Inside the Inglot Ireland family... as their award-winning make-up firm hits the UK
Geraldine Swarbrigg is no stranger to retail success.
The serial entrepreneur has been in the business for over 40 years - and she's just taken home the Lifetime Achievement Award for her efforts from the Image Women 2017 Image Business Women of the Year Awards.
"In the 90s, I brought Vero Moda from Denmark, then Jack & Jones and EXIT Kids; after that I brought over Aldo Shoes and introduced that to Ireland," she told independent.ie
Her most recent venture Inglot Ireland is a family-run affair which Geraldine now runs with daughter Jane (General Manager) and son Peter (Managing Director).
"I was looking for something else and I was in Montreal when I spotted the Inglot brand. Jane was in Australia at the time and rang her and said 'have a look at this'".
"As a seasoned retailer, the look was offering something different for the customers. As a makeup artist, Jane saw something about the cost, production, pigment, just something that we hadn't come across before."
A Polish family started the Inglot International under the helm of Wojciech Inglot. Geraldine and Jane met up with Wojciech in London, told them what they could do with his brand in Ireland and brought him to Dublin. It was 2009, in the middle of the recession.
"I told him that if he was a partner, we'd find him the stores," said Geraldine.
Coming from a family business, Wojciech appreciated the fact that the Swarbriggs were a mother-daughter duo and agreed on a partnership without putting pressure on the family.
"He waited for us, he said 'you'll know when it's right'. He described us as as 'the family from that lovely country from the west of Europe in the depth of recession'," said Geraldine.
The first Inglot Ireland store was opened in Liffey Valley in 2009. "The standalone store wasn't an experience as yet in Ireland. The Inglot stores were very big and bold with lots of colour," said Jane.
"What was different about Inglot was that the customer could come in and the salesperson would know exactly what they were looking for [make-up]. They'd get that overall customer experience".
With a comparatively low price point - "keeping the cost reasonable and the quality high" - the brand proved popular with the current target market in the 18-25 age group.
"People are starting to wear make-up younger and younger so we'll see young teens in our stores," said Jane.
"But, in saying that, we cater for all skin types and ages. There's so many other routes that we can go down, there's huge scope for expansion. It's a very exciting time at the moment."
Inglot Ireland have 17 stores across Ireland and the UK - their first international store just opened in Newcastle - plus an online store, and employ over 300 staff. Further expansion plans for the family franchise are "imminent".
The company has recently invested substantially in renovating stores around the country including in Cork and Dublin's Jervis Shopping Centre - and their award-winning online platform.
At the Retail Excellence Ireland Awards last week, Inglot Ireland won the ‘Best Digital Campaign Category’ for the second year running, an accolade which reflected the work on the launch of the Inglot Signature Palette Collection, released in June this year.