Today we are speaking to Cliona O'Brien, founder of Moon + Mellow, Ireland's luxury sleepwear brand.
Cliona, please tell us about your product. Where did the idea stem from and where do you see it growing to?
Moon + Mellow is a luxury Irish sleepwear brand. We design and create women’s nightwear. We were founded on a love for sleep, beautiful pyjamas and the pleasure that everyday luxury pieces bring.
We keep creativity and ethics at the core of our brand philosophy. We are all about details. We design each of our pieces in-house. They are then produced in Portugal in a 4th generation family textile business to ensure the best quality and craftsmanship. We use the finest quality cotton from the best mills in Europe. Our prints are exclusive and are hand drawn and painted. We believe that out finishes are second to none - All of our sleepwear is French seamed throughout with mother of pearl buttons, fine piping details and signature cuffs. We use 100% natural fabrics and our pieces are ethically and sustainably produced.
We love Sundays and any excuse to spend them in pyjamas.
What other Irish women in business do you admire?
I have spent the last couple of years looking at and following the journeys of women in Ireland who have done a complete u-turn on their career paths and set up their own business. For a time there I tried to absorb those kinds of success stories in media, podcasts and social platforms to find the inspiration to make a similar move myself. Like Pippa O’Connor, who started her career modelling and is now flying it with a clothing, homeware and cosmetic brand. Or Sonia Deasy who founded the skincare brand Pestle & Mortar and Roisin Linanne who left her job in Holles Street to study fashion design and later went on to launch her own womenswear line. They have all done so amazingly well. They are all Kildare based and are massive supporters of other women in business. I have also recently been introduced to Paula Fitzsimons who is the National Director at an initiative called Going for Growth which is in its 13th year. Paula recognised the gender gap in ambition among entrepreneurs in Ireland and set this programme up in response, to nurture and support women in achieving their business dreams. It is great to see so many successful women getting behind, early stage founders and helping them to realise their entrepreneurial potential.
"TRY TO FIND GOOD MENTORS AND ASK PEOPLE FOR HELP AND ADVICE"
What advice you have for women starting out?
I think that fear is the biggest blocker when it comes to taking the first steps. This is the factor that separates those that eventually go for it and follow their dreams and those that don’t. EVERYONE FEELS THIS. I definitely do! It's important to acknowledge that the fear is there but carry on pushing forward regardless. You have to be ambitious and believe in your potential. Do not be afraid to speak about what you want to achieve. Saying it out loud makes it real and gives you the push to take the steps to achieve it. TRY TO FIND GOOD MENTORS AND ASK PEOPLE FOR HELP AND ADVICE. I reached out to other designers, brands, buyers, stylist, editors, journalists and women in business from the start. I found it intimidating initially but I soon found that for the most part people are good and they want to help. Anyone in business has had to start somewhere and they can all relate to someone who is at that stage. There is a huge movement of women helping women in business. Start talking about your ideas and taking the first steps you will find that the pieces will all start falling into place.