A skincare company founded by two former miners from County Durham has celebrated 25 years in business, having weathered challenging trading conditions through innovation and modern technology.
Skin Salveation, which produces a range of natural products for the treatment of eczema and other skin conditions, started life in 1990 when it was found that a sodium silicate-based formula reduced the negative effects caused by the skin-hostile environment in which the miners worked.
Since then, the company has gone through numerous major changes. However, it products have remained a hit with customers worldwide, many of whom have been using them for years.
“The business is based on a brilliant idea and its history is quite unique,” said managing director John Davidson.
“It has gone from strength to strength and that is all based on referrals.
“Our products are totally natural and will remain totally natural; people trust what we do and some have said it has been life-changing for them.”
Mr Davidson took over at the helm of the business in 2011 after the previous owners launched Dermasalve plc, with a view to taking non-sensitising skin products to the wider market and competing with major national players.
The venture, however, folded, at which point the Intellectual Property for the products was retained by Meadow Labs in Essex, who, recognising the products’ potential, contacted Skin Salveation. Under Mr Davidson’s management, they have now been incorporated into its portfolio.
The moisturising creams are unique in being deemed to have no known sensitisers, as defined under the European Cosmetics Directive.
Although predominately an online retailer, Skin Salveation two years ago secured a exclusive retail contract with John Bell & Croyden, one of London’s oldest and largest pharmacies, which holds a Royal Warrant.
The Felton-based company, which has manufacturing partnerships in place with both Meadow Labs and Kays of Ramsbottom, has also grown through an affiliate programme, working with sellers in the likes of Australia and the US.
Similarly fundamental to its survival during tough economic times has been its embracing of modern technology, with moves including a £25,000 investment on redesigning and boosting the capabilities of its website.
Skin Salveation has also recognised the worth of digital marketing and has launched a new e-commerce website that includes a sophisticated interface to support the growing use of mobile Android applications.
“Internet marketing is no doubt the way forward for companies of our size,” Mr Davidson said.
“We’ve had year-on-year growth of around 15% and overall we’re very pleased with the performance. There have been some difficult times, but we feel positively about the next two to three years.
“We’re always willing to look at new opportunities - including partnering with research and development company.
“We are not closed off to other products as we know that to survive in the long-term you have to adapt.”