“Funding hasn’t proved as easy to get as I had imagined. People tell you that funding is available for this that or the other, but then you realise there are various conditions that you don’t meet. It’s very frustrating. Funders like ART Business Loans have proved to be the best bet for us at this stage in our development.”
Essentially Yours was founded in 1999, with the aim of manufacturing small batch skin care products, to ensure quality and freshness, free from petrochemicals. Based on sound academic research and development, the idea was to make products for the owners of existing labels rather than develop their own brand.
“We set up when the internet was in its infancy and ‘organic’ was a new word,” says John Hamilton, Director of Essentially Yours. “Over the past 20 years the market has changed considerably and we have learnt a lot. Understanding just what natural products can do for the human body is an exciting current trend. People are generally more aware of the need to look after themselves, exercise and eat more healthily. Raising awareness of the health benefits of using natural products compared to the potential dangers of using products that contain chemicals, such as parabens, needs to be the next big health campaign. The NHS could save £millions by recommending natural products rather than prescribing products that contain chemicals which can exacerbate rather than heal common skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and dermatitis. Our natural products also hold the secret to supporting skin in ageing well.”
The growth of the internet, as well as the difficulty in getting his message across via other brands, has persuaded John in recent years that the way ahead for Essentially Yours lies in selling directly to health-aware consumers and building a brand which reflects his values and beliefs when it comes to skin and health care.
“Funding hasn’t proved as easy to get as I had imagined,” says John. “People tell you that funding is available for this, that and the other, but then you realise there are various conditions that you don’t meet. It’s very frustrating. What we need is a significant sum to invest in marketing.” John has found that Responsible Finance lenders like ART Business Loans are currently the best source of funding for the business.
A loan from ART has enabled John to take on a specialist digital content manager to help build the Essentially Yours website and engage with consumers via the internet and social media. “Once we see for certain that we have hit on the right approach to marketing, the plan is to take out a second loan to help us ramp up further and buy more stock,” says John.