Tell us your start up story? How and when did you begin?
I became self-employed when I was twenty one – opening a beauty salon
called Carter Beauty which I ran for eight years before creating Cocoa
Brown 1 HOUR TAN. Like most things in life, it wasn’t a linear
process. There were many moving parts which collided and the result
was Cocoa Brown! I had an interest in cosmetic chemistry which led to
a trip to Philadelphia in 2007 for an introduction to creating my own
cosmetics but nothing came to fruition until I was on maternity leave
with my first child in 2012. My beautiful baby boy ended up with fake
tan on him after I had a spray tan and that led to an interest in
creating a fast acting tan that wouldn’t need to be left on overnight
How did you fund your business?
My first business Carter Beauty was funded with savings and a small
business loan. Cocoa Brown was funded by partnering with a
distribution company who were happy to fund manufacturing in return
for exclusive rights to distribute in Ireland and the UK.
What would be the main challenges you face running your own business?
The beauty industry is fast paced and the biggest challenge is to be
the best, to be first, to do things differently and to be out ahead
and offering our customers the most innovative products possible. I
love Mark Cuban’s message that in order to succeed in business you
must constantly ask yourself – what’s new? What’s next? How do I get
What keeps you motivated?
I’ve always been passionate about beauty. I was the friend that
tweezed everyone’s eyebrows off in the 90’s! I was the one in trouble
for wearing makeup to school and experimenting with skincare lotions
and potions. I failed my management and marketing degree exams in
first year and never returned to repeat them, instead I began a beauty
course and that was that – I began a career in beauty that excites me
every single day.
What is the best thing about running your own business?
Taking an idea from conception to dressing table. It’s an incredible feeling.
How do you keep a work life / balance and juggle childcare?
With great difficulty! I certainly don’t have it all figured out. I’m
learning to live with the gap. The gap between the best I can do and
the things that I can’t. The break I’m taking from social media the
last few months has taken some pressure off and I’m switching off much
faster in the evenings and weekends. I highly recommend a social media
detox if you’re feeling over-connected or overwhelmed.
What are you most proud of?
Personally – my two children. Professionally – my resilience. I take
rejection well and pick myself back up and knock on the next door.
What are your goals for your business?
To keep innovating, adapting and growing.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Ideas are like very small seeds. Be very careful who you share them
with because they can be blown away very easily. The more you believe
in your ideas, the less you need other people to love them. I also
strongly advise ignoring what everyone else is doing. Comparison is
the thief of joy. Do your own thing and remember you are well able.
Where can we find you?
Usually on instagram @marissacarter