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Bradford beauty products firm breaks into South African market

Cougar delivers first consignment after EEN’s successful search for experienced distributor opens the door.

Written by Daniel Houchen on 1 August 2017

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Just what I need. Horizontal portrait of a young cheerful woman choosing products in an aisle at the drugstore.

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Distribution partner found

A Yorkshire-based manufacturer of cosmetic and skin care products has sent its first consignment to South Africa after Enterprise Europe Network in the North of England found the company an experienced distributor.


Cougar Products Ltd knew there was strong interest in its unusual product range, which includes anti-ageing skincare serums with ingredients such as viper venom, bee venom, snail slime, wild caviar and volcanic ash.


The company has five product ranges and employs some 20 people at its Bradford HQ.


Market knowledge and experience


The company had identified South Africa as a target market and had a customer wanting to buy products. But Cougar Products did not want to take the risk of trading without a distributor who had the requisite market knowledge and experience of working with large retailers or end-users.


EEN adviser Daniel Houchen found a suitably qualified distributor in the North East through the EEN partnering opportunities database.


The first £5,000 consignment of skin care and mineral-based make-up products and other cosmetics in general was despatched in mid-July.


Intellectual property cover


Cougar’s products were already available in Europe and the US but the company had been keen to explore other world markets, with a commitment to ‘cruelty free’ formulas that are never tested on animals.


The company’s relationship with EEN began two years ago with a business review with CEO Paula Dunne, which revealed that its intellectual property cover needed to be updated.


After EEN referred her to the Business & IP Centre at Leeds library, she engaged an IP lawyer who changed the patent categories for all relevant products to worldwide cover. That paved the way for further, more confident expansion into overseas markets.

Working with EEN and Daniel has been a very good process. Yes, we know our market, but to have contacts in place who share that mutual interest makes things so much easier.

Jordan Graveson, Cougar Products

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