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Black Magic Tan UK: Business Support and Peer Networks Case Study

Case Study Growth Hub 23/08/2022

Received peer networks, digital and exporting support

There is huge opportunity to be had in the tanning product market, if you have a stand-out formula and can offer something new.

This was the idea seized upon by Cheshire-based Black Magic Tan UK – a distribution business that is exploiting new marketplaces for an Australian sunless tan brand.

Black Magic Tan UK was launched in 2020 by entrepreneur husband and wife team Sarah and Phil Caine. Sarah is skin care and training expert with nearly 20 years’ experience in the beauty sector, with a strong background in sales and marketing, Phil – also a competitive bodybuilder and former gym-owner – was perfectly placed to recognise the quality and potential of the Black Magic Tan product range.

Developed in Australia, the brand, which incorporates a host of sunless tanning solutions and tanning equipment, was yet to make an impact in the UK. Phil understood that there was major untapped demand to leverage for Black Magic Tan products – from both a business to business and business to consumer perspective.

In particular, there was an opportunity to gain market share in the bodybuilding competition arena, where Black Magic Tan UK not only provides specially formulated products but also offers professional training courses for beauty professionals who want to offer their services to body-building competitors.

Despite Black Magic Tan UK having a well-developed business plan, unfortunately its launch coincided with the coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdowns. The crisis hit the beauty industry hard, shrinking the business-to-business distribution stream for Black Magic Tan UK and bringing a general sense of uncertainty.

Phil sought support from Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub for his new venture and took part in their Peer Networks programme. This enabled Phil to work with a peer group of fellow local business leaders and an expert facilitator, with sessions to focused on issues relevant to SMEs. Developing this peer network helped Phil as he steered the business through challenging times.

After the Peer Networks programme, The Growth Hub also introduced Phil to the Department for International Trade, who helped him to take part in their free Export Academy workshops, which focused on developing an exporting strategy, as well as support to understand European markets. Through the Growth Hub, Phil was also introduced to Digital Cheshire, where he was also able to undertake workshops and sessions focused on developing and fulfilling his brand’s digital potential.

With a new website and marketing strategy in place, Black Magic Tan UK is set to be widely promoted across the nation, before Phil expands the brand's presence into mainland Europe.

Phil said, "As the UK and European distributor of Black Magic Tan, we have a hugely exciting opportunity to introduce a premium product that offers outstanding results to new marketplaces. The Black Magic spray tanning formulations have been successfully marketed in Australia since 2006 and we are confident that it can offer the best solution for customers in the UK and Europe. Our products do not contain any unnatural ingredients or parabens and are cruelty free. They are innovative and designed to improve end user experience – that's why they have such credibility within the tanning and beauty industry.

"We knew from the outset that we had a great brand and product range to take to market but the pandemic placed big obstacles in our way.

"The Growth Hub have been instrumental in helping us to navigate our way around those obstacles. They enabled us to access different types of support – from understanding what funding and grants were available to knowledge-sharing via peer networks. They have also linked us with the Department of International Trade, to aid us in entering new export territories. The level of support we've received is unprecedented and we are grateful for the boost it has given our business. It has put us in a strong position to beat the best in the market."

Find out more about Black Magic Tan UK

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