US Launch

Handsome launches bac< in the US

Altrincham-based Handsome Ltd has launched its back care brand bac< in the United States from a base in Chicago, where it is replicating its hugely successful UK business model.

Handsome launched bac< into the UK market in September 2013 and it has since gone from strength to strength, doubling turnover year on year.

Over 80% of people in the UK and the US suffer from back pain so the market and the business potential for the bac< range is huge.

In addition, in both countries, from a consumer perspective, there is no other brand taking leadership in back care, providing massive opportunity for the brand, which prides itself on efficacy, style and innovation.

The bac< range of products relieves back pain, improves posture and helps consumers continue to lead an active lifestyle. It is distributed in Boots, Superdrug and other leading pharmacies; direct to consumer via ecommerce businesses backpainhelp.com and Amazon; and on home shopping channel QVC, where the bac< Shoulder Brace recently sold out live on air within 3 minutes.

Replicating the business model in the US, bac< is being sold in the number one pharmacy chain, Walgreens and trialled in the second largest chain, CVS, as well as being distributed on the same e-commerce sites and QVC.

Handsome CEO, Mark Critchley, is the former UK marketing director at SSL International, where he was responsible for a portfolio of 30 brands including Durex and Scholl.

He said: “We exist to improve the health of the nation’s backs, with well-designed products that are both effective and beautifully crafted, so they look much more stylish than what consumers are traditionally used to.

“Back and neck pain is a huge problem in Western countries and this will only get worse given our use of technology and our sedentary lifestyles. It means that as a business, there is huge opportunity for us to provide solutions, grow the brand and become the leader in back care, in the same way Scholl is synonymous with foot care.

“Launching in the US is an exciting move for us – we’ve already sold into 46 states out of 50 – and we’re confident we can make it a great success.”

Handsome is set to launch a Crowdcube campaign on 1st March 2016 to attract investment into the company, so it can fulfil its potential and build bac< into a household brand. The investment will be used in marketing such as point of sale displays, merchandising and education material and also in upscaling its successful targeted TV advertising and digital marketing campaigns. The company also plans to build its US team and further scale up manufacturing to meet demand.

Mark continues: “To date we’ve built the company through a combination of sales and equity investment from a group of visionary investors, including private individuals and a bio-medical fund.

However, our customers are always asking us if they can invest in what we’re doing and as equity crowdfunding has become established, we’ve been watching closely.

“As a brand with a loyal and vocal user and fan base, we’re excited by the potential to reward them further and to continue to scale the business with individuals and funds who are equally excited by our mission to improve the nation’s back health and ultimately to share our success.

“If we meet our Crowdcube target, the investment will be spent wisely on innovation and marketing so we can continue to educate and improve back care.”

Other strategic partners that make up Handsome include spinal care experts – The London Spine

Clinic; industrial product designers – Seymourpowell; brand experts – Ziggurat; and life science investors – Spark Impact.

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