Vita Liberata boss shares secrets of success at 10th Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards
THE varied entrepreneurial journey of award-winning founder of Vita Liberata tanning technology Alyson Hogg will take centre stage at next week's sold-out Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards.
More than 550 guests will attend the glittering event at Titanic Belfast on Thursday June 16 to honour the great and the good across the wide spectrum of businesses operating successfully - and often quietly behind the scenes - in Northern Ireland.
And alongside the serious business side of things, Co Down-born funnyman Patrick Kielty will 'work the floor' as guest presenter, alongside the BBC's popular Karen Patterson.
The milestone 10th anniversary of the awards promises to be an inspiring and entertaining evening, according to Irish News marketing manager John Brolly, who praised the exceptionally high standard of this year's entries.
"We are delighted with the record number of entries in our Irish News Workplace & Employment awards and the record number of people attending our awards next Thursday night at Titanic Belfast," he said.
"It is a very special year for us, hitting the milestone of 10 years, and we are delighted to have such an entrepreneurial local person speak on the night about how she has created a global brand.
"This year the competition for our awards has been intense, but we've managed to create a short list of truly outstanding entrants and we are looking forward to a very exciting night."
Guests and award hopefuls at the sell-out event will hear how County Antrim businesswoman Alyson Hogg turned a big idea into an even bigger business when she developed the ultimate tanning ideal - a premium product both odourless and toxin-free.
Alyson, now widely recognised as a stylist to stars like Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ellie Goulding, will share her journey into the A-list world of tanning beauty products, stopping off at a number of career 'junctions' en route.
These included careers in fashion, broadcast news, academia, hospitality and politics, before her big beauty breakthrough in 2007 with the launch of Vita Liberata luxury tanning - the world's first odourless tan.
Four years later, her innovative company created the first completely non-toxic tanning brand, creating a range of solutions free from parabens, perfume, alcohol and all 'chemicals of concern' - and leading to listings in the world's top spas such as George V, Paris, and the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
Innovative technologies have proved a winning formula for the talented businesswoman and busy mother-of-five who sells into more than 26 countries and has projected global retail sales of more than £50 million in the next three years.
Along the way she has picked up some notable accolades, among them the Queen's Award for Enterprise - twice-over - and the First Trust Bank/Ulster University Distinguished Graduate Award from Ulster University, as well as being a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2015.
Speaking ahead of the awards night, Alyson said she was "truly honoured" to be associated with this year's "business Oscars", which celebrate the achievements of the "people behind the best businesses" in the north.
"We spend a lot of time reflecting on failure - it's part of our culture," she said.
"But the innovation and business acumen displayed in Ireland, north and south, is awesome and it's always down to the people.
"From this tiny corner of the world we punch way above our weight across the globe. We must have done something right and we should be very proud of that."