In our work as Designers we come into contact with so many talented and inspiring people. We believe that creativity is contagious, so in the interest of spreading the creative bug we want to share inspiring design stories from these amazing people.
One such lady is Clean Slate Founder, Nicole Connolly. Clean Slate is an exciting new Irish lifestyle business offering a range of fragrance products in a beautiful, clean and gender neutral aesthetic. We chatted to Nicole about starting a creative business and seeing your visions and designs become a reality.
Nicole, what is Clean Slate and how did the business come about?
CLEAN SLATE is a small batch company, making products for your home and body, based in Dublin, Ireland. Products already on the market just didn’t tick all of the boxes for me. To satisfy my desire for fragrance, gorgeous products, design and creativity I began making my own little luxuries that would blend all these passions. This grew into creating a range of products that are aesthetically pleasing, high quality and affordable. It was important to me that the style of the product would be both gender neutral and design conscious.
What inspires you or where do you source inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere, from looking through coffee table books to a simple walk in the woods, there is always something to spark an idea. For me, scents are created not necessarily intentionally but have come about through experiences, occasions and memories. For example the Lavender + Eucalyptus range was inspired by my children who have always loved both oils on their pillows at night to aid sleep and clear their little noses. My mum inspired the Cardamom + Spice as she makes an amazing tea brack. We start each morning with a strong black coffee with a spoon of coconut oil, the smell is amazing and I thought it would make a great candle too.
What is a typical day like in the Clean Slate HQ?
Everyday here is different, though I try to keep a weekly schedule so that everything gets crossed off the list. I have days for pouring and days for soap making and cutting. Other days I am labeling and wrapping or at the desk ordering supplies and packing orders. What is typical is that everyday you’ll find a coffee and a candle on the go while I work.
Who is on the Clean Slate team?
As a new business I am a one woman show at the moment, though my family have been of great help and support and it has been all hands on deck at times. The kids help out at markets and my custom-made soap boxes were made by my Dad.
What is the process from concept to completion for your products?
I do a lot of testing before I settle on a perfect scent blend. As a result I have a cupboard full of testers!. The candles are all hand poured and left to set before trimming the wicks and later adding labels. Sprays are also handmade and labelled. Ingredients for soaps are meticulously measured, weighed, mixed and poured into boxes and left to set before unmoulding. After slicing they are left on a rack to cure. They then need to be wrapped and labelled.
What have been your business highlights so far?
For me, the highlight so far has been just seeing my ideas come to life and being enjoyed by others. It’s the simple things like hearing a customer tell you how much they loved something and returning for more!
What advice would you give others who may be thinking about setting up a creative business?
I think people already know that you need to be passionate and to love and live what you do. My advice would be to stop procrastinating and just go for it. If you are the perfectionist type, don’t wait until everything is just right, just start. Go with your gut feeling on decisions and surround yourself with other creative and positive people. Also, when you experience disappointments and mistakes, don’t dwell on them, view them as a learning opportunity and move on.
How do you unwind and switch off from the demands of business life?
I love taking a family walk every night. Getting some fresh air, exercise and chatting about our news is a great way to end the day. If I have free time, my favourite indulgence is catch up on interior and lifestyle blogs and design magazines. Of course, the glass of wine in my hand while I lust over the images, helps with the unwinding part!
What’s ahead for Clean Slate in 2016 and beyond?
Next year I plan to add more scents and introduce some new products to the line. I hope to continue to learn and grow, take on some help and add more lovely stockists. I want CLEAN SLATE to have further reach so that our products are more readily available to our customers so more people can use our little luxuries every day.
For more information on clean slate and the range available check out their website www.cleanslate.ie or email firstname.lastname@example.org