of Microneedling rollers, Cryo Ice Sticks and my vision for OW. Age, hormones, diet, UV and more can all impact the health and vibrancy of our skin and hair. Despite all of these challenges, things can be improved with the right treatments and products.
Over time you realise shrinking yourself does nothing but cause frustration in your own mind and delays your voice from being heard and taken seriously.
I wanted to capture and create a hydrating delivery system for skin and hair, sitting between dermatologist treatment and home treatment. I wanted to transform the face, body and hair to its most healthy and hydrated form.
My whole belief is that if your skin is properly hydrated, you will radiate a healthy natural glow.
What’s been the biggest challenge during entrepreneurship?
I think a lot of women fall into this category, in that they shy away from speaking about their accomplishments for fear of being boastful, arrogant or conceited. Women tend to think they should shrink themselves to seem non-intimidating and be more liked by friends and colleagues.
That has certainly been me in the past and perhaps its my Northern Irish upbringing, perhaps it was working in a male dominated environment, however over time you realise shrinking yourself does nothing but cause frustration in your own mind and delays your voice from being heard and taken seriously.
I’m a mathematician and I worked in finance in London for almost 20 years. Leaving that world to start my own business is by far my biggest achievement.
What’s been your biggest achievement?
I’m that person who left the ‘big job in the city’. OLIVIEREWILSON is my second career, though my first passion. I’m a mathematician and I worked in finance in London for almost 20 years. Leaving that world to start my own business is by far my biggest achievement. Not many people make the jump despite their ambition and vision. The city experience was great in many ways, however I was hungry for more. Hungry for independence, to plan my own schedule, decision making and to own the end to end process.
Do you have any female role models?
There are so many amazing women out there who inspire me every day. Women who are strong, kind, trustworthy, loyal, independent, resilient, determined, focused. So I can’t narrow it down to just one, they’re in abundance. I’ve read many autobiographies from women who have started their own banks, their own fashion label, skincare brands and I’ve absorbed so much from all of them.
Often we’re too afraid to make the change but if you have an idea or something you’re really passionate about then grasp the opportunity.
What piece of advice would you give to other women?
Just do it! Often we’re too afraid to make the change but if you have an idea or something you’re really passionate about then grasp the opportunity. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. There will be many ups and downs of course and it will be challenging. OW has been the biggest learning experience in my 24 year career.
Initially it was me doing everything, which at times was very overwhelming: product design, sourcing manufacturers, website, ecommerce, social media, photography, social content, blogs, distribution, partnerships, PR, legals, trademarks… but I believe everything is possible and those experiences gave me a detailed understanding about every aspect of my business and positioned me perfectly to recruit the right people for my small team.
There will be plenty of doors that won’t open, especially not in the beginning, however when that one opportunity presents itself the feeling and boost it gives you is incredible.
Be a sponge! Surround yourself with people who are successful and want to achieve and get ahead. Learn as much as you can from them and every situation. I’m always asking myself "how can I apply that to OLIVIEREWILSON?". I’m always refining things as I go.
And definitely don’t take things personally! There will be plenty of doors that won’t open, especially not in the beginning, however when that one opportunity presents itself the feeling and boost it gives you is incredible.
What's next for OLIVIEREWILSON?
I live and breathe OW! I have so many ideas for the brand, however Rome wasn’t built in a day and like all businesses I’m always mindful of cash flow.
We have just launched two new products, our Cryo Ice Sticks and our new BODY microneedling roller. We have also just signed off the designs for a small range of merchandise. But our biggest project just now is developing our own bespoke serum packed with peptides and active ingredients. It will take at least 6-8 months to bring this to market due to the strict testing and regulations - but it will be well worth the wait!
We have recently replaced some of our packaging with bags made from natural resin which are fully biodegradable and ‘OK Compost’ certified. We’re not completely there yet but we’re committed and will keep trying one day at a time.
Sustainability is hugely important and we certainly want to be part of the solution. It’s impossible for a consumer brand like OW not to use resources and throughout our production chain we aim to use recycled and recyclable materials where possible.
Many suppliers are still working on their ‘green’ offering and we stay current by attending various packaging events to hear about new developments. We have recently replaced some of our packaging with bags made from natural resin which are fully biodegradable and ‘OK Compost’ certified. We’re not completely there yet but we’re committed and will keep trying one day at a time.
We’re also focusing on building out our distribution with retail partners as we continue the pursuit of healthy hydrated skin.