General Manager- Ireland
@ COTY – 19 Years
Sarah Bean is the General Manager for COTY Ireland and has been with COTY since November 1996 when she set up the Irish operation.
Sarah leads the small, but hugely passionate local marketing & finance teams. She counts amongst her career highs the phenomenal growth & repositioning of Rimmel, leading the Tan category with the Sunshimmer & Airbrush brands, extending the Sally Hansen brand to dominate the Nail expert category in Ireland and, importantly, earning the reputation for COTY as a best in class beauty partner with all key customers.
Sarah’s particularly excited to have the opportunity to relaunch the Bourjois brand in Ireland to help the cosmetics brand regain its full potential in the region. COTY officially took over from the distributor on October 1st and has already secured amazing support from top customers. Beauty journalists, bloggers and social influencers already love the product quality and value.
Sarah graduated with a Management Science degree, specializing in Marketing, from the College of Marketing & Design, Dublin, and prior to joining COTY, Sarah was the Ireland Business Manager for P&G beauty brands. Working on the P&G portfolio was a thrilling first job for the new graduate and Sarah was involved in launching brands such as Wash & Go, Pantene and Infasil in the Irish market, in addition to the hands-on challenge of directly managing the top Food customers.
Sarah’s big passion is nutrition and fitness and she tries to inspire those around her, including and especially her children, through a positive and active lifestyle. Sarah played hockey at the inter-provincial level and now coaches at a local school and club on the weekends. Her idea of a perfect Sunday is transporting her daughter & her teammates to a match & inspiring them to play their best!
Creativity is what makes life both interesting, and workable!
What does creativity mean to you? How do you define it?
Creativity is what makes life both interesting, and workable! Whether it is solving logistics challenges in domestic life (!), working through solutions and strategy in business, or the more exciting projects launching & supporting brands, creativity is what gets me up in the morning looking forward to the day.
What inspires you to be creative?
Pressure, for sure! Secondly, a walk or run always inspires me – if I head out with a ‘situation’ in my head, my brain usually comes up trumps. Thirdly, Social media has transformed my creative thinking – sites like Pinterest are amazing, and bloggers add so much to the creative space for building on. Finally, I’d have to say getting out and networking always inspires creative thinking.
What aspect of creativity at COTY do you like?
The ‘entrepreneurial spirit’. From the beginning, the culture at COTY has enabled me and my team to take responsibility for the local business. For sure, underpinned by global initiatives and support, but simply having the responsibility and the relative freedom to identify local opportunities and develop local strategies has been enormously empowering.
What COTY fragrance do you wear?
I’ve been a Euphoria Calvin Klein wearer for years, but my current favorites are Chloé Love Story, Miu Miu (adore it!) and Bottega Veneta Knot – we are so spoiled with choices!
Your skincare must have:
philosophy microdelivery peel – absolutely fantastic for squeaky clean, glowing skin, especially before events or big meetings.
A brand you admire:
I love quirky brands with deep rooted authenticity. Innocent – their entire business is really cohesive, based on strong ethics and absolutely consumer focused. They make healthy drinks fun for kids & sensible for adults setting a high standard in terms of consumer engagement & sustainability.
Which do you prefer: Lip à stick / gloss / stain / balm / bare
Rimmel Provocalips – ticks almost all of the above boxes and is long lasting!
What was your first job ever?
Working in the family Cash & Carry grocery business – stacking shelves, picking orders, doing the VAT books, cleaning the office – a great grounding for rolling up my sleeves and understanding the basics of business.
Fill in the blank: Always, Always, Always:
Prioritize your health.
Fill in the blank: Never, Never, Never:
Get overwhelmed by a problem, life is too short.
How did you get into this biz?
I was lucky enough to be offered an assistant marketing role within a week of leaving college – with the Irish P&G distributor – a family business with a strong work ethic and a fantastic first experience for me working on their health & beauty brand portfolio. That made me attractive to COTY when they came looking for someone to consolidate three COTY-owned brand groups, at the time with three different distributors, under the roof of our current distributor.
My rule of thumb for: Meetings – have a purpose and get results. Travel – be organized & always have healthy snacks with me!
Energy of choice:
Deep breathing of fresh air!
Fav (local) restaurant:
Oliveto, overlooking the pier in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin – nothing like a walk beside the sea, and a fantastic view, to build up an appetite.
Fav vacation spot:
Skiing in the French Alps, any resort will do, but probably Courcheval.
One golden piece of advice:
Embrace as many opportunities as you can – especially for Women – Cheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, highlights that we underestimate the potential to learn on the job, that not all skills have to be on board when starting a new adventure.
Greatest lesson learned:
We are far more capable than we give ourselves credit for.
What doesn’t challenge you, won’t change you.
National Lampoon Christmas Vacation – a family favorite and never fails to make us laugh no matter how many times we’ve seen it.