Posted: Fri 28th Jun 2019
Lucy Cardwell didn't intend to run her own business but a serious skin condition inspired her to seek out a more natural and holistic solution to the products on the market. Lucky Cloud Skincare was born! The Edinburgh-based Enterprise Nation member shares her story.
Describe your business in one sentence.
Luxurious botanical skincare, inspired by nature. Lucky Cloud Skincare believes in creating indulgent skincare to give you healthy glowing skin. Naturally.
How did you come up with your business idea?
To be completely honest I didn't initially start out trying to set up a business. I was one of those (many) people who had suffered from dermatitis/eczema prone skin, for what felt like forever. I was diagnosed with it when I was in late primary school and then spent the next 20+ years using various steroid ointments, cortisone creams and trying to find skin cleansers and moisturisers that didn't exacerbate the problem areas.
It would come and go in waves and when it was bad, it was baaaaad (think cracked and bleeding skin, blisters and itches so bad they made me cry). I became really reliant on the steroid products, because it felt like they were the only thing that really fixed it. The thing was, these creams were only ever a temporary respite and often made things worse, but back then I didn't care; if it stopped the itch - good.
In 2012 I had a realisation that I just couldn't continue slathering my skin with products that not only were full of horrible sounding synthetic chemicals but were also not actually helping my skin health. This coincided with a weekend mucking about in my kitchen playing with lip balm recipes - and things started to come together!
So I began to educate myself to learn as much as I could about holistic skincare and how to formulate skincare.
What start-up challenges have you faced?
Running a business on your own can be quite isolating, so finding friends, family and communities that are supportive are crucial. Other entrepreneurs who understand what you're trying to achieve and how difficult it can be; they're the ones who will have your back. And I try to keep a positive mindset; each 'failure' is an opportunity to learn, grown and become better.
Biggest challenge though? Probably the fact that ''ve self-funded everything. Without a lump-sum of cash things can take a bit longer to develop. However, as a consumable business which has built up a loyal customer base, I get repeat business, which obviously means that I have a steady stream of product revenue to invest back into the business.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
You know, whenever I get asked this I always think about customer feedback. When strangers leave me incredible reviews or comment on products, it just feels amazing. Knowing I've created something that is so loved and helps them feel better about their skin is so heart-warming. It does bring me to tears sometimes!
On a more tangible level, My Nourishing Face Oil has been shortlisted in the 2019 Natural Health International Beauty Awards (awards are announced on Friday 5 July) and was also shortlisted in the 2018 Free From Skincare Awards.
What is your next big business goal?
Developing a pitch deck and actually pitching to larger retailers.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge?
Hmm, confidence? I'm heading to the Beauty Exchange in London on 10 July (organised by Enterprise Nation obviously) where businesses will be pitching to buyers, so I'm hopeful I'll get a bit of an insight to how it's all organised!
How has Enterprise Nation helped your business?
It's fab to have so many great resources at my finger-tips and having access and knowledge about events, conferences etc is invaluable. Of course discounts to events are certainly an incentive to get off my bum and attend!
I kind of think of Enterprise Nation as the CPD (continuing professional development) for entrepreneurs!
Which other entrepreneur inspires you?
I hope this doesn't sounds ridiculously corny, but my partner, Nigel Kennedy. He's been running his own catering and events business (Appetite Events) for over 15 years now which I think is incredible. They just keep growing, expanding and winning more awards. It really is inspirational.
What are your three tips for business success?
Determination: Starting any business takes hard work, so you've got to be determined
Positivity: There are going to be ups and downs. Remain positive as much as you can (while also allowing yourself to rest when things feel overwhelming)
Patience: Things don't happen overnight (especially when it comes to skincare formulation!), but if you keep working and celebrate your wins you'll get there.
Anything else you would like to share?
My favourite quote a friend said to me many years ago and can really relate to anything in life!
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."