It’s been a great year for the two Irish sisters behind popular teeth whitening brand Spotlight.
Hailing from Galway, Lisa and Vanessa Creavan’s products have been recognised by domestic awards such as Best Beauty Gadget (RSVP) and Beauty award winner (Image) this year.
Their business itself scooped the Image Business Woman of the Year Award-start up, with online sales sitting at half a million already for 2017.
Spotlight’s performance online has grown exponentially between October 2016 and October 2017, growing 134pc in the 12 month period and the site pulling in over 2000 website clicks per week and growing.
“The phenomenal response online really led to huge interest from Irish retailers,” Vanessa told Independent.ie.
“It’s interesting to see as we branch outside the Irish market. Online plays a much bigger part in the retail industry with our main stockists running online webshops and doing incredible numbers.”
With the business expanding into other countries in Europe including Norway, Finland and the UK, Lisa took a time out to share some insight behind the brand – and what’s next for the company.
Who are the ladies behind Spotlight?
We were born and raised in Galway and did dentistry in college in Trinity. We then worked in a practice in Galway city. At that time, some of the regulations around teeth whitening changed in Ireland. In terms of cosmetic whitening, there were not many options available so we set about designing a product that would be effective – and that we would use ourselves.
You’ve had quite the year…
We launched last year in August so we’ve only really had around 18 months in business. We’re doing really well in Ireland, I’d say we’re easily the no 1 for teeth whitening products in Ireland; Boots UK wanted to take us on which was a huge win. We won several awards; for the product, for newcomer of the year and the Newstalk advertising award. It’s incredible as we don’t have a business background at all.
We recently launched our product in Dubai and we are also in Norway Sweden and Finland. Things are going really well, we’ve been at conferences and the distributors are really liking what we have to offer. They respond to the fact that we are dentists, that we are a niche brand – people really trust us.
Share the science behind the products – the toothpaste, the pen and the strips.
As dentists, we learn about teeth. If you want to whiten your teeth you need an active ingredient. It is much easier to bring a product to market that doesn’t have an active ingredient. Our active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide – commonly known as bleach. It has negative connotations but it’s not a bad material if used appropriately in a controlled form.
With our strips, they are our applied so tightly to the teeth that it increases the effectiveness. As it’s not a super high concentration, a lower concentration of active ingredient means it needs to be right there at the teeth. That’s why you buy our product, it actually works and it’s so easy to use. It’s that simple.
What are your feelings on professional whitening now?
Ireland is a lot stricter than the States as regards regulations around this, but it comes down to research and science, and we have to respect that. It offers a guide to what is safe. When the concentration levels came down, we couldn’t achieve the same results in an hour session so customers were going home with extra gels and treatments. And it’s still quite a costly treatment for something that doesn’t last. As dentists, it puts us in an awkward position too that we can’t give the same results. The thing about whitening is that it’s all going to taper down with time. It’s much more effective to use lower concentrations often. We compare it a lot to your daily skincare routine; keeping it up on a regular basis maintains a nice bright smile (or clear complexion!).
What next for Spotlight?
Product innovation is the number one thing for us, we will be looking into more products as we constantly want new ways of thinking about dental hygiene and whitening. The industry is quite stale, we’ve been doing the same thing for decades so we want to give our customers something better. It’s not a sexy subject but why can’t it be nicely designed and more effective?
In the New Year, we are also looking at moving into new markets, other countries in Europe. We also plan to grow our small base team of four by an additional five more staff over the next 12 months. We’re looking for candidates with experience in the industry that are excited about beauty and well-made products.