Wednesday 23 August 2017

How I Got My Job: Waxperts CEO Ellen Kavanagh Jones

Ellen Kavanagh Jones at the official launch of Christmas at Kildare Village. Picture: Kieran Harnett
Ellen Kavanagh Jones at the official launch of Christmas at Kildare Village. Picture: Kieran Harnett
Waxperts CEO Ellen Kavanagh Jones
Image: WaxpertsEllen/Instagram
Ellen Kavanagh Jones with son Cooper and husband Conrad. Image: WaxpertsEllen/Instagram
Amy Mulvaney

Amy Mulvaney

In a new series on Independent.ie Style, we speak to Irish women who inspire us and find out how they got the job they're in today, what trials and tribulations they faced on their career path and what advice they have to give to working women in today's world.

This week, we speak to Ellen Kavanagh Jones, CEO and creator of award-winning wax brand Waxperts.

What is your job title?

Waxpert! Officially, I suppose I’m CEO.

Did you always want to own your own business?

No I didn’t, it kind of just happened. I found myself without a job so I just went for it and haven’t looked back. Now I own two businesses: Waxperts, our salon in Dun Laoghaire which opened in 2008 and Waxperts Wax, our professional brand that supplies our waxing products into salons and spas since 2012.

Growing up, what did you want to be?

Mostly a teacher. A Home Economics teacher, in particular.

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Image: WaxpertsEllen/Instagram

How did you find yourself on this career path?

I began working in retail after school and after a few years, I decided to go to beauty college on my day off. I suppose I approached it with a retailers brain and decided I’d specialise in whatever I was best at, which turned out to be waxing weirdly enough.

Did you face any challenges along your way to this career?

Not really. I mean I worked really, really hard in college while holding down a full-time job and looking back I don’t know how I managed it all. But when you want something and enjoy it, you make it happen.

What are some notable obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

When I decided to open my salon in 2008, the recession had hit and no banks were giving out business loans. I remember that being extraordinarily tough. I felt like I was on an episode of Dragon’s Den that wouldn’t end!

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Waxperts CEO Ellen Kavanagh Jones

What’s a typical day like?

I drop my son Cooper to pre-school and then head to our office in Dun Laoghaire. We have our training academy there too so I might meet and chat to some Waxperts stockists that are in to train. Then the day is spent catching up with the team and ensuring we’re all on course for whatever goals we’re working on.

In between replying to emails, it’s really varied. I could be working on new product development, marketing, or our export expansion. There’s a bit of social media and Snapchatting thrown in too! Then I’ll finish around 5pm, collect Cooper and head home to be mammy and wife again!

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Winning the Image magazine award for Beauty Innovator. We are so proud of what we have created and the fact that it is so unique, so to win for innovation was brilliant. Securing Sweet Squared as our UK distributors was another highlight. They are the best in the business at what they do so having them take on Waxperts was massive for our brand.

What skills and traits do you think are necessary for your job?

Good leadership skills, and the ability to be creative, innovate and resilient.

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Ellen Kavanagh Jones with son Cooper and husband Conrad. Image: WaxpertsEllen/Instagram

Are you a believer in having a five year plan?

Kind of, even having a three year plan is a good idea. You need to have a plan and know where you’re going and what your ultimate goals are, especially if you have a team. Everyone needs to be working together towards the same goals.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?

Just begin! Starting can be the hardest thing for people. Do lots of research. Be objective about your business. Make sure there's a market for what you want to do.

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Image: WaxpertsEllen/Instagram

What women inspire you?

Mostly real women I know. Louise Phelan from PayPal, Pippa O'Connor Ormond, Oonagh O’Hagan from Meaghers Pharmacy. These are all exceptional businesswomen that I’m lucky to call my friends.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Happy and healthy along with my family, still enjoying life and whatever comes with it.

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