BRIGHOUSE-born businesswoman Fiona Wood has scooped a major accolade for her cool idea for natural skincare for kids.
Fiona, who went to Rastrick High School, started the Naturally Cool Kids range in 2010 after years of being frustrated by the lack of affordable, natural sun protection products for young children.
Her bright idea caught the eye of the judging panel - which included Duncan Bannatyne from TV’s Dragon’s Den, newspaper enterprise editor James Hurley and businesswoman Julie Meyer - in the Startup Awards 2012. Fiona was one of 12 entrepreneurs from across the country to be presented with an award at a ceremony at the Kensington Roof Gardens in London.
She said: “Winning the Mumpreneur Startups Business of the Year was amazing and has given me a huge confidence boost to move forward in 2013. It is great that the judges believe Naturally Cool Kids will become a household name in the future.
“I have also secured a deal with Boots which means that my products will be going into their stores in June.”
Fiona was prompted to start her own range of natural products after finding that many of those available in high street stores contained chemicals.
“Like many parants I had always used natural products on my children’s skin but when summer came there were few alternatives to using chemical-laden sunscreens,” she said.
“And in winter I had to compromise my sons’ natural skincare for cold protection cream using petroleum and other additives. My son Finlay suffered from chest and ear infections when he was younger and I was worried about the effect on him of products made with chemicals.
“I started to think about how I could use my experience to create a children’s skincare range for parents who were looking for a more natural, greener way to protect their children’s skin and health.”
Fiona, whose sons Rhys and Finlay are now aged 17 and six, got her big break when mums voted for Naturally Cool Kids to win the Barclays Take One Small Step new business idea competition. She developed six products, which were launched at the Harrogate Nursery Fair in 2011, and has been delighted by the response.
“We use UK manufacturers and a lot of careful thought has gone into the packaging design,” said Fiona, who now lives in Cleckheaton.
The awards ceremony was not the first time Fiona has met Duncan Bannatyne - last summer she overcame her fear of heights to take the plunge on a sponsored parachute jump in aid of the charity Pilgrim Bandits and was supported by the TV Dragon who was also taking part.
Fiona was presented with her award by entrepreneur Adrienne Lawler and her innovative idea won the praise of David Lester, founder of Startups.co.uk
He said: “As one in three start-up businesses don’t make it beyond the first year of trading, we are proud to recognise those who negotiate those early hurdles.
“Each year we unearth innovative new businesses representing the unique diversity the start-up community has to offer which show that, despite the recession, British innovation is still booming.
“Naturally Cool Kids exemplified this and impressed the judges.”