Home Estate Planning Meet the founder sculpting her hobby into a multimillion-pound beauty brand

Meet the founder sculpting her hobby into a multimillion-pound beauty brand

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Aimee Connolly, founder of Sculpted by Aimee, tells Jennifer Sieg how following her passion led to the creation of a multi-million-pound global beauty brand.

Aimee Connolly was watching her peers settle into corporate careers when she realised a normal day job was never going to follow her studies.

Instead it was the idea of working for herself to blend beauty with business that excited her the most.

With little to lose, the 23-year-old makeup artist created what is now a multimillion-pound makeup brand – Sculpted by Aimee – without even having as much as a business plan.

“I was calm,” she told City A.M. from her morning stroll through the Irish countryside when asked how it felt going through the process of starting a new venture.

The calm before the storm

Reminiscing on the moments during her childhood when she would sit and watch her mum use makeup, Connolly said she’s always been fascinated by the art.

“I was definitely a girly girl,” she chuckles as she looks back on her childhood.

Luckily, with that simple fascination came her first realisation – if you want a brand to be the best it can be, you must first start with what matters most: the product.

First and foremost you cannot have a product that doesn’t perform

Aimee Connolly

“You can do all the marketing in the world, [but] if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.”

With that performing product comes the rest – a wave of “organic love,” as Connolly likes to call it.

Once you sprinkle in some strong community support and the power of ‘word of mouth’ marketing, you’ve got the foundation for a global brand in the making.

“You have to stay strong to those elements and try and build it because essentially that’s where the proper organic love comes from,” she says, pointing to wave after wave of organic social media activity.

Indeed, the rise of social media and the power of genuine consumer interest is any budding entrepreneur’s best friend nowadays – especially Connolly’s.

The venture’s explosive growth and wide following have helped Sculpted remain a fully self-funded venture.

Other businesses might have had to raise money to launch their first UK flagship store in London and expand into some 700 stores in nine different countries, but by taking her time, Connolly’s business has been able to grow without being dependent on outside financiers.

Sculpted by Aimee’s UK flagship store in London

“Taking my time for the first 18 months allowed me to not need a load of cash to move forward,” she said.

Only time will tell how things move further, but after registering 300 per cent growth between 2021 and 2023, the future looks bright.

Despite this rapid growth – she said her “not, not costly” ambitions for the brand’s future could indeed change her mindset when it comes to outside investments.

Like any new business venture, she plans – and encourages others – to “make the decision wisely”.

Managing the growing pains

With growth comes the need for more people on board, Connolly said, as Sculpted is no longer equipped to stay a one-woman team.

Last year alone, Sculpted had a hiring spree of 50 new employees – which she considered the “biggest growing pain” yet.

“I think people will always be your biggest learning because they are fundamentally the most changing variable in your business and also one of the most important things in the business as well,” Connolly said.

While learning to manage a growing business – and staff – can have its challenges, Connolly said it’s one of the most rewarding achievements.

“They’re all making this happen,” she said, with a smile.

The momentum doesn’t stop there, as Sculpted has 20 new roles ‘in the pipeline’ for 2024 and a whole lot more expansion.

It’s been a journey she wouldn’t trade for anything, Connolly said, and she’d do it again if she could. 

With a little naivety, a whole lot of determination,  and a strong sense of resilience, beauty did indeed blend with her business.

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