DON’T let fear or self-doubt get in the way of a business idea - instead, stay focused and surround yourself with people who support you.
That’s the advice from Cork city woman Jackie Griffin Synnott, who has recently launched The Little Dispensary, a range of herbal salves for the skin, or as she says, ‘nature in a jar’.
Even though she’s only just set up formally as a brand, Jackie has been making therapeutic salves for as long as she can remember.
Her background is in complimentary therapies, having trained with the Irish School of Homeopathy, qualifying in 2016.
She had a clinic on Mary Street and self-published a homeopathic reference book for both parents and children called Rhymes For Remedies.
“So, over the years I had been involved with many markets and fairs selling my book and my salves. I also made salves for my clients, so it’s always been a part of what I do. I love making them!”
Her products are designed to regenerate, repair, replenish, recharge, revitalise and re-energise.
“It’s a natural botanical herbal salve, made by infusing dried plants in organic oil. All the ingredients are ethically sourced and certified. I have a wonderful suppliers. All ingredients are natural, free from artificial fragrances, colours, synthetic chemicals, sulphates, silicones, parabens, phthalates and GMOs. All ethically sourced,” she said.
Her light-bulb business moment was when Justine Looney from Cork Flower Studio in Douglas Street contacted her looking for one of her salves.
“She really encouraged and supported me to look into bringing the products to the market place. She has been in business a long time, and she felt there was a niche in the marketplace for my products.
“Then I met the very creative Diane Higgins and the branding and design started. I loved working with Diane and am delighted to now call her a friend. She just got what I wanted to achieve in the design and branding.”
Diane, an award-winning graphic and web designer, said it was a great project to be involved in: “I always find that when you become friends with your clients by the end of a project, it’s a great sign. We have been in each other’s homes, as well as meeting one another’s children. Working with women like Jackie, who are at the beginning of creating something great and who share that journey with other like-minded people, is one of the reasons why I love working with start-up businesses.”
The collaboration also had practical advantages.
“Jackie gave me a sample of her product in a plain black jar to test out. That weekend I was in the park with my daughter who fell in to a huge mound of nettles.
"I pulled the product out of my handbag and applied it and the stings that were all over her disappeared very soon after. I was very impressed with it.”
Justine, from Cork Flower Studio, feels the same.
“At Cork Flower Studio, we have been on a mission to support local, eliminate our plastic consumption, engage with the local community and build a better business model, with less focus on profits, and more on investing in a sustainable world. Sounds completely idealistic but hey, without idealism, there would be nothing to aspire to!
“As with many locals around Douglas Street, we have known Jackie since the early days of CFS, from popping in and out, and were thrilled to launch her book Rhymes For Remedies in 2014. Where others talk about writing a book, Jackie just did it!
“We also stocked her Mrs Comfrey Salve; an organic, ethically sourced and locally made jar of goodness. Her passion for the ingredients was inspiring and ticked so many boxes for us.
“When I got a bad burn from the coffee machine on my arm. I started using the salve as a soothing remedy as the skin healed, and to say it worked wonders would be an understatement!
“Life got busy, and with other projects on the go, Jackie stopped production. Skip forward a few years and a family member got a burn while filling a hot water bottle. I immediately thought of the salve and contacted Jackie. She happened to have a jar which she dropped into me and we got chatting. Within 10 minutes, she was talking about refining and rebranding the salve, using the best of ingredients and packaging, and left the shop with a twinkle in her eye. And from past experience, I knew if Jackie said she was going to do it, she would! And here we are - thrilled to be stocking The Little Dispensary at Cork Flower Studio!”
The ethos of The Little Dispensary is all about sustainability.
“The biophotonic glass is eco-friendly. It has a higher bioenergetic value, therefore it increases the quality and potency of the product. It is also ideal to reuse the pot for skincare products when travelling, or for storing rings, safety pins, hair pins or maybe spices and herbs,” said Jackie.
She now feels huge enthusiasm going forward for 2023.
“We have the ecommerce website to start and I’m also sourcing a new location for production, trying to find a space closer in the city for production and packaging,” she said.
Married to Peter and mum to Casey, she said she’s so grateful to have great family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances that have all wished her well.
“I think it probably was low confidence and self-doubt that stopped me from starting the process sooner, but it just goes to show when you feel supported you can get motivated to just do it.”
For more, follow her on Instagram @thelittledispensar