Founder of Seoulista Beauty, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone native Una McGurk dives deep into her career to date.
From her entrepreneurial endeavours within the Wellness and Beauty sphere to the growth of Seoulista Beauty, Una offers an insight into how she got to where she is, where she foresees the future of the industry and what she learned along the way in the new episode of Tech Powered Luxury.
Combining cutting-edge technology with natural and hi-tech ingredients to create products that are both effective and gentle on the skin, Seoulista Beauty® is a multi-award-winning brand focusing on ground-breaking skincare, hair care and complementary tools that offer professional beauty solutions with the convenience of at-home use.
Focused on bringing the power of cryo-inspired beauty to the masses, the brand’s innovative approach to product development has catapulted them to worldwide recognition with countless industry accolades under their belt.
Una’s candid and inspiring conversation provides valuable lessons for entrepreneurs and beauty enthusiasts alike, from her incredible story thus far, discover how she continues to shape the future of beauty while navigating the intricate and ever-changing landscape, all the while emphasising the importance of a strong work ethic, adaptability, and a commitment to constant learning.
Una’s success is a testament to her passion for business, working in both high-level roles in well-established global players to building successful start-ups from the ground up.
From working at Xerox, Johnson & Johnson and the Coca-Cola Company before securing a role as a dot-com board member in the UK and Ireland, one of the first females to hold such a role in London at the time, provided Una with invaluable insights into brand development, consumer behaviour, and innovative technologies before she ventured out on her own.
Una’s first entrepreneurial endeavour, Revive, a joint Yoga and Pilates studio, the first of its kind in Dublin, quickly evolved into a mecca for relaxation and retail – offering both a thriving spa and luxury, open-concept retail space, a trend that was well ahead of its time.
Una then expanded her offering with the well-loved Revive Express on Dawson Street, Dublin, and further into the specialised arena of skin clinics with Medico.
After exiting the business, Una moved to London and established Seoulista Beauty in 2016, which has since gone on to achieve a cult following in the skin and hair care space, gaining significant recognition globally while collaborating with The British Fashion Council and London Fashion Week as well as The Beauty Council and CEW(Cosmetic Executive Women).
As a forward-looking brand, innovation is at the core of Seoulista Beauty. Una’s first creation, the Instant Facial range, developed alongside world-renowned South Korean dermatologists, provided a transformative and prescriptive treatment with a medi-clinical approach to skincare in just one step and was an instant breakthrough in the beauty industry.
Building on that success, the brand has since expanded into foot and hand treatments as well as hair care, winning countless professional and consumer awards, proving that innovation knows no bounds. The brand’s revolutionary approach to product development exemplifies Una’s relentless pursuit of new ideas and technologies.
Una also discusses the crucial role of company culture, explaining how it should be prioritised over skills when hiring, “The culture must be first and then the skill. If you go skill first and then culture, you’ll have a battle on your hands all the time because they don’t share your outlook and your vision for the brand.” This perspective has helped both Seoulista Beauty and her past entrepreneurial endeavours, create an inclusive, equal environment where everyone has a voice.
When speaking about the brand’s retail structure, Una discusses the shift towards to an e-commerce approach during the pandemic and the challenges of running a direct-to-consumer business, including both the difficulty and cost of acquisition.
Looking ahead towards the next 12 months, Una confirms the brand’s plan to allocate more resources on direct to consumer marketing, while continuing to work with their valued retail partners, as she believes they deliver a strong experience for their customers while the brand’s website serves as an information hub for those who want to learn more about their products.
Delving deep into the creation of the brand’s latest launch, the “Cryo Cool Skin Tool”, and her passion for cold technology, Una talks at length about not only her interest in the method but also the misinformation regularly shared and the risks associated, including skin burning from direct ice contact. This was one of the driving forces behind creating such a tool that is both effective and easy to use while remaining inherently cold without the need for refrigeration.
As the conversation comes to a close, Una offers invaluable advice when it comes to business, “Find something you enjoy because you do spend a lot of time there, and if it’s not enjoyable, do something else…. don’t waste your time on something that doesn’t fit you.”