Sales rise at vegan skincare brand Clockface Beauty

A mother and daughter team who set up a waterless, vegan and organic skincare brand are seeing growth in sales as consumers take more interest in skincare during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Karen Horsley (left) and Sarah Thomas, founders of Clockface Beauty, near York.Karen Horsley (left) and Sarah Thomas, founders of Clockface Beauty, near York.
Karen Horsley (left) and Sarah Thomas, founders of Clockface Beauty, near York.

Karen Horsley, a former biomedical scientist, and her daughter, Sarah Thomas, a former accountant, from Rufforth, near York, set up Clockface Beauty in 2018.

The products are all designed by the duo and are manufactured in Wetherby, with Mrs Horsley overseeing production.

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Their signature product is a face serum Mrs Horsley invented for her own skin and made for her daughter when she experienced various skin issues during her first pregnancy.

Now they have a range of over 25 products for women, men, and some that can be used on both.

The pair made the difficult decision in March, when the national lockdown came, to pause the business for eight weeks as Mrs Thomas’s young son was shielding with a respiratory immunity condition.

“It didn’t feel safe for us at that point. Thankfully he’s doing significantly better so he doesn’t have to shield any more than anyone else,” she said.

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“But at the time it felt like a huge decision because you don’t know whether people are going to be waiting on the other side. It felt like a big risk but it’s been amazing and people have been so supportive. We had emails from people asking when we’d be back because our products are the only thing that work with their skin.”

When the business restarted on June 1, the company had its highest ever sales day and since then, sales have continued to grow.

“Because we’re primarily online and people are definitely taking more of an interest in their skin and wellbeing, it’s been a really good few months for us,” said Mrs Thomas

However, the pair had to change parts of the business model to work within the current restrictions.

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On August 1 they launched a new skin clinic as a way of engaging with customers. Customers send videos to them and ask what products they would recommend. There’s also a quiz, which will recommend products for a person’s skin type.

“Normally we’d see people at events and we’d go to trade fairs so we needed to think about how customers would still get that personal experience when it was through the website,” said Mrs Thomas.

“It’s a lovely thing that came out of a situation where we were trying to work out how to engage with people in a different way.”

Turnover is expected to be about £75,000 this year, slightly below what it would have been if the business hadn’t paused.

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Looking ahead, the company is keen to list with a national retailer within the next 12 months and also grow its direct-to-consumer customers. New product launches are planned, including a hair oil.

With events for the next 12 months looking uncertain, social media is playing a huge role in getting their message out to new customers.

Mrs Thomas said: “That’s our main source of marketing now because other routes to learn about new products aren’t there at the moment.”

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