We love startups that are doing things a bit differently, especially when they also do good for people or the planet. One such business is SkinSincere, founded by Gemma Allies - they make organic, natural, additive-free skincare products. Based in Telford, SkinSincere are supported by our delivery partners StartUp Enterprise.
Ground to floor 1 – Explain what your business does
SkinSincere is an online retailer offering high quality natural, organic and paraben-free skincare products. With all of the products made in the UK, none tested on animals or made with sulfates, this is an affordable, fun and ethical brand. Personalised products and service are at the core of the business.
Floor 1 to 2 – Where are you based?
I'm based in Telford and work partly from home and also from the Start Up Hub. This town is known as a Business Borough and is undergoing exciting developments with major investment, national events and new businesses and it’s exciting to be a part of this energy and activity with my new venture.
Floor 2 to 3 – What’s the business model?
Developing on and offline sales and building a loyal clientele.
From my online store, I offer up to 3 free samples per customer and this try before you buy scheme helps develop trust and removes the risk of paying for a product that doesn’t suit the client. Offline I am developing a trade for the range with salons, boutiques and luxury hotels.
Floor 3 to 4 – Who are your competitors?
The skincare industry is a vast market with a whole host of promises and products and other natural/organic skincare companies are the main competition but they are still the minority in this market as the majority of brands still contain parabens and are not organic. Forever Living, Arbonne and Body Shop to a point are the main competition.
Floor 4 to 5 – What’s your USP?
The competitive edge for SkinSincere is personalisation and stylish packaging, incorporating fun and humour along the way.
Floor 5 to 6 – Where did the idea come from?
I’d always wanted to work for myself but didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do. I’ve had a passion for health and beauty all my life, but at sixth form I was told I was too academic to study this as a vocational subject so instead took a degree in Business and Marketing, and pursued a career in this sector. My lightbulb moment came after a particularly unhappy day at work the idea popped into my brain to combine my passion for skincare with starting my own business and that was it. I had no idea how to get there but from that moment I started reading up on suppliers, costings and undertook extensive market research. It took a while to give up my life and career as it was, but I just knew that I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. And SkinSincere was born.
Floor 6 to 7 –How much funding did you receive from Virgin StartUp?
I applied for a relatively small loan of £3000 which was enough to buy my stock, sort out my branding and get my website build which was what I needed to get the business off the ground.
Floor 7 to 8 – How are you going to use it to grow your business?
The cash injection has enabled me to accelerate the start and growth of the business and alongside I have received the invaluable investment of time from my business adviser and I also have been given free use of the Start Up Hub and a Virgin mentor, which I see as invaluable resources to help me build and grow my business.
Floor 8 to 9 – What’s your workspace like?
My workspace varies so much! Being a creative person I enjoy the variety. Recently I’ve spent a great deal of time working from my conservatory at home which is ideal for preparing stock and other work, as there’s plenty of light and natural surroundings for inspiration!
Also the Hub is a great workspace as it has plenty of resources – other businesses to bounce ideas off, business advisers for support, book shelves, Wifi and meeting spaces. All within a really modern, colourful environment which is ideal for a startup looking for some support. The facilities are great with tea, coffee and any snacks working on an honesty basis. So my workspace varies but I make a determined effort to be out meeting people to spread the word that SkinSincere is on the market.
Floor 9 to 10 – where will your business be in 12 months’ time?
Within my first year, my aim is that SkinSincere will have at least 5 corporate clients and a minimum of 25 private orders a week. The first year will be a phase to establish the brand and build customer loyalty and from this firm base I will be able to grow the turnover and profitability.