GRAPEVINE: Cosmetic Creations staff work through holidays in response to Covid-19; plus other stories

Breffney O'Dowling Keane of Cosmetic Creations reflects upon the launch of the company's new Airmedica hand sanitiser brand

GRAPEVINE: Cosmetic Creations staff work through holidays in response to Covid-19; plus other stories

Specialist manufacturer Cosmetic Creations has prioritised the domestic market for the full three million units of hand sanitiser it is producing within a 10-week period.

The 90 staff members of Cosmetic Creations in Dublin Hill, Cork, and in Claremorris, Co Mayo, have been working all hours, even working long shifts on St Patrick's Day, producing around 80,000 units per week. The company launched its new Airmedica hand sanitiser brand in response to the global spread of coronavirus.

The company's in-house cosmetic chemists are also busy developing a new range of sprays, body washes and gels as demand for new personal and professional protective sanitary products looks set to grow for the foreseeable future.

Cosmetic Creations is producing these products for state and semi-state entities, for pharmaceutical distributors as well as for sale direct to consumers via its website. The company has prioritised its Irish customers over businesses from overseas seeking to fast-track product orders.

“We are drinking a lot of coffee,” said Breffney O'Dowling Keane, market development manager at Cosmetic Creations. “We understand how important this product is to the nation right now, which is why everyone in the company has been quick to rally around and pull on the green jersey, as have all of our customers.

“We are doing everything we can to have enough supply for Ireland first, then for our EU customers and further overseas. Our staff coming in to work on St Patrick's Day shows the spirit of the Irish rising to the challenges the nation is facing.”

Before the outbreak of Covid-19, Cosmetic Creations was best known for its contract formulation and manufacturing expertise, effectively a specialist third party developer and producer of products in partnership with its client companies.

For instance, it produces over 50% of all self-tanning products sold in Ireland, including four of the five most popular brands. It also produces skincare, cosmetics, bodycare and wellness-enhancing food supplements and health drinks and medical device applications.

Founded over a decade ago in Mayo, it took over the Yves Rocher site in Dublin Hill, Cork, when it closed in late 2018, retaining many of the plant's skilled staff. Cosmetic Creations has grown steadily since then.

Changing production tack at such short notice has been quite remarkable. In the national interest, clients quickly accepted likely delays in orders for its other products while the focus shifted to hand sanitisers.

It all came together so fast. The Airmedica brand name came from Airmid, the ancient Irish goddess of herbal healing. The rapid journey from concept to product is a testament to the company's skilled and experienced product developers and engineers.

Dyon Manning, Megan Smithers, and Rebbecca O'Donnellof Cosmetic Creations, Kilbarry Industrial Estate, Cork, with two of the new alcohol-based Airmedica hand sanitiser bottles.

Dyon Manning, Megan Smithers, and Rebbecca O'Donnellof Cosmetic Creations, Kilbarry Industrial Estate, Cork, with two of the new alcohol-based Airmedica hand sanitiser bottles.

“We have been very lucky to have the chemists in-house with the ability to shift the focus of our current manufacturing onto the new hand sanitisers. A product launch like this would normally take a year to 18 months, we had to do it in a few weeks," said Breffney.

“Our production team is running to maximum. We have also had to put in a lot of work in terms of logistics, sourcing raw materials and bottles in different sizes from 50ml up to 50L. Very often products in this sector would have materials coming from Asia, but we have been working with suppliers in Ireland and across the EU.

“We are also conscious that some of our suppliers across Europe may be facing lockdowns due to the virus. We understand how important it is that we keep producing to the absolute maximum right now.”

Cosmetic Creations supplies products to private and public sector hospitals, to pharmacies and to a range of industry clients. It also sells to the public from its online store, where the staff are working around the clock currently just to cope with the volume of orders.

While enjoying its success as a third-party developer and manufacturer of a wide range of products for its clients, it was probably always on the agenda for Cosmetic Creations to launch its own products.

The Airmedica brand may have been thrust into being by the advent of Covid-19, but this moment of adversity may also in due course mark a watershed in the evolution of Cosmetic Creations.

Aiden Corcoran, the company's owner and CEO, leads 20-strong team working on the new Airmedica hand sanitiser products. In November 2019, he announced 90 jobs were to be created between its operations in Cork and Mayo, following an investment of €7.5m into the company.

The timing of that investment now seems very fortunate indeed. In recent months, the company has invested in advanced formulation and manufacturing technologies, significantly expanding their output capacity.

The company says that it is the only manufacturer in Ireland, equipped with the state-of-the-art equipment and output capacity capable of delivering to the scale and timeframe needed to respond to the current demand for hand sanitisers.

Cosmetic Creations was already a very successful company. Shipping to more than 15 countries globally, clients include private label national brand names and Irish, the UK and European retail multiples.

The response to the demand for the Airmedica hand sanitisers has no doubt added significant production pressures. Talking to members of the company, that pressure is not translating into a personal strain.

Lisa Leech, Paddy Cunney and Megan Shaughnessy of Cosmetic Creations in Claremorris with the firm's new  Airmedica hand sanitiser. Picture: Michael Donnelly

Lisa Leech, Paddy Cunney and Megan Shaughnessy of Cosmetic Creations in Claremorris with the firm's new Airmedica hand sanitiser. Picture: Michael Donnelly

Aiden Corcoran said: “We have been contacted by both the public and private sectors, to deliver a high volume of hand sanitisers with a short turnaround time. Following recent investment in our Cork campus, we have expanded our capacity, and are working to meet this immediate need.

“We are fortunate to have an agile team, who have been hard at work, formulating and testing this product and ensuring we have the resources to manufacture and distribute, nationally and internationally.”

Shane Mclave, director, Excel Recruitment.

Shane Mclave, director, Excel Recruitment.

Excel recruiting for jobs in retail, health

Where one door closes, another opens. Excel Recruitment has immediate jobs available in retail, healthcare and warehousing. The company is seeking to fill vacancies for client companies who are striving to keep supermarket shelves stocked, supply chains moving and healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes fully staffed.

Excel’s director, Shane Mclave, says: “We are getting requests for huge volumes of staff nationwide and predict this will only increase. We are taking every single measure possible to protect all of our temporary staff members and our clients’ internal teams while still ensuring our clients in such vital

industries are supported and the country can continue to operate as normally as possible in these unprecedented times.”

Excel Recruitment is appealing to students, hospitality staff or those from non-essential retail or other industries who may be out of work due to Covid-19 restrictions to get in touch as demand for staff in key sectors intensifies. While many industries have seen slowdowns or total temporary closures over the past number of days, Excel Recruitment has seen an increase in requests for staff in key industries.

Areas such as supermarkets, pharmacy retail and their related supply chain partners have come under increased pressure in the past week.

Healthcare facilities and hospitals are also seeking to increase their nursing and health care assistant staff numbers along with cleaners and support staff to ensure patient needs are met.

Shane Mclave added: “Our consultants are working remotely to limit and we have imposed strict new measures to encourage social distancing as much as possible to protect our temporary workforce. Staff timesheets and certifications are being sent through email and Whatsapp messaging and interviews are being conducted via videocall.”

David Murphy, Grainne Hussey and Paula O’Halloran, the first place mediator team winners in the International Academy of Dispute Resolution Mediation Tournament hosted at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, USA.

David Murphy, Grainne Hussey and Paula O’Halloran, the first place mediator team winners in the International Academy of Dispute Resolution Mediation Tournament hosted at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, USA.

Irish trio win gold at US law tournament

A team of three Irish trainee solicitors has won the team award at the International Academy of Dispute Resolution

Mediation Tournament at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, USA.

The team featured Paula O’Halloran, a trainee solicitor with CDS Law & Tax in Cork, David Murphy (Michael Houlihan & Partners Solicitors) and Grainne Hussey (Eversheds Sutherland). This team was chosen to represent the Law Society of Ireland and was coached by John Lunney.

The tournament draws more than 50 teams from around the world including the US, Canada, India and Europe.

“We are thrilled with the result. The competition was intense so we are very proud and grateful to our coaches, firms and the Law Society for their support throughout,” said Paula O’Halloran, a graduate of UL, who has been working with CDS Law & Tax since 2017. She is due to qualify as a solicitor in November 2020. CDS Law & Tax has offices in Cork city and Tralee.

Rob Pryce, Xtremepush’s chief revenue officer.

Rob Pryce, Xtremepush’s chief revenue officer.

Tech firm on track for growth

Rob Pryce has joined SaaS firm Xtremepush as chief revenue officer.

The Dublin-based company has ambitions to become one of the world’s top three multichannel engagement providers. Rob Pryce will focus on aligning sales, marketing and customer experience functions to ensure sustained growth.

This appointment follows Xtremepush’s recent launch of its new office in Istanbul, Turkey, at an event hosted by Enterprise Ireland, providing a foothold in the Middle East market.

In the past year, Xtremepush has opened new offices in the US, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic, as well as its existing UK base. The business operates in 21 regions, providing digital marketing solutions across Europe, the US, Canada, China, South Africa and Australia.

Acquisition targets globally will continue to complement client service, following the successful 2018 acquisition of Emailcenter, a U.K. email service provider.

Rob Pryce is a senior business leader with over 20 years’ sales, commercial and operational experience in the technology and digital sectors. He most recently held CRO roles in Social Talent and with Bionic and previously worked in senior positions at global operators Microsoft and Quantcast.

A founder and director of IAB Ireland, he was a member of the brand committee of IAB Europe, the network of online advertising trade associations.

In Microsoft, Pryce served as European lead for Sales Strategy and Brand, and at Quantcast he established the EMEA Account Management and Customer Success teams. He was also founder of Diffiniti Ireland, building it up to become the country’s largest digital agency.

Xtremepush was founded in 2014 by Tommy Kearns, CEO, and Dr Kevin Collins, CTO. Its clients come from a variety of sectors including banking and finance, sports betting, media, retail, and travel.“We futureproof by always staying one step ahead of customers’ requirements,” said Tommy Kearns, CEO, Xtremepush. “Our new CRO role will ensure that we scale in the right way, keep the customer at the centre of everything we do, and hire the right talent for our fast-paced working environment.”

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