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For some small business owners, the pandemic has provided them with a unique opportunity to grow. That was the case for skincare formulator Kelly Spinks and massage therapist Wendy Lane, the duo behind a new vegan skincare brand who used the coronavirus lockdown to increase their online presence.

Selling in salons and spas before the pandemic, the pair decided to ramp up their online presence as soon as the lockdown hit, with their normal route to market closed off for the foreseeable future. Kelly and Wendy took out a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp Link opens in a new window to help them continue trading during lockdown. The founders have used the loan to hire a social media agency to enhance their online presence (follow them on Instagram @meadowskincareuk Link opens in a new window), successfully leading to more sales.

Kelly says: “Before lockdown, we traded mainly in small salons and spas and in some boutique retail outlets. When lockdown began, we anticipated that we’d be solely relying on social media and online sales, so we increased the money we were putting into our social media campaigns in preparation. We also launched two new products during lockdown. With more people at home on computers and unable to go to their usual shop or salon for skincare or facial treatments, we have seen a rise in new customers. And the customers that were buying through these spas and salons have been buying directly from us instead.”

Meadow Skincare uses only 100% natural products. Kelly and Wendy have tried to make the brand as eco-friendly as possible and source British ingredients at every opportunity. Packaging is solely made from paper or cardboard, products are waterless, and all jars and lids are recyclable. The pair believe lockdown and a change in customer habits, albeit for a relatively small time, could benefit the business long-term. Wendy says: “If the new customers we’ve acquired during lockdown continue to purchase from us then that would be fantastic. The increase in our online presence has also led to more enquiries from new salons and boutique shops contacting us for wholesale pricing and looking to place orders once they reopen.”

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Rachel Sullivan