North East parents end bath time troubles with launch of children’s hair care range

Tangles, tears and tantrums are a thing of the past for three North East siblings whose bath time troubles have inspired their parents to create their own children’s hair care range.

Now Annie, Rosie and Robert Bell of Hamsterley Colliery, Gateshead are helping tame the tresses of kids across the UK after high street beauty giant Boots signed an exclusive deal with their mum and dad to launch their Shampooheads products in 483 stores of its stores.

Geoff and Colette Bell struck upon the idea to develop a range of children’s products after recognising a gap in the market for a character-based hair care range for children.  There seemed nowhere better to start than with their own children, Annie (12), Rosie (8) and Robert (6), and with help from Newcastle Science’s City’s business support team they have developed a range of tear-free, dermatologically tested products, with child friendly pumps.

Marrying Geoff’s background in professional hair care with brands including L’Oreal and Colette’s in education, the couple set about designing a range of products to encourage kids to clean up and provide precious moments of bath time calm.

Their Shampooheads brand features three characters based on the traits of their own children – Awesome Annie, Raging Rosie and Busy Bob. Its fruit scented shampoos and conditioners boast scratch and sniff packaging, whilst the hair gel for boys is designed to be strong hold and the de-tangle spray contains a heat protection for fans of crimping and straightening.

Kids will also soon be able to find out about their favourite character’s messy adventures in a range of Shampooheads bath time books, written by teacher Colette. And they can even see themselves in the Shampooheads photo gallery on the company’s website

Geoff Bell said: “It’s surprising how few hair care products specifically designed for children are on the market, when you consider how important bath time is and how troublesome hair care can be!

“By creating character-led brand, which is really appealing to children, and quality products that parents can trust, the whole family can make the most of the precious moments bath time can provide – allowing everyone to catch up, unwind and relax at the end of a busy day.”

The Bell children have been involved in the whole process of developing the product range – from approving the brand’s cartoon characters that are based on their own likeness to testing samples at the factory where the product is manufactured in Bradford. Now their namesake products are becoming part of the daily grooming of their friends and other children across the UK.

The Metrocentre store at Gateshead sold out of the full range within 48 hours when it trialled the products ahead of the national launch on May 16 and Boots says sales are building well across the country.

Elizabeth Hewitt, senior buying manager for haircare at Boots, said: “Shampooheads came to Boots just as we identified a gap in our current kids range and we were thinking about extending our current offering. We were impressed with the business plan from the supplier and wanted to give a small supplier a chance; giving a chance to a brand with an interesting proposition and a potentially wide audience.”

Shampooheads is one of hundreds of North East companies Newcastle Science City has worked with to commercialise new insight-led ideas, helping them to innovate and grow. The business support team played a pivotal role in bringing the product to market – helping to scientifically prove its tear-free formula and providing assistance to achieve dermatological testing.

Head of business support Simon Green said:  “The fact that Boots has signed an exclusive deal with Shampooheads is testament to its quality and potential but this is just the beginning for Geoff and Colette.

“Their professional background, understanding of children as parents, ambition and vision is a potent formula and they already have a number of exciting new products and developments under way. Shampooheads is a prime example of the North East’s scientific and creative talent and we’ll do all we can to help ensure the company achieves its potential.”

Shampooheads products all retail at £2.99 and are available from Boots nationwide.

Newcastle Science City is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, securing £2.3million of ERDF investment. The ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-2013 is bringing over £300m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.