Natural Skincare Range Appeals for Funds to Support Growth

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Nick Moules
24th September 2012

When marketing a product, having a suitably sized target audience is a must.  But there’s no sweat on Steve Brookes, owner of SkinKind (UK) Ltd, who manufactures natural skincare products to treat sufferers of serious skin complaints:

“Twenty per cent of the UK’s population suffer from the likes of psoriasis, acne, eczema and dermatitis – we have a lot of people to aim at”, he says.

And SkinKind has recently begun to tap into that market of over twelve million people, selling direct to the consumer, but more prominently through the NHS as GPs prescribe the product to those suffering with serious skin complaints.

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So why should GPs prescribe SkinKind? Steve has a compelling argument: “First of all it is more successful than the steroid treatments commonly prescribed. We’re looking at 95 per cent plus of those who suffer from dermatitis seeing their hands return to a normal state with no side effects.

“Secondly the product is entirely natural. With streroids you might suffer any number of associated complaints including depression, and in the case of psoriasis sufferers, steroids will just slow down the plaque process (where excess dead skin grows on places like knees and elbows). Our product actually exfoliates the dead skin so it goes away. If patients apply our product twice a week it will stay on top of the plaque process.”

People running these types of businesses usually have an emotional attachment and Steve’s inspiration came because he knows sufferers and was aware of industries where people are more likely to suffer from conditions like occupational dermatitis.

“According to the Department of Health, either at the moment or over a lifetime, 70 per cent of hairdressers will suffer occupational dermatitis because of the aggressive chemicals and cleaning products in use. It’s not easy for the likes of hairdressers or nurses, who have to use harsh alcohol gels, to leave a profession as typically they’ve invested a lot of time in training and it’s all they know. Our products help them continue in their career without suffering from cracked and blistered hands,” says Steve.

Cheaper than alternatives

In a sign of the times where the medical advantages of the SkinKind range might not be sufficient alone for a GP to prescribe to sufferers, Steve has priced the product very competitively too: “We’re about a third of the cost of other treatments available on the NHS.”

Steve and his team have already made good progress targeting wholesalers and a patient can walk into any pharmacy in the UK and receive a SkinKind product the next day.

“Our products are already available through Phoenix, AAH and Alliance Healthcare, which are the three main wholesalers used by the NHS – it’s now just a case of getting in front of those who make out prescriptions – the doctors.”

Long term customers

According to Steve, Psoriasis is a condition that affects about three per cent of those with serious skin complaints. There’s no cure and patients spend a lifetime trying to stay on top of the effects of the condition.

This translates into lifetime customers through repeat prescriptions. “Once patients see the effects of the product, I’m confident they won’t feel the need to switch to an alternative”, adds Steve.

Case study

ITV’s Calendar programme covered the story of Sarah Lewis, a ballet dancer, who used SkinKind’s Deep Skin Cleanser to regain her confidence as she suffers from psoriasis. You can view the clip here

Business plans

Steve is passionate about the future success of SkinKind so he has no plans to exit. “I want to see the business continue to grow and become self-sufficient.”

To do that Steve is looking for a £49,000 investment with repayments over a 36 month term. He plans to expand the current six person team with additional sales and marketing support so he can make more GPs aware of the benefits of his product and increase sales.

“This cash will help up our scale. I want to run seminars, send out samples and pay for advertising to hit our target audience.”

Why crowdfunding?

Unlike other businesses that have turned to crowdfunding after exhausting traditional funding routes, SkinKind has chosen the crowdfunding route as its first choice:

“It’s the future as I see it” says Steve.  “I can see banks being squeezed out by crowdfunding because of its simplicity – in fact I don’t know any other SME owner who has positive things to say about the banks.”

Investors are currently lending to SkinKind Ltd at an average of just over 8%. To invest in SkinKind Ltd, click here

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