Owner of VanityX, Bridal Vanity & ProOne Cosmetics
The brand VanityX was created in 2009 by Professional Make Up Artist & Entrepreneur Debbie Mc Quillan. The 35 year old holds an abundance of qualifications in her field along with great passion for the industry.
At the age of 13 Debbie started her very first business for a national competition called “Young Entrepreneurs” which was supported and run by Forbairt. The challenge was to set up a creative profitable business. Her little business made it all the way to the Regional Finals in 1995. It was at this point she knew she would like to someday own her own business.
In 2000 Debbie completed her leaving certificate and left school. She struggled to decide what to do, so she enrolled in a multi media plc course with Colaiste Dhulaig. After 6 months she got frustrated with the curriculum and the lack of pace, and decided to find full time employment. She took up an administration roll, within a well-known Insurance company, Hibernian Insurance (now know as Aviva).
To this date Debbie says it was the best company she ever worked for (apart form her own of course).
In 2005 due to personal reasons she made the decision to take time out and travel to Australia. Her plan was to do some make up courses and gain experience while travelling. She was out there only 7 months before she was head hunted to return to Dublin to manage a new finance company. A challenging opportunity she could not refuse. It was here she truly learned all about running and operating a business, the experience she gained was invaluable.
During this time she enrolled in the prestigious beauty college Coogin Bergin (part time).
“I was so lucky to have a tutor that just oozed knowledge and passion for this industry, Sonia was inspiring, passionate, logical and motivating. Her passion made me realise my own”.
One month into her beauty course she decided to enrol with LA Make Up Academy on a part time basis. “During my time at LA Make Up Academy I was fortunate enough to have some amazing tutors to demonstrate their talents”.
Debbie was awarded the international CIBTAC Diploma in Beauty Therapy & Makeup and a Degree in Fashion, Photographic, Television, Film and Special Effects Make Up. For many years she remained freelance working for various photographers, magazines, fashion events and for LA Make Up Academy, constantly gaining experience. Throughout these years she joined many master classes with well known brand MAC and renowned celebrity artists. She also trained in hair styling so she could offer more to clients. She set up teen and adult makeup courses teaching them how to apply and understand make up for themselves. After she completed her Beauty & Makeup Courses she attended an open day for The Beauty Academy in Drogheda and enrolled in an ITEC Teaching Training course and began training as a tutor.
In 2009 she made the big decision to leave her secure full time job! At the time it was the country’s biggest recession, everyone was losing their jobs and businesses where shutting down! Despite negative times Debbie made the decision to leave her job. Unfortunately she learned very quickly the enormous challenges she would be facing by this decision. Her partner’s wages had been cut several times. There was no savings, banks were not lending, and majority of her family lost their jobs not to mention her dads construction business collapsed. Times were very difficult! BUT she remained positive. She wrote up a business plan. In January 2010 she found a small office space on the second floor of a centrally located building in main street swords. During lunch with her Granddad she went through the plan, and he handed her a cheque for €2500 to get her started!
The lease was signed and the office space was transformed into a makeup studio! On the 1st of May 2010 Debbie opened VanityX Make up Studio & Academy! At the open day she filled her first course! In 2011 class sizes grew and more space was needed, and she opened her second studio. In November 2013 VanityX relocated to bigger premises with four state of the art makeup studios, it was also the launch of The Make Up Room & Blow Dry Bar (Her bridal company Bridal Vanity is also operated from here). In October 2014 she opened her second academy in the heart of Dublin City Centre. In March 2015 she launched her “Academy On Tour” bringing makeup courses to county’s all around Ireland, she also secured additional space in the City Centre academy due to the high demand. In May 2015 Debbie traveled to Dubai to launch a two week training programme. She also launched VanityX FACE CHART booklets in the same year.
In January 2016 Debbie opened a third academy in Cork City and a fourth academy in London. In December 2016 Debbie relocated the Dublin City Centre academy to new premises, she took on a 5 storey Georgian building on Harcourt Street, Dublin 2. 2016 was also the year Debbie came runner up in Ireland Best Young Entrepreneur in the Fingal’s Best Established Business category.
In 2017 Debbie launched her very own cosmetics company ProOne Cosmetics, a company concentrating on providing accessories and cosmetics for professionals. Her new baby is still in the growth stages but is very much thriving.
“It’s not often I get to reflect on all I have achieved, I was asked to sit down and list everything I have accomplished to date for this bio, and I am glad I did. I am sitting here today giving myself a pat on the back for achieving so much in such a short period of time. I did all this, little me, with no money! It truly is amazing what you can do if you focus, work hard and never give up!. I am very fortunate to have amazing support at home and from all the staff and tutors. Being in business is tough and it continues to be tough. The obstacles you face personally, professional and financially can be very overwhelming and test every part of you. The hours, commitment and hard work you put in will never be understood by others, MANY times you will want to give up and question is it worth all this? BUT I wouldn’t change it for the world”.
Below is a list of some of the clients Debbie has had the pleasure of working with over the years:
XPOSE, TV3, RTE, VIP Magazine, RSVP Magazine, Stellar Magazine, The Sun, The Sunday World, Buzz Magazine, Oxygen, Plan B, MTV, Kildare TV, Toys For Big Boys, Ideal Homes Expo, Debenhams, Vera Moda, Oasis, Mango, A-Wear, Zara, Arielles Evening Wear, Dresses.ie, Peter Marks, Za-mii Hair Design, Miss Universe Ireland, Miss Ireland, MAXtravaganza, Emy’s Music Video, Lucci Minx Music Video, Absolute School of Modelling, Film “My Happiness”, The Apprentice – Will McCreevey & Michelle Massey, Andrea Roche, Andrea Roche The Agency, 1st Options, Assets Modeling Agency, Pippa O’Connor, Jenny Kavanagh, Louise Kavanagh, Georgia Salpa, Nadia Forde, Sara Kavanagh, Amanda Brunker, Laura Toogood, Catherine Fulvio, Mairead Farrell, Besene The Agency, Crumlin Childrens Hopsital and Fashion21 to name a few.