John O’Shea, co-founder of Suu Balm, takes the Business & Finance 60 second challenge.
Q. What was your first job?
I worked for my uncle’s summer school for primary age kids in Sandymount. I used to get terrible hay fever – and itchy all over – if only I had Suu Balm back then.
Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?
Sometimes it is the smaller things that remain most strongly in the memory – like seeing you’ve really helped people get better as a doctor, like building up the courage to leave the ‘respectable, steady job’ that was hospital medicine, like coming top 10 in a trail run, like hitting profitability in the first year of commercial sales!
Q. If you could step into the shoes of one business person for the day, who would it be and why?
It could be Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, or the Google guys, or Mark Zuckerberg… anybody who has built a billion dollar plus company. What I want to know is how these guys conceived their idea as being scalable to such levels?
Because if you had have asked 100 people in the early days of most of these companies if they could be billion dollar ideas, probably 99 of the replies would have been ‘no’!
Q. What’s your motto?
Keep trying, keep looking, keep thinking.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The advice I think of most often is: ‘When something big happens, the first thing to do is pause and wait a day. The really important stuff is still important the next day, the stuff that seemed important but in reality wasn’t will have resolved itself, or shown its true colours.’
Q. In three words or less, how do you define success?
Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?
Motivate by leading by example, and by involving, including, giving ownership to the team. Equally, if not more important, is sharing the vision that making a customer happy is the reward that justifies the hard work we all put in.
Q. How do you relax?
Running, yoga, and coffee with a bunch of papers and magazines on a Saturday morning.
Q. What are your aspirations for the future of your business?
I want to build Suu Balm to be a stable of global household consumer healthcare brands.
Irish doctor John O’Shea studied medicine in UCD for six years, and then, after graduating, specialised in cosmetic dermatology and urgent care medicine, working in several clinics in Dublin for the next seven years.
In his clinical practice he dealt with many patients with skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis and others that caused severe itch. He found the options for giving rapid relief to people with dry, itchy, sensitive skin were very limited.
Later, O’Shea moved to Singapore to build experience in the healthcare sector. In 2013 he was introduced to a research-focused dermatologist, Dr Tey Hong Liang, who after working in USA, UK and Singapore had developed a cream to relieve itch for people with sensitive skin.
Doctors Tey and O’Shea spent the next year further improving the formulation of his cream, and so Suu Balm was born: the first rapid itch relief moisturising cream based on advanced medical knowledge being applied to the unmet health needs of everyday people.