Home Business Awards & Achievements Tancream finds the formula for export success

Tancream finds the formula for export success

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Tancream's Katy Foxcroft and Gillian Robson

An Easingwold-based manufacturer of the world’s first skin cream to combine SPF50 and ultra UVA sun protection with self-tanning agents has boosted its turnover by a third after securing its first export distribution deals.

Tancream, which began trading in 2017, has landed a deal with healthcare and pharmaceutical distributor Pharmed, which operates in the Republic of Ireland, and a separate distributor operating in Finland and Estonia.

The deal with Tancream’s new Finnish and Estonian partner came after the business exhibited at the 2018 Cosmoprof Worldwide cosmetics trade show in Bologna, with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT). The business is also currently in discussions with a major international catalogue retailer to list its products in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain after meeting them at the show.

The idea for Tancream came about after the company’s co-founder, Gillian Robson, was diagnosed with skin cancer and decided to create a product that would allow her to achieve a tanned look but without the associated skin damage.


After identifying a gap in the market for a single product that combined the UV protection of sun cream with self-tanning, moisturising and anti-aging properties, Gillian and her business partner Katy Foxcroft spent three years working with experts to develop Tancream’s unique formulation.

Tancream has already sold its products to customers in markets as far afield as the United States and Australia through its website and has been working with digital specialists at DIT to learn how to improve its search rankings to help increase its online export sales.

Now set on further international growth, the business is also looking at opportunities to sell its products through a television shopping channel in Germany. It is also in discussions with a potential new distribution partner to supply salons in Dubai and customers in South Africa.

According to market research company Acumen Research and Consulting, the international skincare market is predicted to be worth $184bn (£140.6bn) by 2026.*

Gillian Robson, co-founder and CEO of Tancream, said: “Many people want to look like they have a tan, but are concerned about the long-term skin damage that the sun’s rays can cause. Tancream means they can protect their skin from harsh UVA and UVB rays while still gaining and maintaining a healthy glow.”

Katy Foxcroft, co-founder and director of Tancream, added: “As people around the world are becoming increasingly aware of the potential for sun damage no matter what the weather, exporting has grown on our radar. Thanks to DIT’s support we have secured a new deal overseas and have further opportunities on the horizon. Our DIT International Trade Adviser (ITA) has been a brilliant source of support with any questions or issues we’ve had.

“Whether you’re a fellow business just starting out with a new product – or have been trading for a long time – I’d encourage you to make sure exporting is in your next business plan. There is a huge amount of support available from DIT, from networking events to market research to the one-to-one support of an ITA. If we’ve done it, there’s no reason you can’t too.”

Mark Robson, Head of Region – Yorkshire and the Humber, Department for International Trade said: “Tancream has developed a product that fits a global market niche and is already reaping the rewards.

“Exporting can help businesses like Tancream achieve greater profitability and resilience, but the process can also have its challenges, which is why we’re on hand to offer our support and guidance.

“As well has helping businesses like Tancream attend key overseas trade shows like Cosmoprof Worldwide, we have a network of Yorkshire-based International Trade Advisers who can offer advice on hurdles such as language, logistics and tax. They can also assist with identifying potential overseas partners and buyers.

“The latest HMRC statistics show that Yorkshire and the Humber’s goods exports totalled £18.1bn in 2018, up 7.8% on the year before. Businesses looking to benefit from exporting should get in touch with our team today.”

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