‘Pure skincare fresh from the farm’ is the tagline of a rural enterprise on the Wexford/Wicklow border, that enjoyed a boost in business during lockdown and is currently expanding its workshop space.

Claire Williams creates the ‘Meadows’ natural skincare range by hand on the family outfarm at Ashlawn, using natural plant-based ingredients without parabens, chemicals, synthetic colours or fragrances.

Her husband Jonathan is at the helm of the family dairy farm with its Montbeliarde herd and converted to robotic dairy farming with two Lely robots in the past two years.

“This has made such a difference to our lives, giving us greater work/life balance. They are amazing; the way forward for the younger generation,” said Claire.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from National University of Ireland (NUI) Maynooth, and also has diplomas in holistic massage, reflexology and sports injuries.

Going from a Monday to Friday, 9-5 grind with a two-hour daily commute to working from the farm, was a huge relief.

Skincare range

When her son Dylan – who will be eight at the end of November – was born, he had asthma and allergies. Claire decided to take a career break and develop a business from the farm.

She has never looked back.

Starting her own skincare brand

She completed a ‘start your own business’ course with the enterprise board in Rathnew and got a grant for the development of her website. Her ‘Meadows’ venture got off the ground in October 2017.

“I have never been as busy. The first lockdown was crazy busy. Lots of people were buying gifts and sending them direct to their loved ones. It was so busy that I developed a range of gift sets.

“I had to employ a part-time person to help with my social media and office work.”

In September, Claire launched her sensitive eye oil which she said is selling really well.

“We are delighted with the customers’ response,” she said.

A newborn baby range was added due to interest and demand for natural skincare products from baby massage therapists and midwives.

Skincare range

“As most of our stockists were closed during the various lockdowns, it was hard for new customers to test out products so we have the ‘sneaky peek travel set’ which is a great way for people to try out daily skin care routine products to see which products they like and what suits their skin,” said Claire.

“So now we are getting ready and prepared for Christmas, with new gift sets launching soon. We are also getting a lot of queries about men’s skincare so it is definitely something we will look at.

“There have been a lot of challenges for small businesses over the past year with all the Covid-19 issues, stockists closed and Brexit, which caused chaos with our supply chains, but I am so grateful for all the support from our loyal customers and new customers who are now supporting small Irish businesses,” Claire concluded.