The UK’s first ever professional hair care range specifically created for ‘tweenagers’ is looking to brush off the competition both at home and overseas with the help of a second investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund.
 
After being successfully trialled in one of the UK’s leading hair salon chains, the Shampooheads Professional range of shampoos, conditioners and detanglers went on sale at the start of the year.
Since then, it has successfully found its way onto salon shelves around the UK, as well as going overseas through distribution deals in nine countries, including Spain, South Africa, Kenya, the Baltic states and, more recently, Germany.
The range was originally launched with the help of a £200,000 Growth Fund investment, which Shampooheads secured from regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.
And the management team has now gone back to NEL for a second, planned Growth Fund investment of £100,000, which will help their continuing drive to establish the brand as a market leader right around the world, as well as support the development of a new range of swim-friendly hair and bodywash products.
Having just exhibited at the hair industry’s leading global trade show, Salon International, the Shampooheads management team is now also following up on potential new distribution deals in ten countries, ranging from Croatia and Poland through to Canada, Australia and Pakistan.
A trial project with Aston & Fincher, the UK’s leading distributor of hair and beauty products, is also set to start which will further extend the brand’s presence around the country.
 
Shampooheads was the brainchild of Geoff and Colette Bell, who together have over 30 years of hair care industry and educational experience, and was developed with substantial input from a range of tween- and teenagers, including the couple’s three children, to ensure it reflected the target age group’s expectations and preferences.
 
Renowned family healthcare expert Dr Miriam Stoppard acts as a brand ambassador for the firm, overseeing all health aspects of the products and marketing, including signing off and approving all the product formulations with the company’s scientists.
 
All Shampooheads’ products, which are aimed at children between six and 15 years old, are manufactured in the UK, contain between 93 and 98 per cent natural ingredients and are not tested on animals.
Commercial partnerships with brands including Warner Home Video and Trunki-creator Jurni have been successfully set up, while plans are also currently being developed for new toddler-friendly products to be added to the range.
 
Geoff Bell, who previously held senior positions with hair care industry leaders including L’Oreal Professionel and Toni & Guy Group, says: “Until Shampooheads came along, tweenagers had to use either kids’ or adult products, and the terrific feedback that we’ve had from both customers and salons this year has shown just how much demand there is for products that this age group can call their own.
 
“We had a huge amount of interest at Salon International from distributors right around the world, and we’re confident that we’ll be securing deals in the coming months that will see the Shampooheads making inroads into a wide range of new markets.
 
“The NEL team has been very supportive in helping to facilitate the growth of the brand, and it was a natural move to extend our working relationship through this second Growth Fund investment.”
 
Lindsey Grieves, portfolio executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Shampooheads has tapped very successfully into a lucrative sector of the hair and beauty market where specific competition is scarce, and is establishing a brand that clearly has a great deal of appeal to its target audience.”
 
Aimed at regional businesses which are at a development and growth stage, the Growth Fund forms part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund.
 
Managed by North East Finance, it will see £142m of investment capital injected into the region by the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund 2007-13 over a five year period.
 
NEL is looking to make around 130 investments over the five-year life span of the Growth Fund, and is actively looking to speak to ambitious north east companies with robust business plans.
 
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.
 
The ERDF 2007-13 programme is bringing over £300m into North East England to support innovation, enterprise and business support.  It will help create and safeguard 28,000 new jobs, start 3,000 new businesses and increase the region’s productivity by £1.1bn per annum.