The pandemic has rapidly accelerated demand for clinically proven food supplements with a Surrey Research Park business, The Naked Pharmacy seeing online growth of over 400% since lockdown.
Already on a strong financial trajectory before the Coronavirus outbreak, the surge in sales coincided with a highly successful debut on QVC in February 2020 for its supplements Natruflex turmeric for joints and muscles and Saffrosun for stress management.
In 2016, Kevin Leivers, former Chief Pharmacist of global health and beauty brand Weleda, launched The Naked Pharmacy, Europe’s first 100% natural pharmacy. Following support and expertise from the University of Surrey, business incubator SetSquared Surrey and the team at Surrey Research Park (SRP), the fledgling company became a registered online pharmacy, formulating and manufacturing its own range of natural food supplements in the UK.
“Surrey Research Park and Malcolm Parry in particular, provided fantastic business support and guidance from the start. This was such a new and innovative approach to disrupt the traditional pharmacy industry and the belief from mentors and access to flexible business resources at SRP made a real difference,” Kevin Leivers, Founder and CEO, The Naked Pharmacy.
Rethinking the Pharmacy
The Naked Pharmacy connects customers to pharmacists, to offer natural health solutions based on their personal story. According to Kevin, the belief that food extracts are not powerful enough to resolve health issues is a myth. 50% of the top 100 prescribed drugs in the world were originally discovered from plants.
“Conventional medicine is essential for seriously ill patients, but it is not always the best and only option for people with less serious complaints. I learnt from experience that many of the natural supplements available didn’t contain the necessary amount of active ingredients, proven by research to be effective, so I decided to produce a range of supplements formulated, tested and manufactured to the same standards as a pharmaceutical product,” Kevin Leivers, Founder & CEO, The Naked Pharmacy.
Business Growth in Lockdown
“A significant amount of our recent growth has been driven by customer demand for advice, support and effective natural solutions for mental wellbeing. People are suffering from increased stress and anxiety during lockdown which is leading to problems with sleep, nervousness and mood. The Saffron supplement with Vitamin D and B12 has been extremely popular for maintaining nervous system health and balance during this time for both adults and children. The rewarding part of this work is the testimonials we receive from our customers who have improved their health using our remedies. Making people feel well again and providing them with independent pharmacist advice and support is our mission,” continues Kevin.
Why businesses choose Surrey Research Park
Kevin knew growing the business would be intense and wanted to be initially based at a business incubator with like-minded entrepreneurs. He also wanted to benefit from the close links between Surrey Research Park and the University of Surrey to gain access to academic research and business expertise. As a start-up, the priority was to minimise costs and have flexibility. Now being located on Surrey Research Park enables the company to expand without changing location.
Kevin concludes, “I recommend Surrey Research Park because of the value of the ecosystem with fellow tenants, from legal to tech experts. I really like how they take a flexible approach to tenancies which means we can move to larger premises quickly. They really want the businesses to do well and there are plenty of resources available to help us grow. The business also greatly benefits from our relationships and links with the scientific and research community at the University of Surrey.”
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