A new hair product inspired by a three-year-old girl and developed and manufactured in the North West of England has been officially launched onto the global market.
The FYC (For Your Curls) product range is specially designed for mixed race and curly hair and is looking to take a slice of a hair care market worth £1.72bn in the UK alone.
Rob Binns, co-founder of the Preston-based business, began working on the range with his business partners Bradley Lincoln and Mike Peters after failing to find the right kind of hair product for his three year-old-daughter Lydia.
He said: “We’ve got a little girl aged three with frizzy, curly hair and we couldn’t find any products that worked for her that didn’t contain harsh chemicals. So, together with Brad and Mike, we set about creating them.
“Having seen first-hand what an issue curly hair can be, there are so many textures, so many differences and so many options. So we started speaking to lots of different ‘curlies’ and we found out that it’s the same for all of them. The issues are the same.
“We wanted to develop a product range to help all kinds of curlies to live with and love their hair. Lydia certainly loves it!”
He added: “We are really excited about FYC’s potential. We feel we’ve found a genuine gap in the market, a haircare product that meets a real need.
“The sales potential for FYC is massive and not just in the UK. Our aim is to build and develop a strong British brand that can make a real impact.
“We’ve got ambitious marketing and sales development plans and a strong and enthused team around us. We’ve set ourselves ambitious but very realistic targets for growth.”
FYC is vegan friendly and made from naturally derived ingredients including shea butter, organic aloe vera, olive oil and argan oil. It contains no silicones, sulphates or parabens, which is particularly important for curly hair.
The range includes shampoo, conditioners and refresh and detangle spray. Its creators say it has been specifically designed to work with “wavy, open and tight curls”, both mixed-race and curly. It has taken 24 months from the initial concept to the launch.
FYC has based its manufacturing and sales operations in Lancashire. An online sales platform has been created, working with Preston-based e-commerce specialists EKM. The products are being made by a specialised, award-winning contract manufacturer.
Bradley, like Rob, is a parent of mixed-race children and the creator of the ‘Mix-d’ concept of resources and materials developed around the subject of mixed-race identity in the UK.
That work included partnering with the Boss Model Management Agency, Sassoon hairdressing salon group and Harvey Nichols to develop the UK’s first mixed-race model competition.
He headed the detailed research that led to the development of FYC. He said: “When we began the research into haircare formulations and other lifestyle products, we very quickly became aware there was a massive gap in the market.
“FYC is a unique offering, specially formulated for mixed race and curly hair and is gender neutral. It uses only good quality, naturally derived ingredients to enhance its performance.”
Mike has a strong and highly-successful track record in the beauty and hair product sector, including work in West Africa.
The entrepreneur founded Universal Products Manufacturing, a contract manufacturing business that began life with a workforce of four and a first-year turnover of £79,000. It delivered products for some of the top names in the beauty world.
He oversaw the Kirkham-based business’ growth to a £38m turnover, 290-staff organisation when it was sold in January 2014 to a Dublin based healthcare group for £13million.
He was also the director of a pharmaceuticals operation that was sold for £28m in a separate deal.
Mike, who was honoured with an MBE for services to North West industry and is a former Lancastrian of the Year, has brought all his manufacturing experience to the business.
He said: “The potential for FYC is enormous. We’re a British brand and our products are being manufactured here in the North West of England in a state-of-the-art, industry-leading facility.
“Being based in this part of the world, harnessing its talent and working with companies here is something that is really important to us.”
Successful serial entrepreneur Rob is managing director of the Cotton Court Business Centre in Preston. He also has interests in a range of tech and telecoms businesses, as well as property and energy companies.
Rob is also a member of the strategic board driving Preston’s Town Deal bid. In 2019 he was part of a delegation of Lancashire entrepreneurs invited to London to meet the Business Secretary.