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An Entrepreneur is a person who takes advantage of a business opportunity by assuming the financial matter and psychological risks of starting or running a company. (Hatten, 2003). It is said that entrepreneurship can revolve around three fundamental aspects. (1) The discovery of a market opportunity and the formation of a business idea, weather it is a product or a service, to address the opportunity. (2) The dedication of resources in the face of risk to pursue the opportunity. (3) The formation of an operating business organisation to implement the opportunity-motivated business idea and/or the innovative product or service. (Murray 2019).
Within the current report, the discussion of choosing an Irish entrepreneur of choice will take place, while establishing a wide variety of information of what forces influenced the chosen entrepreneur to set about and initiate the idea and turn it into a business, what type of entrepreneur is the selected, three characteristics that many successful entrepreneurs hold and why the selected entrepreneur demonstrates these traits, and what crucial points of information have I learned throughout the entirety of the assignment.
Q1. The chosen entrepreneur is founder and creator, Marissa Carter, the vision behind the Irish tanning sensation, Cocoa Brown Tan, which was established in 2012. Prior to formation of her business, Marissa Carter always had a passion for all things beauty, as she stated, “I am extremely passionate about the beauty industry. I have always been ambitious and driven and being an entrepreneur allows me to challenge myself in ways that wouldn’t be possible if I were an employee.” (Carter 2018).
Prior to building her career in the beauty industry, Marissa’s primary focus was to finish her degree in Management and Marketing with French in DIT. However, after failing to finish as a result from failing her exams, Marissa opted out from college to take a year out. (Sutton, 2015).
One of her main aspirations in life was to become a beauty therapist. Unfortunately however, she was incapable to afford Beauty College but was luckily provided a sponsorship from the company The Galligan Beauty College, while she was working in their office. (Cocoa Brown, 2017). Following her graduation of Beauty College, Marissa notably credits her success to two women by the names of Lorraine and Careena Galligan.
After teaching beauty therapy for two years and securing an award in the 2007 for Irish Beauty Professionals Association Facial Therapist of the Year, Carter sought to increase her studies in the beauty sector and take a risk, by traveling to Philadelphia in the United States to fulfil her studies in Cosmetic Therapy and Skin Histology. Deep down Carter always had a searing urge to fulfil her dream of owning and creating her own range of beauty products. (Going for Growth 2015a).
Marissa initiated her career in the beauty industry by teaching beauty therapy for two years. It was then she decided to open up her own beauty salon called Carter Beauty in Blackrock, Co. Dublin in 2006. Throughout the years she was self-employed, Carter developed a close relationship with her customer base, and quickly began to realise that spray tans were one of the most popular services in the salon. Along with this realization and a huge downfall in the economy, Carter stated that women stopped having one hundred euro facials. (Going for Growth 2015b).
Carter Beauty was one of the primary reasons as to why Marissa Carter set about developing a tanning range. The strong customer base in the salon allowed for her to carry out her primary research and figure out what the main positive and negative aspects were to tanning products that were currently in the market at the time of research. (Independent 2014).
Whilst she was growing up, Marissa Carter was the eldest of eight children in her family. She notes that her parents taught her positive values, such as hard work, and to constantly be kind and have a warm spirit. In 2012, Cocoa Brown was an emerging brand and had not yet established a strong position in the Irish market. In the same year, Marissa’s first son was born. In an interview carried out by Her.ie Carter stated that following the birth of her first son, and while she was on maternity leave, Marissa stated that after a few weeks of staying at home with him, she decided to get a spray tan at her salon.
Normally at that time, you had to let a spray tan develop and “cook” overnight. While it was developing, she had her son cradled to her chest overnight. In the morning she had realised that her son had patches of tan on his hand and face where he was cradled. Following this incident, Marissa set about in developing a tan that was instant and didn’t need to be developed.
Q2. Marissa Carter has previously owned her own business prior to opening up her current company Cocoa Brown. The type of entrepreneur she is can fall into two categories, a habitual entrepreneur, or a portfolio entrepreneur.
A Habitual Entrepreneur can be defined as an individual who has prior business ownership experience. (Murray 2019). According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor of 2012, an owner or a person who manages a business that is well established is required to have to pay wages or successfully own a business for 42 months or more. (GEM 2012). Marissa Carter successfully owned a beauty salon that allowed her to gain insight into the likes and dislikes of tan from a variety of customers that alongside her further studies of cosmetic chemistry and skin histology allowed for the successful launch of her second business Cocoa Brown Tan.
You could argue that Marissa Carter could also be a Portfolio Entrepreneur. A portfolio entrepreneur is an individual who retains an original business and builds a portfolio of additional businesses through inheriting, establishing them or purchasing them. (Murray 2019).
Continuing on from her success from Cocoa Brown Tan, Marissa Carter released her second brand called Carter Beauty Cosmetics, a cruelty free, affordable makeup line, in which every product ranges from 3.95 to 14.95. (Carter Beauty, 2019). Referring back to a previous quote stated my Marissa herself, “I am extremely passionate about the beauty industry. I have always been ambitious and driven and being an entrepreneur allows me to challenge myself in ways that wouldn’t be possible if I were an employee.” (Carter 2018). Her love for the beauty sector doesn’t stop at tan, hence the creation of her second company.
Carter is an extremely successful entrepreneur which is clearly evident from the soaring sales of her products in recent years.
Q3. Success for any entrepreneur doesn’t come overnight, nor does it need to be determined by your background, how intelligent you are, what degree you studied or any other unnecessary factors. Sometimes it can take a simple idea at the right place and the right time. Take for example, Fairy Doors, a simple but effective idea for your kids to make them feel that bit safer at night time. For Marissa Carter, she states “while it’s a bit cliché to say, I had a lightbulb moment, and I wanted to come up with a way to solve this problem” (Carter, 2018).
While it may be believed that a successful entrepreneur means you have to fit into a certain criteria of people, that isn’t always the case. (Patel 2017). However, most successful entrepreneurs acquire certain desirable characteristics which aid them in striving for the constant wheel of success. No matter who you are, you have the potential to become an entrepreneur, the founder of KFC was 66 when it started. (Murray 2019).
Determination is one of the most desirable characteristics for any entrepreneur to have. Every entrepreneur should have the willingness to succeed, and need a strong motivation to excel in every task. Drawbacks and negative feedback are always going to surface and it should never deter a business owner to quit. (CP 2018). For many, failure is never possible and will continuously strive to excel, and will commit to the business until they no longer can.
For Marissa Carter, determination is one of her strongest attributes. While her success story has continued to thrive from the initial start-up of her company, some hiccups did take place, in the form of one dud product. In 2014, Carter launched a product called Cocoa Brown Lovely Legs, but was not fully happy with the quality of the formula, but alas with pressure coming from within the company, she launched it early, and it instantly received negative backlash (Carter, 2018). However, it didn’t push her back and she continues to release high quality, affordable products across both brands.
Risk-taking is an attribute that is an effective quality, but should be used with caution and with a level head as they don’t always work, but any successful entrepreneur will not be wary of taking a risk, most of the time many don’t view risks as a threat, but as an opportunity to succeed. (Patel 2017).
Marissa Carter is an entrepreneur who takes the plunge time and time again, and is not afraid of any possible negatives drawn. This was particularly evident in 2018, when she launched her second company in six years, Marissa Carter Cosmetics. With the beauty industry becoming more and more saturated with brands, it can often prove difficult to thrive in the makeup sector, however, with the amounts of people switching over to only using cruelty free makeup, Carter continues to thrive and innovative as her brand is PETA approved.
Every entrepreneur should have a hunger and a drive for competitiveness. No matter what sector or industry your company belongs to, new competitors enter the market every day. Successful entrepreneurs keep track of what their competitors are doing and what products they bring out, in hopes to win the most share of market. (CP 2018)
From day one, Marissa Carter knew there was already an abundance of tanning products on the market, and every year the market was becoming more and more saturated. Marissa had the ability to come out on top from her competitors by getting to know the market and pricing her product strategically, and establishing herself and an affordable brand. By doing this, it allowed for Cocoa Brown to gain its success in the Irish market. (Growth 2018).
While creativity doesn’t need to be the driving factor for a successful entrepreneur, it’s a positive attribute to carry, as many a time, entrepreneurs need to be able to adapt and come up with ideas and products that stand out from competitors. Sometimes, plans don’t always turn out how they are originally envisioned.
For Marissa Carter, her creativity comes in the form of her product range. She has managed to adapt into tan removing products, and even body oils, which have becoming a popular trend in recent years as they provide a healthy look to the skin, which is what many women seek in their products, across a wide range of ages and skin tones.
Q4. Throughout the entirety of analysing the entrepreneur chosen, which in this case is Marissa Carter, I was able to delve into the depths of what contributing factors are put into place in the making of a successful and driven entrepreneur. Overall, I have gained a strong insight into what goes into making a business successful, and the driving forces behind it.
In particular however, when studying the characteristics of a Marissa Carter, her determination and commitment into her passion, I feel personally strongly relates to me, as I’ve always felt that determination and unwillingness to never give up on anything in something that I’ve always prided myself in. A prime example of this is when I failed to reach enough points for Marketing in 2017. However, I never gave up on reaching 3rd level, so I took another route into C.I.T through a PLC, and was successful in my efforts of doing so. I admire Marissa’s determination and her unwillingness to ever give up. Even throughout any setbacks she has faced over the last 7 years that she has been running her businesses.
In particular, Marissa taught me throughout the process of this assignment, that if there’s a problem, then try to fix it, and have a plan in place in order to attain your objectives in not only your workplace but in life. Her success came from such a simple incident, but she had the knowledge and means to set about making life easier for not only mothers, but for women of all ages. Her message for young people is very inspiring and I will continue to strive in my life with her motto. There’s always a solution to every problem, no matter how much you have to adapt and change.
Over the course of this assignment, I have learned that successful entrepreneurs have a very positive mind-set and do not allow for risk-taking and negative feedback to consume them. All it can take is a simple idea but the right attributes to allow for a prosperous business. Here in C.I.T, organisations such as the Rubicon centre allow for ideas to be brought to life, and provide the right support to ensure that your business will thrive. This is evident from the visit I took with my classmates.
- Carter 2018, Marissa Carter Cocoa Brown Tan, Last Accessed, 16/02/2019, <http://goingforgrowth.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Marissa-Carter_website-min.pdf>
- Lecturer’s notes 2019, An Entrepreneur Defined, Last Accessed, 16/02/2019
- Sutton, E, 2015, Career Lessons: Cocoa Browns Marissa Carter, Last Accessed, 18/02/2019, <https://www.image.ie/life/my-biggest-career-lessons-cocoa-browns-marissa-carter-33484>
- Brown, C, 2017, Our Story, Last Accessed, 18/02/2019, < https://cocoabrown.ie/our-story/>
- Growth, G.F., 2018, Marissa Carter Cocoa Brown Tan, Last Accessed, 18/02/2019, <http://goingforgrowth.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Marissa-Carter_website-min.pdf>
- Independent, 2014, Insider Life: Marissa Carter Founder of Cocoa Brown Tan, Last Accessed 19/02/2019, <https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/insider-life-marissa-carter-founder-of-cocoa-brown-30344357.html>
- Lecturer’s notes 2019, Types of Entrepreneurs, Last Accessed 19/02/2019,
- GEM, 2012, Owner Management of Established Managers, Last Accessed 19/02/2019, <https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/Publications/Reports-Published-Strategies/GEM-Reports/GEM-Report-2012.pdf>
- Beauty, C, 2018, About Carter Beauty, Last Accessed 20/02/2019, <https://carterbeautycosmetics.com/about-us/>
- Carter, M, 2018, What Marissa Carter doesn’t want you to her about Cocoa Brown, Last Accessed, 20/02/2019 <https://www.her.ie/beauty/marissa-carter-definitely-doesnt-want-say-cocoa-brown-424198>
- Patel, S, 2017, Top 5 Personality Traits all Entrepreneurs must have, Last Accessed 20/02/2019, <https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/298650>
- Lecturer’s notes, 2019, Desirable Characteristics, Last Accessed 20/02/2019,
- CP, S, 2018, 10 Must Have Traits of a Successful Entrepreneur, Last Accessed 20/02/2019, <https://medium.com/swlh/10-must-have-traits-of-a-successful-entrepreneur-d46519452b0e>
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