Inspired by his own experiences of having acne, Kyle Frank set out looking for a cure. Having found a solution that worked for him, he created Frank’s Remedies and took a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp to help get the business started. We caught up with him to find out more...
What were you doing before you started Frank's Remedies?
I was at university at the time. I was doing my degree. It was only the second or third year that I started thinking about launching a business. I was travelling more and learning more about what I was looking into – the ingredients and formulations, everything around acne.
Where did the idea for Frank's Remedies come from?
I suffered from really bad cystic acne for about five years. I was constantly going to the GP, being prescribed oral and topical medications.
Then in the third or fourth year of going through this, nothing was working at all and they referred me to a dermatologist as a last resort. They put me on Roaccutane, a pill that you take and it just dries out your whole body. You can get depression from it, you have to sign a disclaimer to confirm that you're aware of all the side effects that can happen. While I was on it for the first two months, it was too much for my body. I ended up looking a lot older than I am, this drug was ageing my skin. I just thought that there had to be a natural route.
I've always believed in the power of nature and the things that ingredients can do for us. So I started travelling during the second year of university and talking to dermatologists and pharmacists to get a better understanding of what they thought acne was. Because what I found out was that there was no universal understanding of what acne was.
While I was travelling I learnt about different cultures' approaches to treating acne, it was so interesting. Across the whole world, there are so many different understandings of it, and different ways of treating it.
So I encapsulated all of those things that I learnt while travelling and when I came back to London, I started making products. Through trial and error I came up with five products to launch the business with, and an effective routine so that they all work together.
When people saw the impact that these products had had on my skin, people started asking me to make products for them. And then someone suggested that I make my own brand. I was originally planning to create a YouTube channel to show people how to make the products, but I realised that with a brand I could help more people. So that's how it all started.
How have you gone through the process of creating a business from the original idea?
There's been a lot of learning. Obviously, the StartUp Loan from Virgin StartUp helped and I also did the Step Up programme. This was a two-day programme that gave me a good amount of insight into what the day-to-day running of a business is like. We learnt about marketing, branding, PR, and manufacturing, and we heard from some amazing entrepreneurs who have already been through it all. It was amazing to see how they had got to where they are now.
How has it been running a business in the middle of a pandemic?
It's been difficult, but it has allowed me to spend a bit more time at home to focus. Before I would always be going out and meeting people. But actually, the pandemic has given me time to spend at home working on the business. It's allowed me to focus on the areas that I can grow my business.
What's been your favourite part of running Frank's Remedies?
I've realised that I don't like just doing one thing. There are so many things that I'm doing on a daily basis that I'm never getting bored. I'm going from graphic design to marketing, to branding, to social media, and so on. I love all of those things and it's really stimulating to learn more about them.
What's next for Frank's Remedies?
There are loads of new ranges I want to introduce for different skincare needs. I also want to complete the range that I have now.
I also have a social impact project where I go into secondary schools and work with children aged between 11 and 15. I help them with their self-esteem and body image. I've been running workshops for two years now and the workshops are accredited by the AQA exam board. It's a five-week programme and at the end of it, the kids get a certificate. I'd love to expand that and grow a team to take it into more schools.