Despite being diagnosed with breast cancer within six weeks of each other, two sisters pushed ahead to launch their business – with a surprising result.

Brisbane sisters Aisling and Margaret Cunningham were “devastated” to be diagnosed with breast cancer within six weeks of each other, but it offered them the perfect opportunity to test out their self care business idea.

Previous to their diagnoses, Margaret had uncovered self-warming eye masks being sold in Japan and Europe, but she couldn’t find them anywhere in Australia.

While she hadn’t even tried them, she thought it would be an “amazing” product to offer to Aussies, said Aisling.

The sisters, who live next door to each other, set out designing and developing their own self-warming eye masks, working on different scents and the best level of warmth.

The sisters, who are both single mums, had just received their first samples from their manufacturer when Margaret received her breast cancer diagnosis.

“Then six weeks later I was diagnosed with breast cancer and we still decided to keep going with the business, even though it was seven months with a lot treatment. We both had chemotherapy and surgery and Margaret had radiation,” Aisling told news.com.au.

Fortunately, both sisters have now been given the all-clear. But during their cancer battle, it was their own product which really came into play.

“We basically became our own customers as we had issues with sleeping so we were using the masks all time. I would use the mask to try and comfort myself when I was exhausted but wide awake because of the steroids I was taking and when we were in the hospital having surgery.

“That was our testing phase, testing them while we were feeling ill and tired and we got a sense of how nice they were and fell in love with how they were helping us. And it just brought us a lot of joy doing the business while we were ill, even though we were going through quite a horrific time.”

In July, they launched their business Lula Eye Masks and have already sold $56,000 worth of product in just two months, equating to 10,000 individual eye masks.

Last week, they sold $10,000 worth of product in just one hour, which grew to $21,000 overnight.

“There were non-stop orders. We were blown away – that’s about 800 boxes of eye masks going out in one day,” Aisling said.

The products work when the pouch is opened and the mask’s iron particles meet the air, automatically activating the self-warming process. It offers warming for a minimum of 20 minutes.

The masks come in a box of five, which sells for $29.99, with the options of rose or jasmine scent or unscented.

Aisling, who is an artist, said the masks can help with relaxing people before sleep and are also good for tired or dry eyes after staring at a screen all day.

“It’s calming for headaches or migraines as it’s quite a large mask so it warms up a large area of skin, relaxes muscles and it’s great for circulation making you feel relaxed, comforted and helps you sleep or meditate or relax,” she said.

The masks only work once for warming, but Aisling said they recommend people keep them to use as a normal sleep mask in the future.

The 49-year-old can’t believe the sisters’ success in such a short time, admitting they only had 400 Instagram followers when they first launched.

“When most companies launch they have 5000 followers but we were trying to do it more organically and hadn’t bought any followers. We didn’t quite know what to expect and if we had sold only 10 boxes in the first week we would have been happy, but we made $11,000 in sales in the first week, so its been a really wonderful surprise,” she said.

“It made us so happy. Its been great after the year we had. It’s been a lot of hard work on top of the medical stuff, so to start seeing the success so quickly has been so wonderful.

“We are also getting the most beautiful feedback from customers about helping them sleep or sending them to friends in lockdown or as gifts for their mum in hospital.”

The sister’s next product involves helping creating a “little ritual” around self-care, while they seek out more stockists for the eye masks before Christmas.

Originally published as Brisbane’s Lula Eye Masks makes $56,000 in just two months



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By Isak

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