Original article written by Emer O'Toole, The National Newspaper Scotland https://www.thenational.scot/news/17588578.this-scottish-skincare-spinout-is-disrupting-the-cosmetics-industry/
DAVID Heath set up Cutitronics after spotting a gap in the market for personalised skincare devices after realising the UK’s skincare sector is behind the medical sector in that sense. It promises to revolutionalise how users use skincare products by analysing a customer’s skin and then dispense exactly the correct amount of cosmetics for their specific need.
Name: David Heath
Position: Co-founder and CEO
WHAT’S YOUR BUSINESS CALLED?
WHERE IS IT BASED?
WHY DID YOU SET UP THE BUSINESS?
MY background is in biomedical engineering in the bioclinical field. I attended a skincare conference and realised it was more aimed at the cosmetic end of skincare. I realised the industry was not drawing on device technologies for personalised skincare and that it was behind the medical sector so I realised I could transfer that over to fix major challenges the industry was having.
I started to build a team and engage with major brands and players in the sector. I found a FTSE 100 company, Croda, who manufactured ingredients to go into skincare products. The team at Croda came in as strategic partners and investors – it’s a global company based in York. This gave us the cash to move forward and develop the business.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
WE have got white label access so we have our own technology but brands can use their own version of it. It is not to be in competition with brands but to integrate into their systems and use in product lines. Users can see the result of their skincare daily and see how products work.
WHAT IS YOUR TARGET MARKET?
WE are aimed at the home skincare market. In other countries like the US dermatologist offices tend to operate at high-end skincare moving into low grade medical skincare. In the UK we have some specialist salons for procedures. We wanted to support people who do their own skincare at home. The value chain is collapsing and an example of this is House of Fraser shutting down. How you use a product and the education associated with it gets lost as consumers are going into store to speak to specialists less. We’re trying to reconnect the consumer with brands to get the tools to support the products they are buying. People are becoming more familiar with tech like the Fitbit and use it to support performance so they are demanding the same level of input in other areas. Consumers do want to go in store to learn, experience, touch and feel and try but they don’t necessarily want to make a purchase. They would rather make a repurchase online so it is an omnichannel experience. The biggest challenge is how to stay connected to the consumer.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM COMPETING BUSINESSES?
THE year on year growth of devices in this space is remarkable. It is driven by advances in tech as tech becomes cheaper. One thing other device companies haven’t done as well is they will sell brands as standalone devices. For a fully holistic approach that isn’t good enough. We work with the brand to design their version of the technology. We can tailor it to product lines and the individual. By tying the device with product and formulations it goes beyond consumer customisation.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT RUNNING THE BUSINESS?
WORKING with a great team. There are 10 staff excluding me. Scotland is an excellent place to run a business. What Scotland has done well is that I was easily able to change from an academic role to an entrepreneurial role. What I’d like to see more of is focus on areas of scale and internationalisation. There’s support from going from a startup to an SME but I don’t think we have wider scale-up in place yet.
WHERE DO YOU HOPE THE BUSINESS WILL BE IN 10 YEARS’ TIME?
WE are trying to create core technologies in a scientific way so that what is usually in a clinical environment is transferred to the home of the user. In 10 years I hope we are producing almost working labs in the home powered by computer technology. I want to grow the team as well. The brands we work with already operate internationally so we’re naturally going that way too. As we scale up we will need to increase our capacity – this year we brought on one person every month.
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