Maryrose Simpson came up with a unique idea for women, which she believes, will be one less headache for women to worry about. She offers a monthly subscription service that delivers women their “time of month” products. ‘Women are busier these days, with a faster lifestyle that consists of multitasking and more often than not women tend to overlook their own needs’, says Maryrose. She has created www.myladybug.ie as a solution to ensure that women are always prepared with one less task to worry about.
The idea to set up MyLadyBug came about because Maryrose encountered the same problem again and again of never been prepared when it came to her own “time of the month”. She found herself searching online to see if there were any solutions to combat this issue and scanned blogs for other women having similar problems. Maryrose simply set out to solve her own problem and in turn, it sparked a creative moment for her to start a business that delivered women the right products at the right time. The more research she did the more she was convinced that this could be a potential business because there is no one servicing this need.
Having done her research, Maryrose started to get excited about the prospect of fulfilling this need for women. She then carried out her own primary market research before taking the idea further talking to a potential target of 250 women. The findings concluded that 68% of the women she surveyed were in fact having the same or similar issues of running out at the last moment of their “time of month” products.
At the time, when Maryrose was researching and developing her idea she was also working part-time. She was unsure where to go next and what support was available and after hearing about the UCD Innovation Academy, she decided to do a Post Graduate course on Innovation & Entrepreneurship through the Spring Board programme. ‘This was the best decision I made as it gave me the opportunity to validate my idea and I learned how to take my idea from concept to a refined business model’, says Maryrose.
There were no major start-up costs initially as Maryrose has developed and designed her own website. She was able to do this, as she is a multi-talented individual with a Degree in Visual Communications from Limerick Institute of Technology and the Limerick school or Art and Design. (Visual Communications - BA (Honours) in Design). Maryrose loves the creative side of the business and really enjoyed creating the MyLadyBug brand and adapting her design thinking into a new light.
Like all new start-ups, there were challenges for Maryrose during her first year and she was determined that these challenges would not get in the way of her taking the business further. They were primarily around the logistical element of the business. At one stage, she thought she might have to give up because of the delivery costs, which would increase the overall price for her product offering and make it less attractive for women to sign up. She went back to the drawing board on everything, particularly the packaging to come up with the right solution to combat this dilemma.
She attributes her success so far to two things. When she graduated in 2012, most of her friends emigrated and she made a decision to stay behind in Ireland. Looking back now, she is delighted that she made this decision, and she did work hard to make things happen for her. Last year Maryrose was awarded county winner (Laois) and regional finalist in Irelands Best Young Entrepreneur competition for “best new business idea” which was run by Laois Local Enterprise Office.
When it comes to Marketing, Maryrose also knows the importance of getting good PR, particularly for her type of business to drive traffic to her website. Since winning the Irish Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) for Laois under the category of best new idea last year, this has given her a great opportunity to tell her story about starting out in business. Johnny Ryan from the Irish Times wrote a piece on her “Find your Niche and focus on Design” and quite recently, she was featured in the Daily Mail Women of Influence write-up. After winning the IBYE award, UCD Innovation Academy invited her to participate in the discussion alongside Niamh Bushell, (Dublin’s first Start-Up Commissioner).
The best advice she has got so far was from a Facilitator at UCD Innovation Academy, Colman Farrell when he said that in order to learn and grow as a person, you have to continually move outside of your comfort zone as your comfort zone does challenge you and your development. She believes that the IBYE Competition is a very good example of moving outside of your comfort zone on so many different levels.
The Bootcamp organised by Laois Local Enterprise Office to prepare the participants for IBYE was fantastic. The competition also provided her with a great opportunity to network with local businesses, which are at different stages of development and it was great to hear their individual stories on how they got started
She was absolutely thrilled to win the Prize of €10,000 for the best new business idea and cites this as the proudest moment of her first year in business. She was delighted that her idea was validated by such a strong panel of judges who were experienced in business, as she was challenged to answer all their questions and convince them of her business idea. She used the prize money to refine her Packaging, apply for Trade Marks and also for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for her website.
Maryrose says this about her IBYE journey:
"The IBYE competition has helped nurture and prepare both myself and my idea for the next step of my business venture. I have learned that ideas do not change or impact our lives; it’s the implementation of ideas that makes the difference. As young people we have the opportunity to break current boundaries, disrupt current practices with new methods and approaches through technology and innovation. Innovation is Limitless, there is no right or wrong."
If there was ONE piece of advice she would give to anyone starting out it would be ‘Don’t be afraid to share your idea because you will be surprised how one person can not only solidify the concept but add a different perspective to it. People are so willing to offer advice so don’t be afraid to ask’, says Mary Rose.
Mary Rose can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out her website www.myladybug.ie
Laois Local Enterprise Office are now taking applications for the various categories in the 2016 Irish Business Young Entrepreneur Award. For more information, please visit www.localenterprise.ie/laois/ibye/