A business supplying sport and medical tape is set for massive expansion. North Tyneside success story Kinesio Taping anticipates a turnover of ï¿½1m in the current financial year.
Managing director Kevin Anderson is planning a growth of 20 to 30% each year for its versatile product.
Users of its therapeutic tapes include tennis player Andy Murray, football star Gareth Bale, and up-and-coming Wigan and England rugby league star Sam Tomkins.
The company produces brightly coloured tapes which can help treat and prevent injuries.
The tape creates a lifting effect on skin that improves circulation, relieves pain, and either relaxes or stimulates muscles depending on how it is applied.
Anderson said the biggest challenge for the company is managing its surge in popularity.
He said: “We are looking to turn over ï¿½1m this year which is a massive growth. Our biggest challenge is actually managing that growth.
“If you go for quick growth you could end up with cash flow difficulties and we don’t want that.As well as the sport uses we are working closely with the NHS to provide a new way of treating many injuries. I am surprised how people are finding new uses for our product all the time. Equine medicine, for instance, is not a market we expected to be into.”
Kinesio has been used by horse physiotherapist Lee Clark, one of eight at last year’s Olympic Games, who specialises in back pain and tendon/ligament injuries.
Clark graduated from the School of Health at the University of Teesside and, after a few years in the NHS, started his career treating animals and people at Darlington and Northallerton.
He treats racehorses, eventers, show jumpers, dressage and family horses all over the country.
The tape has also had an unexpected use in the movie industry after actors discovered it was more comfortable to hold blood bags used in action films than traditional duct tape.
The tape is now increasingly available in retail with Argos and Sports Direct joining Boots as official outlets. An announcement is expected soon on another chain.
Anderson said: “The tape not only treats an injury but it prevents it. The idea is that instead of treating from the inside out, such as with pills, we are treating from the outside in.
“It’s still very new and that’s part of the challenge. A lot of what we do is providing training courses on how to use the tape. There is also a lot of research into the benefits but it’s not a fad, it’s for real.”
Anderson has sole UK rights to Kinesio. The word comes from the science of kinesiology which is about treatment allowing the body and muscles to move while assisting rehabilitation.
There was an increased profile last year when Olympic competitors were pictured using the strips. But Anderson says that’s not the whole story.
“Kinesio Tape’s popularity with athletes has led to it being seen primarily as a sporting product, but a lot of people don’t realise that it has been used throughout the NHS, usually in a less noticeable beige colour, and in private clinics for many years.
“It has effectively treated a range of different conditions from lymphoedema and tennis elbow to childhood hemiplegia, tendonitis, carpel tunnel syndrome and many more.
“It’s light, comfortable, yet firm enough to offer strong support, so it means people can move easily whilst it’s in place.
“It’s also totally waterproof and can remain in place for five days. This means Kinesio is particularly popular with children, who always find it difficult to keep still, and also for older people who often find traditional strapping uncomfortable.”
We are looking to turn over £1m this year. Our biggest challenge is actually managing that growth