From Ireland, with love

Meet Dr. Joanne Reilly, founder of innovative Irish Skincare brand Kinvara…

What motivated you to found Kinvara back in 2012?

I couldn’t find a moisturiser for my dry, reactive skin – I tried everything and after my morning routine I’d still need to reapply more moisturiser at 10am! Eventually I decided to take matters into my own hands, naively thinking: ‘How hard can it be…’

How does your scientific background impact your work?

Having a Doctorate of Science informs everything I do at Kinvara, from researching new products to regulations and compliance and drawing up product specifications.  My rigorous training gives me confidence in the science behind our products and allows me the freedom to challenge conventions – as anyone who has used Kinvara products will know: innovative, effective formulations are our thing.

What are your founding principles?

It’s simple: Kinvara makes a difference in people’s lives by making a difference to their skin. Oh, and we use plants, lots and lots of beautiful native plants!

How important are your Irish roots and traditions? 

When you come from the westernmost tip of a tiny island, itself on the edge of mainland Europe, you soon realise you need to think big and think globally. Irish people are great travellers – ideas people with lots of stories – qualities I find really useful.

What does a typical day hold for you? Do you follow Green practices?

A typical day involves manic juggling of family and business life. I see some female entrepreneurs and they make it look so easy! I’m relatively organised but get knocked off plan regularly!  Sustainability is really important to me. In Sumatra I witnessed first-hand the devastating effect that unsustainable practices can have on people, plants and animals. As a consequence I try to minimise the impact that I, my family and my business have on the environment.  We Reduce, Reuse, Recycle wherever possible. Starting with the little things like composting your kitchen waste, bringing your own bags when shopping – it all adds up!

What has been the biggest struggle in establishing Kinvara?

The biggest struggle has been trying to balance work and family life – I pick my girls up from the school bus at 3pm but have to keep in touch with the office – I try and do it while they’re doing their homework so it just seems like Mum’s homework and not me choosing work over them!

And the biggest reward?

The rewards come from customers taking the time out of their busy days to get in touch and let us know how our Kinvara products are making a positive difference in their lives.  It’s my reason for being in business and it means so much – we never take it for granted.

What has been your proudest achievement so far?

I’m immensely proud of our new brand design – it still amazes me how much work it takes, but good design is hard.  We commissioned a wonderful medical physicist to take X-ray photos of our plants as we wanted to communicate our transparency as a brand and that we have nothing to hide.  You have to trust the skincare you use, now more than ever.

Are there any developments we can look forward to?

We’re bringing out two amazing products this autumn – our Instant Wow! Eye Serum and our Renew You Exfoliating powder.  Our customers were looking for both – a really effective Eye Treatment and a gentle but effective Exfoliator. We’ve really cracked it with hugely enthusiastic feedback from our focus groups.  Watch this space!

What is the secret to great skin?

Simply work with your skin, not against it.  Your skin is your body’s biggest organ and it has a lot to do, so please don’t burden it with aggressive products, especially inappropriate Cleansers and Peels.  Gentle and caring can also be effective and results-driven – Kinvara has proven that.

Who has inspired you most in your life?

Lots of people have inspired me in different ways, but more important are the people who have believed in me. Thankfully two people very close to me, my husband and my sister, knew I could do this long before I believed I could.

See the complete Kinvara Skincare range HERE!


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