Nursem co-founders Jonny and Antonia Philp.
Jane Imrie

BBC-featured skincare startup set for global expansion with North East BIC support

A North East-based skincare startup that appeared on BBC’s The Customer is Always Right is set for global growth.

Nursem, which was set up by husband and wife team Jonny and Antonia Philp, has announced plans to launch in two new international markets next year following a period of growth in 2020.

Founded in 2019, Newcastle-based Nursem was the brainchild of paediatric nurse Antonia, who identified a need for effective skincare after regularly suffering with sore and cracked hands after her shifts.

Nursem, which is already exporting to six European countries after securing distribution partnerships, is preparing to launch in the US and Australia in 2021. In addition, the company has plans to extend its product range into body care and hand sanitiser.

Jonny explained: “2020 has been a step change in our business and exciting things are happening every day now that we have such momentum. We had been working away at this idea for ten years and it’s incredible that it was ready at the time when it was needed most.

“One of the best things about our expansion outside of the UK is the fact that we will also export our promise to make a difference to nurses around the world.”

Nursem worked with the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) through its Innovation Programme and secured funding to get through the final product testing needed to get their product to market.

North East BIC advisor Gillian also introduced Jonny and Antonia to programme makers of the BBC’s The Customer is Always Right series, and the company was featured in an episode earlier this year.

Jonny commented: “Gillian went well beyond the remit of what we were expecting when we applied to the Innovation Programme for funding support. We were blown away by how much she genuinely cared about our success and looked for other opportunities to help us.

“We were filmed for an episode that went out on daytime TV during the height of lockdown and the interest it generated was astronomical! Within the space of 24 hours we had generated more sales than we did in the whole of 2019.

“I’m eternally grateful to Gillian for that and I always credit her for creating what was a hugely transformational moment in our business. We went from being a niche business to being well on our way to becoming a household name overnight.”

North East BIC’s innovation manager Gillian Middleton added: “Nursem deserves every success and it’s been a pleasure to have played a part in their success story so far. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

“The Nursem story is a great example of how the Innovation Programme is here to help ambitious North East entrepreneurs with the funding, guidance and contacts they need to get their brilliant ideas out into the world.”

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