30 Jul 2013

Start-up gives big-name brands a run for their money

jonny and antonia

YES! NURSE is making waves in the global skin care market with its unique branding and formula, thanks to support from Newcastle Science City.

Yes! Nurse is the brainchild of paediatric nurse Antonia Steven and her business partner Jonny Philp, who with the support of Newcastle Science City have developed a unique hand cream that not only appeals to nurses suffering with severe dry skin but also mums looking for an effective everyday moisturiser.

In only its first year since launch Yes! Nurse has already been awarded a finalist place in the beauty industry’s most prestigious ceremony, the Cosmetic Executive Women awards. This saw the small company beat industry heavyweights including Dove and Nails Inc to one of three coveted finalist positions.

Yes! Nurse has taken a strategic sales approach, currently selling via its website with one-off purchases and monthly subscription services, but also in partnership with companies such as Victoria Health that offer a wide range of popular hair and beauty products. This provided an insightful sales route to beauty consumers.

Aside from the brand’s success in the UK, Yes! Nurse has also landed deals in Malaysia, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and is also notably sold in over 150 different pharmaceutical outlets in Ireland.

Yes! Nurse co-founder Jonny Philp said: “We have been aggressively pursuing export partners in a number of specific locations around the world and this will continue to be a key tactic for company growth over the next few years.

“We are already selling in a few handpicked, niche beauty stores, and are in discussions with a couple of our target national retailers so are hoping to become a British household name in the very near future.”

Co-founder Antonia Steven believes it is their attention to the effectiveness of their product and support from Newcastle Science City that has won them so many fans so quickly.

Antonia explained: “The idea for the product came about when I had to take two weeks off work from a paediatric ward because my hands were so damaged that my skin was bleeding.

“Having asked around there were at least half of the nurses on any particular ward that would also suffer regularly from severe skin issues such as contact dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema.

“Nurses can wash their hands up to 100 times a day. By doing this, the top layer of skin doesn’t have time to replenish its natural oils making it dry out quickly and become damaged.

“We developed a formula using manuka honey and plant seed oils that sooths the skin, stops stinging, and also leaves a waxy barrier to seal in the moisture. With a primary focus being nurses the product also need to be completely sanitary, this is where Newcastle Science City supported us in testing the formula was viable for market.

“Where many big-name brands will focus on developing a new product based on a trendy new ingredient, we have created a product that is scientifically a credible solution to a common problem, and anyone that tries our product has been incredibly receptive to its effectiveness.”

Yes! Nurse co-founder Jonny Philp said: “Although we have created something that genuinely works, we didn’t want the product to sit as a medicinal treatment in pharmacies because it can and should be used everyday, which is why we have created such a fun and attractive brand that is more familiar to the beauty market.

“Our success outside the nursing industry is now our biggest revenue stream, which wasn’t our initial aim, but we have found busy mums in particular see the product as a breath of fresh air in a trend-dominated marketplace.”

Plans for the dynamic duo haven’t stopped there, with new products due to launch and further international markets yet to be explored, Jonny Philp is looking onwards and upwards: “We are aiming to launch our three new products in time to reach the winter market this year with a waxy balm for rubbing on dry spots, a big pump bottle and specialist treatment glove for intensive care.

“We are also continuing in our pursuit of big-name success by reaching new customers in international markets.”

To find out how Science City can help your business contact Simon Green, Head of Business Engagement and Support, or call 0191 208 4117.

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.

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