Could your skin do with a freshen up this Spring? If so, Saffron Souk has someone you must meet…introducing Shirley Conlon from Shirley Conlon Organics.
Shirley has over 20 years’ experience in the beauty industry from cosmetologist, facialist, cosmetic formulator to European beauty brand manager and has now created her own luxury range of natural and organic skin care products that are made here in the UAE.
Saffron Souk sat down with Shirley for a chat about her blossoming business and her life in Dubai…
What sort of products do you make?
I make luxury organic skin care products using only ingredients from nature. My philosophy is if you can’t eat it then don’t wear it on your skin.
When did you decide to start your own enterprise?
I’ve always made products for my family and friends and when I moved to Dubai and couldn’t find the skincare products I was looking for, I decided it was time to start my business.
What’s the best thing about setting up your own brand?
With 2 children and a husband who travels a lot, it gives me more freedom to choose my working hours around my family.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
Setting up in Dubai can be very challenging, complex and expensive in terms of municipality regulations, fees and international testing, especially in the field of cosmetic manufacturing.
1. Shirley believes that no two skins are alike and that skin-types change on a daily basis. With her one antioxidant day/night cream and luxury serums, you can customize your own bespoke product and blend exactly what your skin requires every day.
What do you love about selling online?
I love online shopping because it is more accessible for the customer, with the click of a button and without ever leaving home, you can shop. I am a huge on-line shopper and just ordered my daughters school shoes from Clarks UK.
Any exciting news to share?
Life is exciting, so there is always excitement to share. I am in the process of developing a luxurious line of products for the body, to create a little spa experience at home.
Tell us 6 words to describe yourself.
Loyal, honest, green, outgoing, spiritual, persistent.
What’s your favourite colour?
As I’m Irish I love Emerald Green, it’s also my birth stone. Although I wouldn’t wear it, I tend to stick to neutral colours.
What’s your favourite film?
Oh dear, too many to mention but at the moment I’m really enjoying The Little Mermaid with my 2 year old daughter, her expressions throughout the movie are priceless.
What are you reading right now?
Alongside many children stories, I am reading, Patrick Holford’s books ‘Food is Better Medicine than Drugs’ and ‘Immune System’, I am also reading ‘Rules of Parenting’, and Deepak Chopra’s ‘Grow Younger Live Longer’. I’ve always got books open around me but I wish I had more time to read.
1. Shirley with her two daughters 2. What Shirley’s reading and watching!
When did you last laugh?
Every single day. With two kids it’s impossible not to laugh. My 7 year old is just hilarious and my 2 year old is such a funny character, they give me something to laugh about everyday and us Irish are known to laugh our way through life.
What keeps you awake at night?
Cosmetic formulations running around my head and the brightest business ideas always seem to pop into my head at night keeping me awake.
Do you have any regrets?
I don’t believe in regrets, it’s a waste of time. If you really feel bad about something, try to put it right. Good or bad, your actions and thoughts have made you the person you are.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Patience, I wish I had more patience.
Who would you most like to meet?
Christina Noble, she is a wonderful Irish girl who has done amazing charity work with less fortunate children in Vietnam. I would have also loved to meet Princess Diana, she was simply amazing.
Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?
There is no-one that I can think of, except a serial killer.
You’re throwing a fantasy dinner party. Who do you invite, alive, dead, real or ficticious?
I’ve been blessed to know so many wonderful real people. I come from a large family, my father and five of my brothers passed away, so it would definitely be a family reunion and what a party it would be.
Do you have any pets?
Unfortunately not, I love pets and grew up on a farm with every kind of pet imaginable, however now we live in an apartment and just don’t have the space they need to run around. My daughter is desperate for a dog at the moment.
Do you collect anything?
As a child I collected fancy paper and I also collected matches but with 2 children it didn’t feel so safe, so now the only thing I collect is waste for recycling.
What do you think you’d taste like?
Chocolate. I eat a lot of dark chocolate to help with my low blood pressure, so I’d definitely taste sweet like chocolate.
1. Shirley and her 7 year old at the Ripe market 2-3. Some of Shirley’s products on sale at the markets
Do you believe in luck?
I believe it’s better to be born lucky than rich, but I also believe you create your own luck, by putting yourself out there and working hard.
Do you have a motto?
Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. I strongly believe in karma ‘everything you do, comes back to you eventually.’
Did you ever run away from home as a child?
I’m laughing here…packed my bags a few times but never actually left.
What is your golden rule?
Be nice to people, it doesn’t cost anything to be nice and complimentary, and you can really make a big difference to someone.
Who is the best super-hero? Superman, Batman or Spiderman?
Superman is the only one I’ve watched so I guess I’d have to say Superman. With little girls, it’s more about super women in our house.
What’s the best career advice anyone ever gave you?
My brother Noel who was very successful taught me to never to accept no as an answer, never give up on your dream and success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
What is the greatest mystery of the universe?
The human body and the miracle of giving life to a child.
What is your greatest aim in life?
To be the best person I can be, as a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
In such a large family I don’t think I had time for imaginary friends, I think I was always busy with the real thing.
What was your worst holiday?
Tenerife. It just seemed like everyone was spaced out and fighting everywhere, I got a return flight 2 days later.
How many foreign languages do you speak?
Irish, Italian and learning Spanish.
1. All Shirley Conlon Organics products are made in Dubai to the highest International standard using only certified organic plant ingredients. Shirley believes less is more and that is why her products have minimal ingredients, but never compromise on performance. Their small manufacturing plant ensures optimal quality products, high in essential nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins, resulting in beautiful radiant skin
What is the oddest habit you will admit to?
Having to check everything twice. Before going to bed, I’ll check everything is off in the kitchen but then I’ll have to get up again and double check before heading back to bed again.
Do you like girl groups or boy bands?
I like them both. I come from a strong musical background with many musicians in my family. I like the Corrs, they’re beautiful, talented and Irish too.
What are you most embarrassed by?
I am not very easily embarrassed but perhaps it can be, not remembering a person’s name when they remember you.
It was fun chatting with you, thanks Shirley. You’ve inspired us to rethink our skincare…we want to radiate like you!
Shirley Conlon Organics range of natural and organic skincare is now available on Saffron Souk.