Mother's Day special - part 5: combining business & motherhood

In our special Mother's Day feature we talk to five women who combine motherhood with running a successful business. This week it's Shoshana Eisner, pharmacist and founder of QED Skincare.

What was the inspiration behind the launch of your business and when was it launched?

As a Pharmacist in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs, I was hearing the same complaints from my clients... they needed solutions for their sensitive skin, they wanted it to be as natural as possible and it would be an added bonus if they were able to indulge themselves with a little luxury. 

What my clients didn’t realise was that the products they were investing in with all their added ingredients were actually making their skin worse, not better.

In desperation, I started investigating the latest dermatology journals seeking answers and realised if I combined my learnings and my pharmacy formulating experience, I was able to create unique skincare solutions. So that’s why I started QED back in 2008. The goal was a high-performance range of skincare safe and effective for sensitive skin and great for all skin.

What challenges did you face trying to get your business up and running?

Cue nervous laugh…. A quick list of challenges off the top of my head… Manufacturing in Australia is tough for a number of reasons. There are not enough hours in the day to do everything in small business. Life gets in the way, when you are not planning on it and then there is the dirty word…. money!

How do you balance work and family with kids at home?

I am so lucky to have two healthy boys and a very supportive husband and family. Without them, things would be a disaster! When I was cooking up lotions and potions in my kitchen, there was not going to be any dinner (for hygiene reasons).  Also, to be honest, selfishly I wanted to be around for them when they were little, so sacrificed pushing the business forward. Now that they are taller than me (impressive since I am 6-foot!), it is time to get QED out there and help as many people with sensitive skin as possible.

What would be your top tips for other mums who are looking to start a business?

1 Recognise that you are never going to get to the end of your To Do list, EVER! You can’t afford to get frustrated about it. Don’t waste your energy.

2 Invest in a cleaner at home. A tidy home is less stressful. Stress, exhaustion and guilt make you into a short-tempered parent and choose to yell at your kids about important things, instead of who has done what.

3 Recognise that you can’t do everything.

4 It helps to have a great backup network.

5 Show your kids that working hard is a good thing as well as creatively satisfying, but make sure that you invest time in them too (you can sleep when they leave home ;).

Why do you think so many mums are successful in business?

I always used to joke that when you have a baby, they should surgically attach an extra arm for you.  From the moment you become a parent, you are forced to be a great multi-tasker.  I am not the most organised person in the world yet have the ability to prepare lunch for my kids, plan a dinner party, do a load of washing, respond to emails and plan a production schedule all while drinking in morning coffee. I am no wonder women but I think it’s just a natural skill that comes with motherhood―we simply have no choice and just do it. 

What does the ideal Mother’s Day look like for you?

Definitely breakfast in bed (very late breakfast, okay call it brunch, maybe even lunch?). Lots of cuddles and chocolate.  Really soft PJs.  More cuddles, Netflix in bed. Somewhere delicious for dinner with my kids, parents, mother-in-law and grandmother (yes, I am so lucky to still have a grandma, who still cooks for me!).

Best advice your mother gave you?

When it comes to friends, quality far outweighs quantity.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?

Proceed slowly, keep your eye on the ball and always stay true to your beliefs and vision. In our industry it’s really easy to be distracted by what’s happening in this over populated skincare space. I have seen so many trends and fads come and go over the years, so you really need to believe in what you do and stay firm to your beliefs whilst crafting a very clear brand DNA.

I guess the other major lesson would have to be quality control. It’s a biggie for me as I simply won’t compromise on high-quality ingredients that are ethically sourced.  As a pharmacist, I am naturally trained to be precise and detailed and base everything on a clear science. Over the years, I have worked with many suppliers that have wanted to cut corners or deliver what I would consider inferior products.  There is always premium to pay for quality be it money or time to source, but if you are patient and plan, there is simply no need to compromise, I won’t compromise.

What can we expect in 2020?

This year has been hectic. Last year saw us overhaul our packaging and branding with tremendous success. It’s amazing when you stare at something for so long, it’s difficult to be objective but the changes have been really welcomed by our customers and media alike.

This year is a year of expanding QED into new markets both local and internationally. We will be partnering with some like-minded retailers both online and with bricks and mortar stores, whilst also exhibiting internationally to attract international retail partners and introduce them to QED Skincare.  It’s a very exciting place to be. The response to our products has been phenomenal and having that positive recognition for products that I have spent years researching and formulating is a bit like seeing your baby graduate.

Make sure you check out our digital Mother's Day magazine. Click here to read it now!