Blank Canvas Cosmetics, the award-winning Irish cosmetics and brush brand, was founded by Donegal businesswoman Una Tynan in 2012.
Inspired by the concept that you can be as creative as you want with your face using the right tools and makeup, she combined her three great loves of art, make up artistry and business to launch her own beauty brand.
Having initially started as a professional brush brand, their brush range has grown dramatically over the past 10 years – with over 150 styles of brush tools to choose from.
After establishing their place in the beauty industry, Blank Canvas began innovating cosmetics products – including the much-loved Pippa Palette, which they launched with Pippa O’Connor in 2015.
Blank Canvas was one of the first beauty brands in Ireland to collaborate on a product with an influencer, and since then the company has grown from strength to strength, becoming a cult favourite brand in the beauty industry.
Available now in selected Dunnes Stores, Blank Canvas’ brush essentials are now more accessible than ever before – with prices starting at just €8.
Goss.ie caught up with the face behind Blank Canvas Cosmetics, Una Tynan, and she shared her advice for other businesswomen, and revealed why she has “no regrets” after 10 years in business:
You founded Blank Canvas Cosmetics back in 2012; how did that come about, and what made you want to start a makeup brand?
I’ve always been a very creative person, and while working in education, I trained as a makeup artist to satisfy my creative cravings.
From there, makeup turned into a passion project and self-employment. I began working as a freelance makeup artist and combined makeup and education by hosting makeup lessons also.
My love of makeup had begun initially with foundations and eyeshadows, but the more I worked as a makeup artist, the more I realised how essential makeup tools are, and the idea grew from there.
Blank Canvas was one of the first Irish brands to offer an extensive range of makeup brushes and tools. Was this because you spotted a gap in the market?
Definitely. I had been a makeup novice with great enthusiasm and also been a makeup artist. And I experienced the pain points of both.
From there, I decided to create products that were as functional as they were fabulous. And so Blank Canvas was born!
So many makeup brands have come and gone over the years but Blank Canvas has gone from strength to strength since 2011 – what sets you apart from other brands?
I think staying true to our original goal of creating makeup and makeup tools that can create beautiful looks while also being beautiful to look at.
The brand has collaborated with some well-known faces over the years. Who would be your dream person to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with a real OG from YouTube – such as Lauren Luke (who pioneered the entire YouTube Beauty community, or Marlena Stell.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received when it comes to business?
Don’t fight the tide. Someone told me very early on to go with the inevitable changes that would come along – whether they were good or bad.
I’ve stayed very true to this, and it’s helped enormously along the way, as some of those changes that seemed negative at the time only led to a new and often better path.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
There have been some great times in my life thanks to Blank Canvas, and it’s hard to pinpoint one thing in particular. Getting to ten years in business is a huge milestone for us and any business.
Still, going from strength to strength is an even bigger one. There have been so many highlights over the years-big and small. From where I started with one brush set and 37 likes on my first week on Facebook to now, it is incredible.
Having such a successful retail relationship with all of our stockists and launching into Boots and, most recently, Dunnes Stores are true noteworthy moments for us.
However, some of the most incredible memories in the last 11 years have been working at beauty shows in the RDS with my family and friends. We’ve had such fun amidst the crowds and chaos that goes with a beauty show.
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You have been in business for over 10 years now. Is there anything you regret doing during this period? Would you do anything differently?
I always say I would never do anything differently. I try to live with no regrets, just lessons! And I really couldn’t mean that more.
Everything that has happened has led me and the business to where we are today, and I couldn’t be more proud of that.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
I honestly can’t think of any one particular lesson as there have been so many along the way!
Each time something has gone a different way from what was planned or expected has taught me something new, and maybe the biggest lesson of all has been to embrace every lesson that’s come along and see the positive takeaways from them.
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You are a huge inspiration to other women in business. Who inspires you the most?
So many people inspire me within the beauty business and outside of it. There are so many fantastic Irish women in the beauty business, and we are a real force to be reckoned with and proud of.
I’ve always felt there’s room for everyone in business and room for us all to learn from each other.
I’m very inspired by anyone who dares to start and continuously try to run a business, especially given the challenges that the last few years have presented us with.
What advice do you have for someone starting their own business in the current climate?
Stay true to yourself and really believe in yourself, your brand and your gut!
The current climate is very similar to what it was when Blank Canvas started, and as much as there were tough times and moments of wavering faith, like with any business, pushing on, being my own cheerleader and going with my gut paid off.