When one of her three daughters wanted a mirror with lights around it, a la a movie-star dressingroom, Andrea Griffin thought finding one would be no problem at all. Not so.
In time-honoured entrepreneurial fashion, she subsequently decided to make them herself.
This was quite the departure – she had never been in business before. From another perspective however, it made perfect sense. Griffin had built up a career designing aircraft interiors for some of the ritziest airlines in the world, such as Emirates and Etihad.
She had also been made redundant and was looking for something that, after decades spent travelling internationally, would allow her stay closer to her home in Maynooth.
The result was GlamDoll.ie, which she set up in 2018 to supply Hollywood-style mirrors and speciality lighting.
The products include cool-touch mirrors with LED bulbs that are bright but dimmable. The mirrors offer optimum lighting to ensure flawless make-up application and, of course, the all-important selfies that so often go with it.
Today the business has a showroom, also in Maynooth, and two warehouses, from which she ships products around the world, almost all of which she designs herself.
It’s unusual for an ecommerce business to also go the bricks-and-mortar route, but it makes sense. “Some of the products are expensive and very high quality, so I knew some people would like to come in and see and touch them,” explains Griffin. “At the moment we are open by appointment only but over 90 per cent of our business comes online anyway, and sales are flying.”
Among the business’s most popular items is its Beverly mirror, which features 14 cool-touch LED lightbulbs and comes with a sturdy free-standing base as well as wall-mounting options. It has two useful power plugs on the side for hairdryer and straightener, plus two USB ports, so you can charge your phone while you “get your glam on”, as Griffin puts it. It costs €400.
The Burbank Hollywood Mirror and Vanity has, in addition, integrated Bluetooth speakers, as well as its own vanity table in white lacquered wood with stainless steel legs and a tempered glass top that allows you see what’s in the two drawers, all for €900. “These are lifetime pieces,” she points out.
As well as looking fab, they're clever. Many of the organisers feature transparent Perspex so you can keep all your brushes and palettes tidy and see at a glance where they are. Flexible payments are available on the GlamDoll website via Humm, an instalment plan provider.
Covid has accelerated sales, particularly of its desktop ring lights, which previously only professional photographers used, with models in photo shoots. As the whole world moved to working from home, the lights took some of the pressure off endless Zoom calls.
“People love it because it brightens you up and removes shadows. It makes you feel better for presentations and online conferences. We’ve also had people using it to record TV slots,” says Griffin.
Griffin started out with just nine products in the GlamDoll range, and now has more than 80, including lovely – and Insta ready – outdoor lighting. "We introduced the string lights for Covid because everyone was at home in their gardens," she explains. When celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin gave them a shoutout on social media, they saw an immediate spike in sales.
Today the business employs seven people and is fast-growing. “Sales are up 80 per cent in the past 12 months. We’re now selling into 16 countries,” says Griffin.
All across the world it seems people want the same thing – to “bring Hollywood home – that’s our motto”, she says.