Nail polish manufacturer SMC Cosmetics, established with support from The Highland Council’s Growth Fund and, subsequently by Business Loan Scotland, has successfully secured new contracts with a number of UK and International Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to help fuel its growth and expansion.
Founder of Ross-shire based SMC Cosmetics UK Andrew Pearson originally approached Highland Opportunity (Investments) Ltd Investment Manager during early 2016 for advice and support in establishing the nail polish manufacturing business in Invergordon. This resulted in a series of discussions and support, not always financial!
Andrew was brought up in the Highlands, after moving to Scotland in the early 90’s, where his father set up a successful business. Andrew was a Chartered Engineer working in Glasgow but had a desire to move back to the area to raise his young family. Using lasting industry relationships, technical expertise and the opportunity to start a new family business, with his father, who had substantive experience in the nail polish manufacturing industry, provided a perfect opportunity.
Andrew started looking for funding with support from The Highland Council team, but was either not accepted as a start-up operation due to a high capital cost base or offered support at penal interest rates. Following discussions with the Investment Manager of Highland Opportunity (Investments) Ltd a solution incorporating major support from the Highland Growth Fund and asset finance as well as from the proposers helped support first stage launch. Subsequently additional support from Business Loan Scotland (a second funding stream available via The Highland Council) along with others was established to improve efficiency and productivity of the business and help target the OEM markets quality expectations.
The co-ordinated Support from the Investment, Planning, Environmental and Trading Standards teams at the Council helped the company establish efficient and effective launch processes to meet with business needs.
Andrew said: “SMC was classed as a high-risk project by traditional lending sources however Highland Council helped us throughout by critically evaluating and supporting our plans and helping us by simplifying the process. It was frustrating with attitudes of many lenders only alleviated by Highland Council’s team support and belief in what we are seeking to achieve. Without their commitment it may have been difficult to achieve our success.
SMC has already taken on eight employees and is looking towards future growth in the market which will increase employment in the Highlands. We are looking to rival the seven or eight main manufacturers in the world with contracts won due to our commitment, flexibility and minimal lead times. Our approach to encourage and develop a long-term relationship with our customers is seen as a positive attribute.”
Councillor Helen Carmichael, Provost of The Highland Council and Chair of Highland Opportunity (Investments) Ltd commented;
“The Highland Council is pleased with the success to date of SMC and that our support both of finance but also in advice and guidance has helped cement the company within the community and support their growth plans. The Council looks forward to continuing to work with SMC over many years to come.”
The Highland Council Investment Fund is keen to support businesses and communities throughout the Highlands with the Investment Manager always remaining impartial, seeking to ensure that the right package to support a development project is established. First port of call is normally the Business Gateway service in Highlands which has a team located throughout the region. Information is contained on the main gateway portal of an organisation’s local contact – www.bgateway.com/highland