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£122k boost for Outer Hebrides skincare company

Published: 18/12/2020

An Isle of Lewis company, which specialises in luxury organic skincare products is being supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to develop a ground-breaking digital device to monitor skin health.

Seaweed product on rock with sea in background
ishga product

Hebridean Spa, which trades as ishga, has been awarded a £122,000 research and development grant for a 12-month project, which is expected to create two new jobs in Stornoway.

The work will be carried out in collaboration with East Kilbride based company, Cutitronics, who have developed the technology. The device will assess skin hydration, guide regimens and suggest products via an associated app. This will give customers access to a smart and tailored skincare plan, based on ishga products, that updates as their skin changes.

The R&D project forms an important part of the company’s three-year plan for capacity expansion and entering new markets. Crucially it will enable them to respond to the increased demand from consumers for contactless solutions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The business was founded in 2010 by Malcolm Macrae, Martin McLeod and Leon Trayling. Through Malcolm and Martin's other business, Hebridean Seaweed and with Leon’s experience in spa and wellness, demand for seaweed as a beauty product ingredient has increased.

Hebridean Spa makes luxury organic skincare products by combining seaweed with natural spring water, sea water and other certified natural ingredients, and specialise in anti-ageing face and body therapies. It supplies some of the UK’s most prestigious spas, including Glasgow’s Blythswood Square.

All ishga products are developed, manufactured and packaged in Stornoway, where the company has grown and currently employs 13 people.

ishga’s commercial director Leon Trayling, said: “Our customers demand a high performance product and continual product innovation. The social restrictions of 2020 has forced us to quickly change how we engage with our customers. This project is very timely as customers cannot visit the spa for a skin consultation like they used to. This smart skin monitoring system will be a first in the skincare industry and we are delighted that with the support from HIE we are able to partner with another Scottish SME to take the technology to the market with the ishga brand.”

Rachel Mackenzie, HIE’s area manager for Innse Gall, said: “It is fantastic to see ishga invest in R&D and working collaboratively to maintain business competitiveness and sustainability. This technology will allow users to monitor the skin in the same way that we track our steps, sleep and food intake. It’s crucial for companies to embrace innovation if they want to remain competitive in ever changing markets. We are delighted to support this project, which will create skilled jobs in the Outer Hebrides.”

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