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Interview: Áine Kennedy from the Smooth Company

Interview: Áine Kennedy from the Smooth Company

Veronica Murphy

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year or so, you have probably already seen and heard all about The Smooth Stick. Áine Kennedy is a Dublin-based female entrepreneur and proud owner of The Smooth Company.

How it all began

Áine first noticed a gap in the market while scrolling TikTok during lockdown in 2020. She saw girls using all sorts of products in an effort to tame their flyaways and create that slicked-back look. She did her research and two years later The Smooth Company was launched. Since then, her product has gone viral with one of her videos sitting at nearly 10 million views! She has been featured in the likes of Elle magazine, not to mention being crowned Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2023.

We reached out to Áine to ask her what advice she would give to someone looking to set up their own business and what she has learned on her journey so far as a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry.

What inspired you to start your own business?

My dad runs a business and my aunty runs a chain of coffee shops. I loved seeing the freedom they had, so I knew when I was finishing school that business was definitely something I was interested in. I studied Entrepreneurship in college for four years, then worked in the beauty industry for 8 years. When I saw a gap in the market I started doing a lot of research and work before finally taking the leap to start my own business. 

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a woman in business, and how have you overcome them?

I suppose not having enough confidence in myself, and I know that is very common for women in business. The business industry as a whole is very male-dominated.  I feel women are often very shy about their successes as opposed to their male counterparts. Women don’t want to be seen bragging or as being cocky. I really have to push myself out of my comfort zone a lot in order to get confidence with things like public speaking. My friend Shona is an amazing female entrepreneur who told me ‘courage comes first, then confidence’, and I think that is so true. 

What advice would you give to young women who aspire to pursue a career in entrepreneurship?

First, try to get experience in the field you want to start your business in. It will save you time and money in the long run. Also, never be afraid to ask for help. I was hesitant at the start and went around in circles trying to figure things out myself. As it turned out some of my friends were able to solve some of the problems straight away when I finally asked someone else. 

How do you maintain a work-life balance while running your own business?

Honestly, I don’t think I do if I am being perfectly honest. It never stops and there is always more work to do. I end up working basically every day, especially with social media and how active we are online. It’s very hard to switch off. I don’t mind because I love it so much and it won’t be like this forever! But for now, as we are still a very small team, that is just the way it is. I really hope that in the long term, all of our sacrifices and hard work will pay off!

Can you share a specific moment or experience that has been pivotal to your success?

I don’t think there has been one specific moment, but more so an accumulation of everything, being consistent every day to keep working hard, and eventually, it paying off when you least expect it.

How do you stay motivated and focused, especially during tough times or setbacks?

When there are tough times I try to focus on what I can control rather than getting overwhelmed. I try to break tasks down into manageable sizes and take it one step at a time. 

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Can you share any valuable lessons you’ve learned from failures or mistakes along the way?

I mentioned it earlier, but I would say to not be afraid to ask for help. I would have saved myself a lot of failures and mistakes if I had asked people for help.

Reflecting on your journey so far, what are you most proud of achieving, and what goals do you still hope to accomplish in the future?

That’s a tough question! I’m probably most proud overall of the brand I have built and how it makes so many people happy. From using our products, to our social media video, I just love how the brand and our products make people smile. I’m also very proud of the Dapper Stick I created for my Grandad. He is such a huge part of my life and business. I was so happy I got to do it for him and all of the other dads, grandads, and uncles who were missing a product like this. 

Where To Shop The Smooth Company

You can now shop The Smooth Company online at thesmoothcompany.com, as well as across a number of Irish retailers such as Brown Thomas, Arnotts, Peter Mark, McCauley Pharmacy, and now even at TheLoop at Dublin Airport. Keep up to date with Áine and any new launches over on her Instagram and TikTok, too. We cannot wait to see what else is to come!

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