Belfast Telegraph

Kelly helps firm mark its success at a capital celebration

BY DAVID ELLIOTT

ONE of Northern Ireland's most successful beauty product manufacturers has celebrated its 10th year in business just 16 months after a cash injection from a private equity company.

Vita Liberata, which makes tanning and skincare products, followed up last week's party on the rooftop of the Merchant Hotel in Belfast with a celebration in London where a new campaign was launched by model Kelly Brook.

The company was founded by former UTV star AlysonH ogg and initially focused on a "scientifically-based" tanning products which have been endorsed by celebrities and TV shows alike.

One of Vita Liberata's unique selling points is that it is the only tanning brand that contains solely non-toxic ingredients -- no alcohol, perfume or parabens -- on the market.

It supplies the likes of Boots, Debenhams and House of Fraser and exports to Europe, South Africa and Australia as well as exporting to 350 stores of beauty chain Sephora in the US.

But the company remains loyal to its roots and still manufactures its products in Ballyclare, despite selling a 47% stake in the business to Irish private equity business Broadlake Capital last year, a move which has helped it break into the US market.

"The US, in particular, is such a large market, that you need the right support," Ms Hogg said at the time. And the founder said yesterday the company has doubled its sales across the UK and Ireland for the last four years and is said to expect sales of £50m within five years, something which doesn't come without a large dose of hard work.

"In business you can't take anything for granted -- you have to interrogate, investigate and dig deep but most of all you have to be totally flexible, move with the trends and be completely in charge of what you're doing and where you're going," she said. "You must get ahead of the game."

This week's birthday celebration's also marked the official launch of Vita Liberata's Liberation Day Campaign Kelly Brook.

The campaign seeks to discover if women really are as free as they think they are, to think big for themselves.

Kelly said of her involvement: "I am so excited to be part of the Liberation Day campaign; it is a great initiative that allows women to really think about what liberates them outside of their day to day lives."

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