How did running away from a broken heart lead this girl from Ireland to her next life and a new business. Ciara Fritsch traveled to Nantucket to work for only one summer, but when she met her future husband in the first month on island, all that changed. Now she needed something more than a summer job to stay in the states. “I worked at a small hotel for a couple of years and then found a job with an event planner and worked for her for 13 years. A couple of years ago, I knew I wanted to do something different but I had no idea what that would be.”
Ciara loved beauty products, “As a teenager I was always making my own oatmeal face masks, natural cleansers and oil based moisturizers. I had very problematic skin.” She found a college offering a course in Natural Product Manufacturing and committed to a yearlong program. “Going back to school was one of the hardest things I ever did but also the most rewarding.”
She says she found it really difficult, “Each week I had two tests to take, two papers and had to critique two classmates’ papers.” The course was a collaborative process and she learned from other people’s work. Ciara says one of the best segments of the class was on running a beauty product business. “We were required to develop a business plan and a guideline for taking our future products to market.”
What was she going to produce? Ciara wanted, and needed for her own skin, a face oil. While taking the course, she began formulating her first product. She also flew to Ireland to take a one-day workshop with famed Bia Beauty founder, Tracey Ryan. Ciara was now all-in and very determined to make this work. “I was so scared but it was all I thought about. In the shower, I gave myself pep talks to help me take the next step.”
When it came time to brand her fledgling beauty line, she wanted Nantucket in the name. Ciara thought about the purity of her body products and came up with Pure Body Nantucket. “I chose colors, a logo and packaging that matched the beachy Nantucket theme.” She ordered the packaging and materials needed to produce her first product at home. Now on to sales.
With her first package in hand, Ciara went to a friend’s shop to get some advice on pricing. While there another store owner walked in the door and saw what she had. Immediately she asked Ciara to meet with her. Ciara walked next door and while she was discussing product placement, a customer walked in a bought her first bottle of face oil. “I high-fived my friend and I knew I was in business.”
That Christmas while Ciara was at home in Ireland, her products sold out. She had to get back to Nantucket and back to work. She added a lip conditioner, a body oil and a soap to her line in the Spring of 2017. Ciara works part time in her husband’s antique shop and the rest of her time is spent building her business. She can be found every Saturday at the local Farmer’s market in the center of town.
“I’m the least likely entrepreneur,” but Ciara says that the difference was taking the leap to go back to school. My husband, family and friends gave me the encouragement I needed, “I had to dig really deeply to find the confidence to do it all.”
With a three-year plan in hand, Pure Body Nantucket has been approached by some big players but Ciara says, “I still feel like I’m taking baby steps. Who knows where this path will take me but so far, it’s been incredibly rewarding both professionally and personally.
Find the courage to go back to school to get the training you need.