Businesswoman Siobhan Boyle tells us how she built her beauty empire from the ground up to become Donegal's Best Established Business of 2019.

As the founder of Sculpt, Siobhan Boyle MUA runs her own Letterkenny store, online shop and the region’s only private VTCT academy.

And it was her enterprising spirit and determination to grow that earned her the Best Established Business award in the Donegal final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur last week.

Winner in the Best Established category Siobhan Boyle – Sculpt Cosmetics, receives her award from Eve Anne McCarron, business advisor at Local Enterprise Office, Donegal and Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, Seamus Neely.

Speaking on this latest accolade, Siobhan told DW: “I am honestly delighted and so grateful to have won Best Established Business. I have worked hard to build Sculpt so far and I am so excited to use winning to propel Sculpt to a larger business and potentially employ more people here in Donegal.”

Now in its sixth year, Sculpt Studio and Academy employs some of the best PRO artists in the North West, and regularly turns out talented MUAs who gain qualifications through their private professional and personal courses.

“I love that we can use local people and provide employment here in Sculpt. Donegal is overlooked in so many ways, so I am delighted to find such capable and talented people to work alongside here,” Siobhan said.

Sculpt Academy Head Tutor Jenny Doherty and Sculpt Cosmetics Founder Siobhan Boyle

Empowering women with the training they need to become independent makeup artists is an important goal of Siobhan’s.

She said: “It is really important that women know that they can do absolutely anything they want. There is most definitely a divide in pay and top jobs, we aren’t going to change it from talking about it, but rather by doing things to better ourselves and teach younger girls that they can do anything they desire.”

Sculpt Studio hasn’t grown without hard work. Siobhan has over 14 years of experience in make-up artistry for TV and Film, having worked with TG4, RTE and TV3 and editorial shoots before moving into makeup education in Dublin and London.

She moved home to Donegal in 2012, where she spotted a niche in the local beauty market and worked to make her boutique a success story during the recession.

Sculpt Cosmetics, Oliver Plunket Road Letterkenny

Sculpt Cosmetics in Letterkenny

Siobhan has this advice for other women thinking about taking the plunge and starting up a business:

“Just go for it, take well thought out calculated risks and ensure you are passionate about what you do! You will make mistakes and that’s okay, it is about how you recover that counts. There will always be negatives and people telling you you are crazy, but keep your eyes focused on you and your goals.

“I constantly get people telling me I am crazy running a business, even now. I am lucky in that I had the self belief and determination in myself, passion for what I do. I also have a great family and husband who support me, which is invaluable!”

This year’s IBYE Donegal competition saw 14 local entrepreneurs working to develop their skills and capacity to progress the potential of their businesses.

Now only did Siobhan come away with an award, but she gained vital skills for growing Sculpt in the future.

She said: “The IBYE competition gives you so much more than just a chance of winning, it gave all of us business insights from experts on marketing, branding, selling and much more to show you how to improve your business. We all went through a business bootcamp which helped me refine areas of my business.”

Finalists in this year’s Donegal final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur pictured with mentor Thomas Cullen at last week’s awards ceremony in Letterkenny.

The Donegal winners will now progress to represent Donegal at the Regional IBYE Finals to be held in Leitrim in June.

Kilcar’s Catriona McGinley of Orwell and Browne, an Irish heritage brand that manufactures and supplies Donegal tweed products worldwide, was runner up in the best established category.