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Beauty trio made up as they target global success

Fashion and beauty are proving big business for a growing number of Northern Irish women.

Three entrepreneurs have started up their companies in the industry, having been put through their paces by Invest Northern Ireland's Propel programme.

Nicole McEvoy's range of non-absorbent make-up tools Barely Cosmetics, Helen McCrumlish's Fabbnails and Tess Cooke's cashmere and tweed clothing brand, are poised to go global during the coming months.

With more than eight years' experience in beauty, Castlewellan make-up artist Nicole founded Barely Cosmetics after spotting a gap in the market for non-absorbent cosmetic tools.

With support from the Propel programme, aimed at developing high-growth potential export-focused start-ups, Nicole is now preparing to launch Barely on international market.

"People want quality products, free from harmful toxins, at the best possible price," she said.

Omagh woman Helen's brand Fabbnails is a gel polish system that is designed to allow users to create professional, salon-style results at home.

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And Tess, founder of tweed clothing company Indigo Ivy, worked as a seamstress in London before returning to Northern Ireland to set up her own business producing women's clothing made from a special blend of cashmere and tweed.

Her range is currently sold online, at UK-wide fairs and seasonal shows and at visitor centres including the Giant's Causeway and similar venues in Scotland and England.

The skills Tess developed during Invest NI's Propel programme gave her the confidence to explore new routes to market, such as large American retailers and the homeware sector.

"In the next five years, I aim to have Indigo Ivy products available in high-end retailers such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Cordings," she said.

Propel is now open for applications for 2014/15. To apply, visit www.investni.com/propel