Fake tan favourite Vita Liberata wins gong once more
Celebrity favourite fake tan product Vita Liberata from Co Antrim has won the Queen's Award for International Trade - for the second year in a row.
The Ballyclare-based business, which was founded by Alyson Hogg in 2003, manufactures and distributes non-toxic, organic self-tan and spray tan.
It has been singled out in the Queen's Awards for Enterprise for the second year in a row in recognition of its overseas sales prowess.
Chief executive and founder Alyson Hogg said winning the award twice in a row was an "incredible accolade" which no other beauty brand had achieved.
"It's a recognition of the dynamic, creative, tenacious and incredibly smart team of (mostly) young women that work with us across 24 time zones and as many countries," she said.
"It is even more remarkable when you consider that operations are run from the company's global headquarters in the small market town of Ballyclare in Northern Ireland."
Its cititation for the accolade reads: "The company sells to more than 1,200 spas and salons in the UK and Ireland, and it has a growing presence in key retail chains, such as Boots, where products are placed in 1000 stores."
Overseas, its products are sold in more than 1,000 stores across 25 countries - and on shopping channel QVC in the US.
Around three years ago, Dublin private investment firm Broadlake Capital paid a seven-figure sum for a 47% stake in Vita Liberata.
Meanwhile, Nicobrand, which is based in Coleraine, Co Londonderry, which makes nicotine products for e-cigarettes, also won a Queen's Award for International Trade this year.