Meet The Entrepreneur: Sharon Mccrea – Sweet Escape Products

Sharon Mccrea is a former IT teacher and systems Analyst who started Sweet Escape Products, an ethical brand.

Sharon (51) was born and raised in Sion Mills Co Tyrone, but moved away to South Wales for a number of years before moving back to the beautiful, historic village of Sion Mills on the banks of the River Mourne.

Find out more about Sharon and her brand:

Tell us a bit about your business?

Sweet Escape Products ethically handcraft natural products from locally produced, homegrown and wildcrafted ingredients and materials. We are a People, Planet, Profit business that has an ethical ethos at our core. All of our products are packed with top quality active ingredients, without fillers, anything artificial or just for show. A lot of research and thought goes into every step of a products creation, so much so we have started growing, drying and processing a lot of the ingredients we use.

As a PPP business we firmly believe that we should give back to the community so donate what we can to a number of charities and good causes, we recently donated thousands of pounds of products to front line nhs, ambulance, care homes etc to help reduce skincare issues and help with their mental health.

Our mindfulness showerpods are designed to promote a positive mindset and to enhance mindfulness excerises. Each comes with a printed positive affirmation, quote or mindfulness exercise inside that can be collected and called upon when most needed.

Each year we also host the Heart of Gold awards alongside other local businesses to reward individuals in our community that go above and beyond for others, nominated and voted for by the public. (was unable to run this year)

How did you come up with the idea for your business?

My son had Infantile Eczema I made the products to treat him and gifted them to friends and family… It just organically grew from there. There are a growing number of people who are seeking a more natural approach to skin issues and we had products that worked time and time again.

Who/What inspired you to start your business?

Being a stay-at-home mum with a child with skin conditions and wanting to give others a more natural, simplified approach to skincare.

Who is your target market?

That would be anyone that wants to indulge in lifes little luxuries without having to do months of research to ensure that the products they’ve chosen are environmentally friendly, ethically made, sustainable and that ticks all the free from boxes including plastic free, cruelty free, paraben free etc. I know from experience that a lot of high street brands greenwash their products and aren’t always what they would lead you to believe.   Our biggest growing market has recently been individuals with a more naturalistic, spiritual mindset, people who are into permaculture and organically/naturally grown products.

What gap in the market does your business fill?

We are working hard to become self-sufficient manufacturers, getting our ingredients locally, growing them ourselves or collecting them from the wild, we can supply our customers a fully sustainable, low carbon footprint product that is best suited to them, rather than imported from all over the world.

Have you received any significant funding for your business? If so can you reveal it and tell us what different it made to the business?

No, we have grown organically.

Who are your main competitors and what do you think sets your company apart from them?

The most obvious perceived competitor would probably be LUSH, we consider ourselves to be a cleaner, greener version.

We don’t focus to much on the term competitor, as i know a lot of others in this market, we are all very different, with different target markets, looks and Ethos, we are happy to work alongside each other. We are comfortable supporting other businesses in this field, realistically the market is big enough for us all to sit side by side.

What is your vision for the company over the next few years?

We are due to release a number of fresh new products that incorporate quality elements this country is famous for like Irish Linen, pottery etc and more of the native medical herbs we have in this country. We will continue to bring more and more of our natural resources into any future plans. We have done a lot of research into the historical use of these plants and resources and the magic that our ancestors believed they imparted, all of which will be blended into our ranges.

What are the main achievements of the company so far?

We have come a long way from creating at the kitchen table. We’ve designed and built out a custom work kitchen, started our own medicinal herb garden, built a drying facility and have done so diligently and organically.  We have sold our products all over the country and now to several other countries, we’re delighted to have a few celebrity customers and well known figures on our books. What gives us the greatest pleasure however, is seeing our first time customers coming back to us, it gives us confidence in the quality of products we make and we get to know our customers on a more personal level.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?

Biggest lesson – that would have to be, patience, adaptability and persistence. Life will throw spanners in the works, both personally and professionally, you just have to work through it, keep the end goal in sight and keep your ethos true along the way.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a business?

If you are passionate about it and you believe in it – do it, do it now, because there will never be a right ti to start anything. I would also highly recommend that you surround yourself with other entrepreneurs that have been through the process and will understand your frustrations like friends and family never could.