A BRITISH couple who set up a business making hand sanitiser just 12 weeks ago are set to make £30 million.
Husband and wife team Andrew, 47, and Rachel Montague, 48, founded their company in March just as the pandemic hit and most of the world went into lockdown.
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The couple, who own a property investment and development company, have been developing commercial and affordable housing for the last 15 years.
But when the owner of Deeside Distillery got in touch with the pair in March to say he was stopping gin production and switching to sanitiser to help with the crisis, they jumped on board.
The couple, who have four children – Sam, 21, Sascha, 17, Layla, 15 and Elianna, 12 – decided to stop work on their developments and lend a hand.
Their business, ClearWater Hygiene, produces high grade hand sanitiser aimed at frontline workers and the wider public.
The pair said they wanted to ensure sanitiser could be sold at an ‘ethical price’, after seeing people selling 500ml bottles for £30.
Andrew explained: “An extended family member, Mike Bain who owns Deeside Distillery, got in contact with us in early March at the start of lockdown and explained that he had had to temporarily down-tools on gin production to assist with the crisis and demand in order to manufacture hand sanitiser for local NHS.
“We all agreed there was abuse in the market with individuals selling 500ml bottles for over £30 a unit, taking advantage of the most vulnerable, key workers and frontline NHS staff.
“We decided to lay down our own developer hats and tools and pick up the opportunity to get involved.
“We wanted to make an immediate impact in the market to ensure this valuable product was brought right down to an ethically priced rate, whilst remaining commercially viable.
“We had huge challenges however, because as a country we rely heavily on China for production and at the time, plastic bottles were very challenging to get hold of.
We wanted to make an immediate impact in the market to ensure this valuable product was brought right down to an ethically priced rate.
“We ended up engaging with a plastics company that specialised in bottles and packaging solutions, who in turn mobilised quickly to produce us a 500ml recyclable bottle.
“We then found a fulfilment house that could scale up production levels quickly on a large scale – and within 72 hours of the conversation with Mike, we launched Clearwater Hygiene and were able to begin production of our units.
“It all happened very quickly and was fantastic seeing British companies responding together so quickly.”
The couple believe their company has been granted the contracts over others as the product is completely British – from manufacturing to bottling.
Andrew added: “Most importantly our product is made in the UK “manufactured in Scotland, bottled in England and made in Britain- this has resonated enormously with our client base who feel strongly about buying quality British Brands over imports.
“We find it absurd that even in this crisis our most basic form of PPE is coming from China and Turkey.
“Now more than ever it’s important for British companies to buy, where possible, a British Made product.
“We now have long term managed contracts in place where we ensure 12 and 24 month deliveries agreements with hotels, property management firms, and retailers.
“We provide a range of motion sensor dispensers in addition to sanitiser.”
Next week the business will launch it’s affordable Smart Stand – designed to be located at entrances to shops, bars and restaurants.
The ‘Smart Stand’ will include a motion sensor dispenser and an infrared thermometer with an LCD display, that can monitor temperatures on entry and exit.
Andrew added: “Were working closely with Hotel Groups and large commercial landlords to ensure maximum protection across common areas and access locations.”
The company has secured major contracts with corporate customers including the Post Office, JD plc, O2 Retail, BP, and Aldi – some of which are multi-year agreements, with an expected total contract value of £30m.
The firm has made more than £3m in actual revenue since March and has donated products to NHS charities.
It now employs 12 full-time staff and a further eight contracted workers at its headquarters in Leith, Edinburgh, and in other parts of Scotland and the UK.