Online Lives: Charlene Flanagan and Niamh Ryan

The number of people they saw using dirty makeup brushes inspired makeup artist Charlene Flanagan and skin therapist Niamh Ryan to join forces and come up with a solution.

“We both saw a lack of knowledge from a client perspective about the importance of using clean makeup brushes,” Charlene said.

The bacteria they carry is insane and people were using amazing skincare and spending money getting expensive facial treatments done and then putting dirty makeup brushes clogged with dead skin and bacteria on their skin every day. It really dulls the skin and is a total no-no for anyone with oily or breakout prone skin

“There was no easy solution on the market for people that really cut through that oil and bacteria and that still had your brushes ready to use minutes later.”

Mayo mum-of-three Niamh and Sligo woman Charlene, who is expecting her second child, are using social media to educate people with health and beauty tips. On their personal Instagram accounts, Charlene shares makeup advice and Niamh chats about skin and reflexology, while their brand, Ella & Jo, focuses on their ‘Squeaky Clean Brush Cleanser’ product.

“Instagram is the main platform where people follow brands and people they are interested in. It’s amazing for us to get real feedback from our customers practically in real time.”

Both ladies have business backgrounds, which they found helpful when setting up their own company.

“We both have a grounding in business and marketing and both have degrees with a business base and we think that has really helped us in a lot of areas.”

They enjoy educating their followers across Instagram.

“When you have put yourself out there as an expert in your field it motivates you to keep upskilling and to be the best that you can be so you are sharing the very best knowledge with people, whether that is showing a busy mum how she can hide her dark circles so she can have confidence going to the school gate or showing someone with adult acne some really easy ways to reduce their breakouts.

“Some people think it’s all fluff but we make a difference to so many women every day and we know because they tell us.”

Niamh and Charlene have struggled to juggle networking with real-life responsibilities.

“We both live in the West of Ireland but we get invited to so many events. With a six-hour round trip to Dublin, we just can’t attend everything, as much as we would love to. From a networking point of view that can be hard.”

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