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Ten questions with Dr Ruth Kelly from Oige Organics   

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Oige Organics – Ruth the founder of Oige Organics is pictured above with her products

Ten questions for Dr Ruth Kelly from Oige Organics   

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Jade Crowe

Oige Organics is the new Limerick-based skincare business that is revolutionising natural skincare.   

Oige Organics was developed by Ruth Kelly who holds a PhD in Sustainable Development and was created just before Christmas. The business specialises in certified organic skincare products that are not only potent and effective but also fair trade and responsibly and sustainably sourced.     

All Oige Organics products are handmade and packaged and are also 100% cruelty-free and vegan.    

We chatted with Ruth about this amazing, one-of-a-kind skincare company.   

 
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?   

I grew up in St. Mary’s Park and Moyross in a single-parent family. My childhood had its challenges, but my mother was a firm believer in the power of education and encouraged me every step of the way.   

How did you get into creating natural skincare products?    

It started as a hobby during the lockdown. I have always liked natural skincare products and was given a bottle of Cacay Oil as a gift. I loved it so much and saw such an improvement in the tone and texture of my skin that I couldn’t believe that so few people knew about it. I started to do a bit of research on facial oils and discovered that they were used by ancient cultures for their skin-loving benefits – the indigenous Mapuche Indians of Chile used Rosehip Oil for centuries for its ability to renew and heal the skin.     

I also discovered that contrary to popular belief facial oils can be used by people with even oily or acne-prone skin. I started with just organic facial oils but the product range has since expanded to include 3 hydrosol facial mists distilled from organically harvested plants, an organic sugar cane scrub, an organic resurfacing AHA cream, an organic papaya and pineapple enzyme face mask and even an organic Ayurvedic hair tonic.     

What was your inspiration to start your business?   

In a global market saturated with cosmetic and beauty brands, few stand out for their commitment to luxurious yet affordable skincare using sustainably and ethically sourced ingredients. Even less stand out for their dedication to using certified organic ingredients with a transparent and ethical supply chain. I wanted to create an Irish skincare brand that uses only pure and natural ingredients rich in phytonutrients, vitamins and antioxidants while also containing no artificial colours, fillers, additives or scents which is also respectful of the environment. Beauty with integrity   

I was also getting a bit fed up with the anti-ageing marketing strategies employed by most brands. It’s gotten to a point where a lot of women are terrified of getting older. Time is a gift – not a threat – and Óige Organics supports ageing youthfully, naturally and beautifully and looking and feeling our best regardless of what stage of life we are in. Being ‘youthful’ is more than just a number – it’s an attitude.     

What makes your skincare business stand out from others?  

With my environmental background, I wanted to ensure that the suppliers I use are committed to environmentally sustainable practices and the use of energy-efficient technologies to minimise greenhouse gas emissions. The products promise efficacy and purity; are sustainably and ethically sourced and are never tested on animals. They are also 100% vegan. The glass bottles and jars I use are sourced from Irish suppliers and are recyclable and the hydrosol plastic bottles are PET recyclable. Óige Organics supports the three ‘Rs’ of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle using only the minimum packaging.    

25c from every facial oil bottle bought from Óige Organics is donated to charity. What charities are these and why?   

A different charity will be selected every 6 months. At present, it is the Irish Wildlife Trust which is working with the National Biodiversity Data Centre to support the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and the Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme.    

Is it difficult to source and ensure that all products are 100% vegan?  

Suppliers are carefully vetted to ensure that all raw ingredients are not just vegan but also non-GMO, cruelty-free, fairtrade and even certified Kosher. All suppliers are focused on natural and organic products that complement and enhance your skin and hair, using science-backed formulations that won’t hurt the planet.  

What is the greatest challenge you have experienced along the way?   

It was challenging starting a business in the middle of a pandemic when so many people have lost loved ones and livelihoods and have been hit so hard financially. We were all in the same storm but not in the same boat. I started cautiously, slowly adding products over time, but it has given me something very positive to focus on.    

What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?  

Getting two kids to school on time each day has to rank up there somewhere. I suppose academically it was winning a postdoctoral scholarship to DIT for 3 years after I finished in UL. More recently, it was finding the courage to start a business and in such a time for everyone.   

Where do you see your business in five years?   

I’d like to see Óige Organics find its niche among existing Irish businesses already experiencing success in the world of natural and organic skincare products. I see great potential to expand the product range to possibly include CBD skincare products made from organically and biodynamically grown hemp.     

On a broader note, I’d like to hear a different conversation around ageing where women are less focused on looking ten years younger and more focused on improving the tone and texture of the skin they are in – to be confident and comfortable in their 40s, 50s, 60s and so on. I heard an interview with Mary Kennedy once and she said (I’m paraphrasing) that she wanted to rejoice at every stage of her life. I thought that was very empowering and she always looks amazing!    

And lastly, what do you love about Limerick?   

Limerick is steeped in history, culture and tradition from Lough Gur and King John’s Castle to the Hunt Museum and the always lively Milk Market. The city has great potential and the Limerick 2030 Plan and Opera site look very exciting.    

For more information on Óige Organics go HERE 

For more stories on business go HERE  

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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