This week we celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship and each day we will highlight a different homegrown company, because SMEs are on the front line and the first to be hit by any economic changes.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Dubai’s economy, representing 95% of all establishments in the Emirate. These SME businesses account for 42% of the workforce and contribute around 40% to the total value add generated in Dubai’s economy.
We hope our features will inspire you to #golocal and support small businesses. Do get in touch if you are a homegrown company with a sustainable edge and we will add you to our directory.
#staysafe #stay connected and #golocal
Q&A with Shirley Conlon, Founder at Shirley Conlon Organics
When 2 major events happened in her life, Shirley Conlon went from working for big brand cosmetic companies back to her organic roots and so her niche organic skin care band was launched. Ten years later Shirley Conlon Organics has an ever-growing fan base of women and men and is fully committed to producing organic, toxic and cruelty free skin care that is both kind to your skin and the environment.
You have had an interesting career path as you started out working for large cosmetic houses, why did you make the shift away from big brands to start your own company?
The cosmetic company that I work for Herbarium/ Intertrade in Padova Italy was the introduction for me into the niche sector of natural and organic beauty brands. I was lucky enough to work with some amazing International brands and this grew my knowledge and curiosity further into the benefits of natural and organic v commercial and conventional products.
With over 20 years in the cosmetics industry, why did you choose to go organic, what are the benefits?
In was born into an organic farming family when organic wasn’t even a word. I was oblivious to this blessing until much later in life. The wonderful news of my pregnancy and the devastating news of my brother’s cancer got me rethinking my lifestyle and grew my awareness back to cleaner living.
The benefits of organic skincare are endless to the health and well-being of the skin and environment. For me it is a conscious and clear statement for the balance and harmony between humanity and nature. Wild and skincare ingredients have more nutrients, more antioxidants and are sustainable, non-toxic and cruelty free whilst supporting passionate, small business owners. Organic skincare ingredients far surpass conventional chemicals to give slower and absolutely more long-lasting benefits.
What is ‘conscious beauty’ and how far have you taken this concept i.e. sourcing products, packaging recycling etc?
We are advocates of conscious beauty and it reflects in every aspect of our company from sourcing and packaging to manufacturing and waste. We have a zero-waste policy and we strive to be a plastic free company.
We do not use any outer packaging to minimize our environmental impact. Our signature dark glass is fully recyclable and helps to protect our formulas from UV damage. We are working on ways to offer refill/recycling program to our customers. We do not use any outer packaging to minimize our environmental impact.
The male grooming market is on the rise exponentially, have you seen this too? Are your products genderless?
Absolutely men too love luxury skincare products like ours and we have many wonderful, male, loyal clients. One of our favourites for the guys is the hydrating serum and the frangipani body lotion.
What have been the challenges to setting up such a business here in the UAE?
It has been a long and difficult journey, that’s for sure, but it has been a very interesting one and I’ve learned a lot from it. I am very proud that the brand is local and all our products are made in Dubai but this too had it challenges in terms of product testing, regulations and registrations, but we got there and are very proud to be where we are.
What has the response been like so far, are you encouraged by the consumer reaction?
Our company is 10 years old this September and in that time we have had a very loyal following. It is only because of our customers vision and journey together that I get to continue to do what I love – which is formulate products that bring some benefit and meaning.
How do you feel the pandemic will affect people’s ways of spending or choices? Do you feel this might spark a conscious shift to looking to more environmentally friendly products with less impact?
Yes, I do believe that together we have all had significant time to reconsider Mother Earth and all that she does for us and hopefully it will be remembered for a long time to come and that people will continue to make more conscious choices and reduce their environmental impact.
How have you been affected by the pandemic, if at all?
Actually, we have been really busy with consumers spending more time in front of devices our online sales have definitely increased. We have had time to work on some new products also: our upcycled date face polish, our organic deodorant and our personalized hand and body soap which is pure Castile soap with only three ingredients (olive oil, castor oil and essential oil – (lavender or eucalyptus). We have also improved our delivery service now offering 4 hr free delivery anywhere in Dubai.
Why should consumers think more consciously about what they buy?
Because it is the right thing to do. It is simply not sustainable to continue mass production and mass buying. I really believe a more conscious lifestyle is a happier one with less stress and more meaning.
What will you be doing this Eid?
I will be staying home off course as I’m sure will everyone else reading this post. we have a fabulous offer of 20% discount available on our website “Eid Gift-box” which contains our three best-selling products (all contain dates), which is a phenomenal anti-aging ingredient.
Could you list some things you do in your daily life that are sustainable?
I shop organic food from Greenheart Organic Farm shop because I absolutely love their produce and transparency and their pricing is very fair. You understand the difference when you taste their quality.
I buy less, in fact I rarely buy anything at all. I really don’t feel the need for things. I prefer travel, time with a friend, a yoga class or some meditation. My husband is usually the one to shop or spoil me. I use my own products and always recycle my bottles and jars.
We are just about to install a solar system at home for all our energy needs. Don’t even get me started with water! I have done years of research on water in the UAE including a visit to Dubal water supplies to understand better how to conserve and save water. This is fundamental also in my business
I have a smart system water filter at home plus a carbonated water maker so I never need to use plastic water bottles.
Our electricity is always plugged off at the mains and we have LED lighting throughout our home.
My children are also extremely environmentally conscious, this could make a whole new chapter. I could keep going but these are the basics.
Disclaimer: These articles are not ads neither paid features.