Women to Watch: How Sonia Deasy built the Pestle & Mortar empire

Sonia Deasy, founder and managing director of cult Irish skincare brand Pestle & Mortar, explains her success and shares her nuggets of wisdom.

Pestle & Mortar's Pure Hyaluronic Serum is becoming the Double Wear of the serum world. Beauty Editors rave about it, makeup artists use it on themselves and on shoots, and if the average beauty buff doesn't have it in her skincare arsenal, well, she can't call herself a beauty buff. The serum's incredible success is not just down to the pure and simple fact that it works but through the ambition and tenacity of Pestle & Mortar founder Sonia Deasy.

Both of Sonia's parents are originally from India, and they brought up their six children in Newbridge, Co. Kildare. An engineer by trade, her father ran a store there for over 40 years. Sonia credits her dad with bringing Clark's shoes to Newbridge, showing an entrepreneurial spirit that obviously rubbed off on his daughter. After earning her degree in Philosophy from UCD when she was twenty, Sonia stepped in and took over the daily management of the store, laying the foundations for her future endeavours.

Experience is the evolution of oneself. I believe that you have to live it.

After those formative two years at her father's store, Sonia founded her first business with her brother, and she became a buyer for that fashion wholesale company. Fast forward eight years, Sonia was married to international photographer Padraic Deasy and pregnant with her first child - and ready to take on a partner role in her next career journey, in her husband's photography business.


But where did the idea for Pestle & Mortar skincare come from? Her work for the Deasy's photographer business took her all around the world, and by then, she was in her mid-thirties with young children and in search of effective skincare without unnecessary bells and whistles.

I was really frustrated that I couldn't find a skincare routine that was effective, ethical and affordable. I come from six generations of medicine men from India so natural healing has been in my family for over 100 years. So, I used my heritage, and I've a sister who's a biochemist and I fused both of them together and I created Pestle & Mortar.

The first product that came to international recognition and acclaim was, of course, the Pure Hyaluronic Serum. The idea for this hero product came from her travels with the photography company when she noticed that makeup artists far and wide were using hyaluronic acid to prepare models' skin on shoots. Intrigued by the brightening and anti-age effects of the serums, so consulted her scientist sister and, after months and months of research and trials, Pestle & Mortar was born.

It's a true family affair. Her sister's invaluable professional insight helped make the formula as good as it is (I mean, it works), her husband was the creative eye behind the gorgeous, sophisticated packaging, and Sonia herself is the business brain, expanding the brand to the US, where she's a familiar face on shopping channel QVC.

The brand has expanded to include more award-winning products, including the incredible new eye cream. Sonia has created a gorgeous looking, luxurious but affordable skincare brand that actually works. Through a carefully considered mix of education, experience, hard work and an enormous amount of chutzpah, this is an Irish skincare brand that the international press feel is good enough to talk about.


Its products are already reaching classic status, but the Pestle & Mortar empire is only just beginning.

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