Business/Brand name: MANISAFE London
Candice Quinn launched her business MANISAFE London in April 2021.
The multi award-winning brand sells UV protective manicure gloves that are a fashion accessory that shields hands’ skin from the Ultra-violet (UV) damage caused during gel manicures.
The business is a direct to consumer model selling via its ecommerce website and social media channels, with a growing business to business element being stocked in independent retailers
Prior to setting up the business, Candice was a physiotherapist and then went on to have a 15-year career in healthcare and medical devices as sales and marketing manager for one of the big 5 global medical device companies.
When Candice learnt about the risk of skin damage that can be caused by having regular gel manicure’s, and lack of consumer awareness about this, she set out to find a solution “I’m a gel manicure lover myself and was shocked when I saw scientific research that estimated that nail lamps may cause DNA damage to the skin within an average of 12 visits, and frustrated when my market research found 67% of the 315 female nail care consumers I surveyed were not aware of the risks. “
The timing was right to start her own venture as her employer offered her a redundancy package, which she accepted and then invested in to launching MANISAFE London.
Whilst Candice’s initial investment got the business up and running, she then found she needed further funding to finance her next glove production and to support the necessary ongoing marketing activities. She found out about the Start Up Loan scheme and decided to apply for a loan in October 2021 “The application process was straightforward but equally made me really take stock of the business and analyse and prioritise business needs. The pre-loan support with my business advisor Darryl Bannon was immensely helpful. She is such a wealth of information and provided really helpful guidance.”
Candice has also made good use of the follow-on mentoring support offered as part of the Start Up Loan business support offer “This has been an invaluable resource and I am so grateful this is available. Both the 1-to-1 mentoring and group sessions have helped me make smarter business decisions and help me grow my professional network.”
She goes on to say “Fashion Angel is so much more than a Start Up Loan delivery partner. The mentorship they provide and the community they foster have helped me make smarter business decisions. They genuinely care that MANISAFE London is successful, which has been very motivating as a small business owner.
The brands’ target customers are 98% women aged 25-45, who are gel manicure users and/or skincare enthusiasts. Also women with conditions such as psoriasis, raynaud’s disease, lupus and any form of sun sensitivity.
Marketing has been critical to the success of the brand with the most effective channels proving to be Google Ads and working with influencers. They also have a presence at gift fairs and online shopping weekends.
Since launching, the business has achieved considerable success. The business won Best Skin Innovation for Body in the Marie Claire Skin Awards 2021 and has had press coverage including featured in The Metro, Ireland’s Sunday Independent Life Magazine, and on Sheerluxe social media channel for Georgie Cole’s “What’s on My Desk .
Sales are showing double-digit quarterly growth with 65% sales from the UK with the balance from European customers, as well as stocked in nail salons, lifestyle stores, gift shops and online sun protection retailers. The product range is expanding to meet the demand of its loyal customer base, some of which have gone on to be brand ambassadors and even close friends!
As with every business, there are challenges” Time management is tricky when you are running a business alone and doing everything yourself, and the cash flow requires constant juggling. You have to learn when it’s best to get help and to get the maximum return from a small budget “
There have been lessons learnt along the way “When I launched, I immediately invested a lot of my budget with a PR agency which wasn’t worthwhile. There are so many ways to get press on your own and I’ve since learnt it is better to allocate any budget available to paid media as reaps better rewards”.
Candice’s top tips for those starting out: –
At just over a year old, the business is still young , but with such a strong start the business has a bright future with plans are to be stocked in major retailers, and grow international sales.
Follow her journey on https://manisafe.com Instagram @manisafelondon
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