Cork businesswoman: The days of glamorising 'being so busy' are gone

EMMA CONNOLLY caught up with a woman, living in Ovens, who has launched her wellness products, aimed at encouraging self-care
Cork businesswoman: The days of glamorising 'being so busy' are gone

Peigín Crowley, who lives in Ovens, set up Ground, wellness products.

WITH people continuing to work from home, the issue of ‘burn out’ has become very real — with some people not realising how exhausted they are until it’s too late and they’ve hit a wall.

That’s according to Cork business woman Peigín Crowley, who says for 2021 a much stronger value must be put on rest and restoration.

“The days of glamorising ‘being so busy’ are gone. ‘The Slowing’ has arrived — whether we like it or not, but it is actually a good thing if we welcome it in. I for one needed it.”

When the pandemic hit, the award-winning spa consultant was engaged to design two spa projects in new hotel builds — both of which were paused immediately and remain on hold.

“It was a terrifying time, seeing all project work drop off. Initially it was difficult to comprehend, our community was in shock, our business is literally ‘hands on’ so we were very nervous,” she remembers.

But for the first time in years, she found she had space and time in her diary, and she embarked on a journey that saw her create her own range of wellness products.

Some of Peigín's products.
Some of Peigín's products.

A NEW VENTURE

Called ‘Ground,’ and stocked exclusively in Brown Thomas, its ethos is to remind ourselves to take things softly, slowly, mind ourselves, and the ones we love.

Peigín’s name is synonymous with the spa industry in Ireland so any product she’s putting her name to comes with very strong credentials.

She trained as a therapist on cruise liners over 20 years ago, launched the Elemis spa brand to the Irish market, and went on to develop award-winning spas from Adare Manor to The Merrion. She has worked with the best in the business, including The Cliff House Hotel, The Montenotte and The Old Head of Kinsale.

“My passion has always centered around treatment and creating the true spa experience where the guest surrenders into the power of touch and invites relaxation in.

“With ‘Ground’, I wanted to create a brand that focuses on rebuilding our ‘at home’ relationship, that helps bring us back to ourselves, and reminds us of what really matters, especially during these unsettling times.

“Our calming, restorative products, and grounding rituals — created for men, women, and children — encourage us to tóg go bog é and to take it softly.

“Our four families of products are designed to be gifted and shared, to ourselves, to supporting family and friends, and to those that impact our daily lives.”

The products are created under the headings: reconnect with nature, invite sleep in, to thrive and kindness.

Made from pure botanical vegan ingredients that are pesticide- and herbicide-free, all products are naturally sourced and where possible organic.

“Each product is hand-crafted with intention using traditional methods, and made by myself in small batches in Cork,” she said.

A GREAT BOOST

Being stocked in Brown Thomas is a great start for the range and one Peigín doesn’t take for granted.

“If you had told me a year ago this is what I would be doing, I would never have believed you, yet I am so grateful for the opportunity.

“Brown Thomas Cork were instrumental in putting me forward to the buying team in Dublin and from the very beginning they could not have been kinder or more supportive in the launch set up pre-Christmas.

Ground products are made from pure botanical vegan ingredients that are pesticide- and herbicide-free, all products are naturally sourced and where possible organic.
Ground products are made from pure botanical vegan ingredients that are pesticide- and herbicide-free, all products are naturally sourced and where possible organic.

“It flexed from an in-store launch in Cork and Dublin to an online one when stores closed again in November. We then launched in store in Cork and again the local support was incredible — most lines selling out within that first week.

“I would literally come into the store each day, I loved meeting the customers for a few hours and then I would go home in the evenings to make more product. What an exciting and rewarding time!

“We were set to launch in store in Dublin this month. Unfortunately that will now be pushed out, but I’ll be launching my own online platform in April which I’m very excited about.”

SUPPORTING OTHERS

Peigín, who lives in Ovens with her husband Shane and daughters Anna Louise, aged 12, and Bella, aged eight, has also played a crucial role in helping spas reopen safely when restrictions were lifted during the pandemic.

Last year she a co-founded a voluntary not-for-profit organisation called the Irish Spa Association to foster growth and professionalism in the wellness industry.

“Our work involved tackling critical industry issues such as Brexit, rising insurance costs, understanding how best to treat guests with cancer, recruitment issues, etc,” she said.

But when Covid closed the sector in mid-March, they turned their complete attention to equipping themselves to reopen.

Ground products are on sale in Brown Thomas in Cork and Dublin.
Ground products are on sale in Brown Thomas in Cork and Dublin.

“We began by reaching out to the NSAI to establish appropriate guidelines for re-opening. Very quickly we were told that it was industry specific and we would be best placed to establish our own.

“Which we did, and once complete we hosted virtual calls on risk assessment and business continuity.

“At one point there were up to 500 attendees joining our calls from around the world.

“The greater hair and beauty community in Ireland came together and in joining forces we took a seat at the table to lobby government and work with Minister Heather Humphries for consideration around our robust guidelines at a government level.

“After much campaigning, we were given the green light to open three weeks ahead of the initial government roadmap.”

A BRIGHT FUTURE

Peigín now predicts a surge in the wellness and self-care industry: “We are a response to the grief and loneliness that people have experienced,” she says “Spa is no longer pigeon holed as pampering, an indulgent luxury, a treat when you go to a hotel for a night — it has evolved into the space of well-being and preventive health. Where the power of touch is paramount and slowing our lives down to seek balance and care for ourselves is seen as necessary.”

HER OWN WELLNESS RITUALS

She’s a firm believer in being a friend to yourself, so we have to ask her to share her own wellness rituals.

“I am fortunate enough to have a gifted therapist in Blaithin McDonnell of Taman Spa, Monkstown, where I go twice a month (when not in lockdown) for reflexology. It is my time to ground and rebalance.

“I also believe in the bath. Setting the room, pouring the salts and then the comfort of warm water.

When she is overwhelmed, essential oils, through breathing them in and through her skin, are a must, says Peigín.
When she is overwhelmed, essential oils, through breathing them in and through her skin, are a must, says Peigín.

Essential oils entering a double route through lungs and skin. This is my go-to, even in the summer.

“When I’m overwhelmed, I focus on my breathing, it’s a brilliant hack that takes me into the present and allows me to focus on what I can control — my breath. And in doing so I can hear and feel my heart beat, and suddenly I have coherence between my head, heart and lungs and that gives me strength and belief in the next steps.”

“Lastly, the kids and I love putting on sleep oil at night. Teaching that self-care is a good thing and most necessary for life.”

For more see https://groundwellbeing.com/

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