Natural skincare start-up benefits from Covid-related surge
Esker Fields’s products are made by hand in small batches on the family farm in Co Louth
Maria Morgan, founder of Esker Fields, a natural skincare start-up based in Co Louth
Esker Fields is a natural skincare start-up based in Co Louth. It was founded by Maria Morgan in 2018 and during the first lockdown Morgan used the time to step back and reassess the business. What followed was a rebranding to better reflect the company’s green and sustainable origins in the rolling countryside of Ballymakeeny near Drogheda, Co Louth.
Morgan also took the opportunity to add three new products to her line-up, including two skin and hair care products for men. The new look range went on sale last July and this was followed in August by the launch of a new ecommerce site.
“I initially set up as an holistic therapist giving treatments such as aromatherapy and Indian head massage, but having seen the powerful effect essential oils were having on my clients’ physical, mental and emotional wellbeing I turned my attention to making products based around them,” Morgan says. “My vision is to create a skincare range that not only moisturises, soothes and nourishes the skin, but also makes the user feel good from the inside out.”
Morgan had spent most of her career in adult education before starting Esker Fields, but her parents were publicans and she inherited the business gene. “My brothers and I had helped out in the family pub from a very young age and this gave me a great understanding of customer service and what it takes to run a business in terms of vision and stamina. I suppose you could say business is in my blood,” she says.
Esker Fields’s products are made by hand in small batches on the Morgan family’s dairy farm. The ingredients are ethically sourced and sustainable and all pots and bottles are recyclable. “What makes our products unique is that not only will they heal and improve the appearance of the skin, nails and the hair, but they will also help relieve stress and anxiety, ease muscular aches and pains and aid sleep because of the power of the pure essential oils they contain,” says Morgan who has two people working with her part-time and expects to increase employment later this year.
Morgan acknowledges that she has entered a crowded and competitive market but believes that her products will stand out from the crowd because, “Esker Fields is not just another skincare product. It is more of an experience and a bit like having a spa treatment in the comfort of your own home. Our products are for the person willing to spend that bit more to have a pure, natural product and it is important to take time when using our range to inhale the aromas as inhalation is the fastest way to get essential oils into the body.”
Esker Fields products are positioned upmarket and aimed at men and women. The range includes an aftershave balm and a hair and beard conditioning oil as well as the usual line-up of body and skincare products. New to the range is a Sleep Please pillow mist which has been selling like hot cakes during the pandemic as people struggle with disrupted sleep. Also flying off the shelves is the company’s hand cream which Morgan says can alleviate the dryness associated with constant hand washing and sanitising.
Before the second lockdown began, Morgan had just begun to get traction with her first group of retailers and she intends to expand this sales channel a little more when restrictions are eased. However, her main focus will be on direct sales through her online shop in Ireland initially and then further afield. Investment in the business to date has been €20,000 in personal funding while the company also had a small grant from Louth Local Enterprise Office to help build its new ecommerce site.