Two North East entrepreneurs are launching the UK’s first ever professional hair care range aimed specifically at ‘tweenagers’ after winning a six-figure 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 shampoos, conditioners and dentanglers that make up the Shampooheads Professional product range is now going on sale.
Shampooheads is the brainchild of Geoff and Colette Bell, who together have over 30 years of hair care industry and educational experience, and it has been developed with substantial input from a range of tween- and teenagers, including the couple’s three children, to ensure it reflects the target age group’s expectations and preferences.
Renowned family healthcare expert Dr Miriam Stoppard has joined the company as a brand ambassador, and is overseeing all health aspects of the products and marketing, including signing off and approving all the product formulations with the company’s scientists.
After working with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in the £200,000 Growth Fund investment, which will support all aspects of the product launch and development, the Shampooheads Professional range is now set to start appearing on salon shelves.
A Scottish distribution company has already signed up to supply the professional hair care range, and a UK wide distributor will be announced shortly.
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.
Ideas for extensions to the launch product range are already in development, as are plans to export it into continental Europe and beyond.
Discussions are also ongoing with a number of high profile business names around commercial partnerships relating to the brand, with an on-pack competition tied into the launch of the DVD of the blockbuster film Pan already set up with Warner Home Video.
The Shampooheads management team was introduced to NEL by Geoff Little at Bell Anderson Chartered Accountants.
Geoff Bell, who has previously held senior positions with hair care industry leaders including L’Oreal Professionel and Toni & Guy, says: “No-one has ever produced a hair care range of which teenagers can have absolute ownership, and our knowledge of the industry suggests there’s a huge commercial opportunity here for us to tap into.
“Involving the type of young people who’ll be using these products in their development was absolutely essential – they know exactly what they want and have no qualms about telling you if they think you’ve got anything wrong.
“The feedback we’ve had during our salon trials from both teenagers and their parents has been fantastic, and the owners have reported on how well the products fit in their salons in terms of quality, design and style.
“Having Miriam on board adds huge amount of credibility to our brand, and her involvement ties perfectly into the whole healthy lifestyle ethos that we’re looking to promote through it.
“The NEL team saw the potential that our business plan offered and understood the market knowledge that was behind it. Their support gives us the resources to give the product range the launch it deserves, and we’re extremely confident that it will be very successful very quickly.”
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “The Shampooheads range offers an exciting addition to the hair care market and we hope it will generate a great reception. The business plan behind it offered a very sound case for investment.”
Geoff Little at Bell Anderson Chartered Accountants says: “We were delighted to be involved in securing funding and support through NEL which will enable Geoff and his team to launch an exciting and innovative range of haircare products and secure future growth for the company.”
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.