BIG BUCK$

THE LO­CAL BUSI­NESSES OUT TO CRACK AMER­ICA

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Bev­er­ley Wool­ford bev­er­ley.wool­ford@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @get­bucks

START spread­ing the news, two Bucks busi­nesses are set to take a big bite out of the big ap­ple af­ter win­ning a com­pe­ti­tion to join a trade mis­sion in New York.

Chal­font St Peter based Mojo Skin and Hair­care and High Wy­combe based SOAK Your­self were two of 10 South East busi­nesses own­ers cho­sen by the UKTI (UK Trade and In­dus­try) to at­tend the NY Now trade show as part of a com­pe­ti­tion to show­case the best in UK de­sign and in­no­va­tion.

Or­gan­ised by the UKTI in con­junc­tion with Nor­we­gian Air, which has re­cently started a low-cost route from Gatwick to New York, the trip, which took place at the end of last month would also help the busi­nesses ex­pand their hori­zons with ac­cess to po­ten­tial US buy­ers and help and ad­vice from ex­perts in US cus­toms, trade and bank­ing.

Al­though the idea for Mojo only came about in 2014, the lux­ury hair­care prod­ucts cre­ated by founder and CEO Paul Adrian are al­ready mak­ing waves on the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

Be­fore branch­ing out on his own Paul had worked in ad­ver­tis­ing and was the global sales and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for men’s groom­ing brand King of Shaves. It was dur­ing a sales trip to the US that Paul de­cided he could put his ex­per­tise to bet­ter use.

“I met some peo­ple and I thought you know what I could so this bet­ter, I know what I’m talk­ing about,” he said. “I took King of Shaves all around the world, I sold into Moscow, I took the brand into Tar­get in the US so I have a lot of con­tacts and the right ex­pe­ri­ence and I just looked at the mar­ket and saw there was an op­por­tu­nity for some­thing dif­fer­ent.

“My wife had said to me one day ‘what is that prod­uct you’ve got on your hair? it stinks’, and this was one of my favourite prod­ucts, an Amer­i­can brand, and that was my eureka mo­ment when I thought right, I can cre­ate some­thing dif­fer­ent.”

The ‘some­thing dif­fer­ent’ about Mojo is its use of a lux­ury fra­grance and the pack­ag­ing, cre­ated by Paul and in­spired by the things he loves.

“I didn’t want to smell of cit­rus, I wanted a lux­ury smell so I sat down, sur­rounded my­self with my favourite things so it’s all in­flu­enced by a love of Cuban cigars, Blue Note Jazz record cov­ers, hence the ty­pog­ra­phy, and then I looked at the mar­ket and ev­ery­one else was in plas­tic jars and that’s why I did glass be­cause men like to feel some­thing that’s weighty.”

The range in­cludes a shampoo, a conditioner and a beard oil but the core prod­ucts are the hair clay, fi­bre shaper and styling cream, all with that be­spoke scent.

With a stated aim of go­ing global from the out­set Mojo was al­ready off to a head start be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion with Ocado on board, a deal in the pipe­line with Ama­zon and plans to ex­pand into In­dia.

Paul had also al­ready de­cided to set up Mojo Inc and es­tab­lish a ware­house in the US and had landed his first big US ac­count with newegg. com. He even had the star of the new Broad­way mu­si­cal School of Rock tweet­ing the virtues of Mojo af­ter a chance meet­ing in a ho­tel lobby.

By be­ing given the chance to ex­hibit as part of the UK pav­il­ion at the NY Now trade show, the Mojo brand was among 400 prod­uct cat­e­gories from more than 2,500 com­pa­nies from around the world and on top of its ini­tial suc­cess the trip has helped to push the brand for­ward and has hope­fully re­sulted in find­ing a new US dis­trib­u­tor.

“It can still be a game changer,” Paul said, “be­cause you can meet that one per­son who con­trols such a big ac­count here and that’s how it changes.

“That’s why with this busi­ness you’ve got to get out there per­son­ally be­cause you never know who you are go­ing to meet.

“We’re re­ally proud to be one of the win­ners, its re­ally great for the brand, it gives it mo­men­tum, peo­ple talk about it, it makes a big dif­fer­ence.”

Not quite as far down the busi­ness road is Jackie Hope, cre­ator of SOAK Your­self bath rit­ual recipe kits.

The boxes con­tain com­bi­na­tions of nat­u­ral, or­ganic es­sen­tial oils and salts all for­mu­lated to pro­vide an in­dul­gent and restora­tive soak in the tub.

For Jackie the trip proved to be more of a fact find­ing and re­search ex­er­cise as op­posed to a sales mis­sion. But with plans now in place to get her prod­uct tested and ap­proved by the FDA she hopes, thanks to the con­fi­dence from the win and guid­ance from the UKTI, to be mov­ing for­ward soon.

“It’s given me a good list of things that I know I need to do now be­fore I can launch in the US,” she said.”

“The ex­pe­ri­ence has been in­valu­able in that if I hadn’t come on this trip I would have come over blind, I would have fum­bled around and not re­ally known what to do and how to do it so it’s given me a re­ally good ba­sis what I have to do in or­der to come and do busi­ness here.”

For Jackie, who runs a bath and body bou­tique in High Wy­combe, the chance to meet other busi­ness own­ers has also proved ben­e­fi­cial.

“It has been great to talk to other com­pa­nies to see where they’re at, what they’re do­ing, what they think,” she said, “be­cause of­ten you’re on your own in your busi­ness, and it’s all about you and your busi­ness and you don’t re­ally get your head up to talk to other peo­ple so it’s been nice for me to know I’m on the right track and to com­pare with what oth­ers are do­ing.”

Jackie also took the op­por­tu­nity to do a lit­tle shop­ping and plans to bring some new US prod­ucts back to her Bucks bou­tique.

Suc­cess: Paul Adrian cre­ator of the Mojo hair prod­ucts, pic­tured left

Fact find­ing: Jackie Hope of Soak

Your­self

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