My World by Lisa Creaven- Co-founder of Spotlight Oral Care
This month we are honoured to have oral health entrepreneur, dentist, wife and mother of three, Lisa Creaven, contribute to our newly launched My World series.
We launched this series to honour and introduce an inspiring group of mothers, entrepreneurs and friends of Mamas Hospital Bag. Each person featured is someone who motivates us with their shared values and determination to do what they love! Personally, I was introduced to Lisa last year and was immediately taken by her warmth and supportive nature. Read on to hear how the past year, while challenging, has been rich in triumphs and new beginnings for her.
Our conversation with Lisa
Lisa as a dentist, oral health entrepreneur and mother of 3 (with a 4th of the way)- life must be busy! Can you tell us something that has surprised you about motherhood or yourself as a mother? Parenthood can be so challenging and complex and yet simple all at the same time. I think you just never have it figured out. The minute you feel that you’re on top of one thing, another worry will come up. I found having my first baby, I was overwhelmed with the responsibility of it all! Now with my 4th on the way- I'm more at ease with this aspect of it. I think there is so much pressure on women in particular these days to do it all. I'm a child of the 80s! So sometimes less is more. I also think really basic things like being out doors in nature is so important. And don’t be a martyr, decide what’s right for you and your family needs and do that!
Any advice on items you see as essentials for your hospital bag? I bring everything! Lots of changes of comfy pjs! Earplugs, eye mask! Maybe a lovely candle!
The greatest gifts I hope to give my children are... an open mind, curiosity and enthusiasm for life, fun!
To be a successful mother I need to.. spend some time alone...I need time to recharge to give my best to my family.
Spotlight Oral Care has gone from strength to strength and developed into a full suite of products and advisory service, with an ever-growing global footprint. You have certainly created a brand which has managed to educate while bring some glamour to the dental industry. Can you tell us a bit about your path to starting Spotlight Oral Care and did you always want to be an entrepreneur? I think with Spotlight, it was very much an organic start. We really began by creating products for our own patients in our practice in Galway. We began first with a range of whitening products as we knew that this is one of the most requested treatments. We actually couldn’t believe that when we looked at the products that were available to buy at the time, they contained no active ingredients that could possibly whiten teeth so we really focused on just creating a product that worked, gave amazing results and didn’t cause sensitivity. It took two years to bring the first product to market as we wanted it to be perfect! I certainly never started out wanting to be an entrepreneur as such and I often felt that word was intimidating. I feel now I can own it a little more but that definitely took time!
How has your business changed in the last year? Are there any adjustments you have had to make to the business that you might keep- and others that you are dying to get back to the way they were pre-Covid? Our business has grown and evolved so much over the past year. We have grown our team to almost sixty people. We now have offices in Ireland, London and New York. We launched in three major US retailers- Ulta Beauty, CVS and target.com so its safe to say the past year has been a busy one! We have grown our direct to consumer business also which has been amazing to see. Covid has certainly brought its challenges but it has also given us opportunities. I truly feel that consumers are spending more time online researching the brands that they are engaging with. I think there has been a huge focus on sustainability which is so needed when it comes to the oral care industry. I think modern consumers are looking for products that work but that are also ethically produced and have an environmental and social conscience. There are so many team members that I haven’t met in person and I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone in person and getting to know people more! I definitely don’t miss all the travel but I'm looking forward to getting back to our New York office as soon as its safe to do so!
What is the part of building a business you love best? I love engaging with our customers. I am the CMO so I look after digital marketing, e- commerce, product packaging and marketing campaigns etc. I am so passionate about raising awareness in oral health, and providing our customers with education and knowledge to empower them to make better decisions about their oral health. Oral health like any other aspect of health is totally individual with a huge genetic aspect. Its also dynamic. I am currently pregnant and so my oral health needs are totally different than they were a year ago but sometimes a I feel there is a message out there that it doesn’t really matter what toothpaste you use. It’s all the same! But it’s really not all the same! Like skincare, you’re oral health needs change and you really need to use products that are suitable for you as an individual! I really want our customers to have the best oral health possible and the great thing is that 90% of oral health is achieved at home. Using products that work, that are targeting your own individual needs and used in the correct way is an amazing way to transform your oral health.
Can you give advice to anyone who wants to start their own business? Tips on how you got started, anything you think was essential to getting off the ground/ pitfalls to avoid? I would test your idea in a small and controlled way but other than that, just get started! There is no perfect way to launch, there is no such thing as perfection in business, you will learn so much as you go so the earlier you start, the quicker you will learn. I also think that no-one knows your business like you do so trust your instinct. Also as you grow, try to listen to your customer as much as possible. It’s a two way conversation that will really help you grow and expand!
What’s next for Spotlight Oral Care? We are really focused on our current business which is across Ireland, the UK and US markets. We have some really interesting products coming out this year which I'm really excited about so stay tuned! We are continuing to grow our teams which is exciting and we are also in the process of raising our second round of investment so a lot to do this year!
Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years? I hope that my family are happy and healthy. Other than that I'm happy to say- I have no idea. I love the idea of the possibilities life may throw my way.
Where are you most excited to go once the world opens up for easy travel? I am really looking forward to getting back to New York. I love that city- there is just something about it! Its so vibrant- so full of so many types of people- I just love it!
And finally my definition of success is... totally individual! Its so important to understand and be totally ok with your version of success. I love spending time with friends and family. I love to travel, I also love working so if I can find the time to do a little of each, that would be totally successful for me!