Posted: Mon 4th Sep 2017
Professor Scrubbington's, a range of 98% natural toiletries designed to help children wash themselves, has just launched in 400 Boots stores across the UK.
We are delighted to say that we played a part in that success by introducing the Enterprise Nation member to the retail giant at an exclusive meet the buyer event for members. Co-founder Emma Cranstoun tells the story.
Describe your business in one sentence.
We make a range of children's toiletries that are 98% natural and designed to help children wash themselves.
How did you come up with your idea and turn it into an actual business?
I was washing my children in the bath (aged five and seven at the time) and thinking why am I still using a product wh a picture of a baby on the front and why am I still washing them myself when they should be doing it themselves?
My business partner Karen and I researched the market and thought there was a gap. We found a manufacturer, pulled in some favours from a design agency that we knew and started taking the range to retailers.
What start-up challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
It's taken longer than we thought to meet with retailers and get them to agree to stock us. Sheer tenacity and never giving up (plus some help from Enterprise Nation!) means we've finally got there but it has taken two years.
Finding the right people to work with us as partners in manufacturing, logistics and sales has also taken time but we knew we had to get that right so were prepared to take our time finding them.
We also launched with different products, packaging and design than we have now. We listened to consumer and retailer feedback and have changed them to make sure they are the best they can be.
What has been your biggest achievement with your business so far?
Definitely getting into Boots. 400 stores nationwide is something we are both really proud of.
What is your next big business goal?
We want to get more distribution in places like Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda and then start exporting. British brands are really popular abroad at the moment and we want to capitalise on that.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge getting there?
We've started conversations with most of these retailers now and we're hoping that being stocked in Boots will be the success story we can talk to them about to convince them to stock us. For export, we need to find the right partner that will build the brand in the right way with us.
You pitched to Boots at an Enterprise Nation member event. Tell us about your experiences on the day.
We turned up with 12 other Enterprise Nation members and took it in turns to pitch to the Boots team. We had 20 minutes each which was a 10 minute presentation and then 10 minutes for questions.
We were towards the end of the day so had all day to get nervous! It was great though to spend time with the other people pitching. We're still in touch with some of them today and there was a great cheer when anyone came back into the main room after their pitch.
When it came to it, it wasn't really that scary. The team were lovely and we know our product inside out so there weren't any questions that we couldn't answer.
Why do you think Boots liked your product and agreed to stock it?
We think there is a huge opportunity in the children's toiletries sector. Baby has a lot of choice but once your baby becomes a toddler there isn't anything specifically tailored to them.
I think Boots saw this opportunity too and what was also important to them is that we are 98% natural. Natural is a huge trend in food and beauty and Boots is looking for more natural products as their customers are demanding it.
They loved the brand too. The idea of the Professor travelling the world devising new and exciting concoctions appealed to them as they know there are so many more stories we can share with consumers to build the brand.
What plans do you have to make a success of being stocked in Boots?
We're working on a big PR campaign to coincide with the Boots launch to raise awareness of the brand.
We're also doing some joint marketing with Boots to target their customers as well as doing some price promotions in store to encourage people to try Scrubbington's. Once they've tried us and seen the lovely foamy products in action, they're hooked!
How has Enterprise Nation helped your business?
We first started to talking to Boots through an Enterprise Nation pitching event which was an amazing introduction to the Boots business.
We've also been to events like The Beauty Exchange which has been brilliant for meeting other like-minded entrepreneurs and sharing stories and contacts.
Which other entrepreneur inspires you and why?
As I was growing up there weren't many female entrepreneurs that I knew about apart from Anita Roddick who founded The Body Shop.
I loved her passion for what she was doing, her belief in putting the idea of doing good at the heart of her business and the retail experience she created that I loved as a teenager.
What are your three tips for business success based on your experiences so far?
Talk to everyone. One of the greatest parts of this job is talking to new people and asking their opinions. Everyone has been so willing to help us and share their experiences. Ultimately we need to make the right decisions for our business but it's great to get advice when we need it.
Make quick decisions. Having worked in large corporates previously, we have both enjoyed the freedom to make quick decisions. We've made some mistakes of course, but we've always been able to correct them, and making quick decisions means we can act fast to respond to consumer or customer feedback.
Trust your instincts. We've always lived by this rule and even more so at Scrubbington's. When you live and breathe the brand every day you are the best placed to make the right decisions.