This week, we look at the business of beauty as part of our series of articles on the Irish Made Awards. Celebrating all things made on Irish soil, the awards are open for entries for 2021 and mark the fifth year of the competition.

One of the esteemed judges who sits on the panel for the Irish Made Awards is Sonia Deasy, co-founder of Irish skincare brand, Pestle & Mortar. During the noughties, Sonia worked with her husband in photography where she first saw the use of hylauronic acid in beauty products. At that time, the now-cult favourite beauty product was not widely available outside of professional use. This is where Sonia spotted a gap in the market to create her own consumer product.

The Kildare-based skincare brand started out with just one product in 2014, from where it has grown to over 20 products within the award-winning range sold worldwide.

Sonia Deasy

Co-founder of Pestle & Mortar

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from my heritage in Indian natural healing and the wealth of Irish ingredients available to me on my doorstep.

Each product is inspired by the specific skincare problems our customers are dealing with and this is why other products don’t work.

I set out to create a solution; always guided by our formulation ethos. We combine science with nature to create skincare products that make you look and feel your best every day.

What is the best thing about making your products in Ireland?

Production plays a crucial role in any local economy and I’m proud to be able to play a part in supporting that. Producing our products in Ireland also means that we’ve greater control over our supply chain. It can be tempting to go overseas for a lower-cost solution. However, it’s not prohibitive – with planning and strategic marketing, it can be overcome.

What is the best piece of business advice you ever got?

Two words: “Take action.” There’s an Irish proverb that says: “You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.” It’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given. Far too often we spend too much time talking and thinking, and not enough time doing anything. Mostly because we’re afraid.

How has the pandemic affected your business?

Our international reach has been growing steadily since the pandemic hit and online shopping has sky-rocketed.

The fact that we didn’t have to change our fundamental mission, is why I think we have managed to thrive despite the odds. Our brand and products continue to be relevant because what we want to achieve is simple; we want to make people look and feel their best every day.

What was the last thing you bought and loved?

A slab of Bean and Goose handmade dark chocolate from nearby Wexford – it came with a hammer! I hid it from the kids, took it out after dark, and enjoyed.

To find out more and enter the Irish Made Awards 2021, see