A new mother, who suffered from severe postpartum depression, has won a leading enterprise award for female entrepreneurs!
For Sharon Keegan, winning the prestigious DCU Ryan Female High Fliers programme is the culmination of years of hard work that has seen her fledgling business blossom from a simple but inspirational idea that flowed from her lowest ebb.
Sharon is the Managing Director and founder of Peachy Lean, special custom-made leggings that offer support to women of all sizes, which have captured the public’s imagination, and the endorsement of celebrities such as Vogue Williams.
Peachy Lean’s remarkable journey began in 2015, when Sharon was planning to get married to Sean, then her partner of 10 years. Then their lives were turned upside down.
Sharon became pregnant with their first child, Liam, who is now three. She suffered from severe anxiety throughout the pregnancy, and then post-natal depression.
Sean understood that Sharon badly needed an outlet, and encouraged her to go to the local gym, which had an onsite creche. Sharon recalls: “I had an infant, I spent 22 and a half hours caring for him, and he was my bundle of joy, but I was a bundle of nerves and sadness.
“The gym, where I got to be me for the other hour and a half, set my mind free. But the rest of my mind had to be lived. I connected with my body, post-motherhood, and I struggled to complete myself.”
With her new son came her new shape, but her gym gear didn’t help. She looked for high-waist leggings that took her hips into consideration and gave her support, “at a time when I needed it in all ways.” But, as Sharon found, “they weren’t there.”
So, like her son, she nurtured her business idea. “In between the nappies, the feeding, the tissues for my own tears, I drew what I wanted to wear.”
Sharon bravely went back to college, and was accepted as a mature student at UCD, where she learned how to research the product and how to run a company on her own. She graduated with flying colours, designed and built her own website, and Peachy Lean was born.
Today the orders are flying in, and Sharon is struggling to keep up with the volume of orders coming in from women of all shapes and sizes, and backgrounds. In case life wasn’t hectic enough for the young Dublin entrepreneur, she is now pregnant with her second child.
Peachy Lean’s motto is ‘Believe in yourself’, and ‘Be strong’, and Sharon is the living embodiment of her brand.
“Believe in yourself – don’t be afraid to take a chance, and don’t be afraid to fail. The most important thing is not everything has to be perfect. Once you are doing what you love, the rest will be easy.”