Happy First Birthday SKIRR!
It is our birthday and we are officially one year old!
Wow, what a year it has been, not quite what we anticipated and filled with the unexpected! But it has also been a year where we met our first customers, many of whom became our friends and a couple became our first ambassadors giving us an incredible amount of support. The sporting world was turned upside down with gyms closed and events cancelled but we saw some fantastic challenges taken up and records being set and. All around Fastest Known Time records fell and athletes of all abilities were pushing themselves to achieve their goals.
At Skirr it has been both challenging and filled with a sense of accomplishment. We wouldn’t have chosen to launch at the start of a pandemic, but we have managed to achieve more than we thought was possible under such circumstances. We got our brand out to the world through social media and people have loved it. The best thing was you, our totally amazing customers, who found us and stuck with us and helped us not only get through our first year but made it a great year too! Along the way we have partnered up with some great people who share similar values and supported each other to keep moving forward.
As one of our valued customers I really cannot thank you enough. As a newly launched brand we have qualified for no government assistance (up to now you need to have started your business six months prior to Covid-10 hitting to receive aid) and yet have been badly hit by the cancellation of sporting events, which we had paid to be at and had also ordered stock for. As a new entrepreneur it was a pretty daunting realisation that we were going to have to try and shift all our stock through the website rather than going to sporting events as we had planned. I get the feeling that we are just about through the worst of it and that sporting events will get up and running again soon. We have decided not to book any events to sell at this year as we cannot afford the costs should we be hit in a similar way to this year. Instead we are focusing on moving forward to launch new products and consolidating our brand position through collaborations and our online presence.
Our Values & Mission & Vision
When we launched Skirr we had strong values that underpinned the brand. These were:
- Effectiveness – of our products
- Natural & organic – our ingredients
- Adventure and endurance – why we love our sport
- Love - for Scotland
- Sustainability - in all aspects of our business
We have now added a new one, collaboration, and you will see in this blog how we are working with other companies to trial innovative new packaging and supporting organisations who are leading work on rewilding and eco system restoration.
- Collaboration – to work with others to be innovative
These were at the forefront when designing our mission:
- We will look after your skin so you can enjoy your sport
- We will seek to protect and preserve the natural resources in our world
- We will encourage participation in adventure and endurance sport
- We aim to preserve and support the rewilding of our natural outdoor playground in Scotland
- We share with you our love for endurance and adventure sports.
This gave us our vision which is:
“Skirr is the sustainable skincare brand for eco conscious adventure and endurance athletes who are looking for skincare to address sport specific problems and protect their natural playground.”
If you haven’t come across us before or if you don’t know much about us, you might wonder what the word ‘Skirr’ has to do with anything? Meaning to glide or move faster, Skirr, is an old scots word and is the perfect name for our brand. We launched with our hero product, the anti-chafing Sport Body Balm which aims to help your skin glide and avoid chafing while letting you go as fast as you want to. Hence why the gliding and moving faster worked just described what it does for you!
Skirr is made in Scotland and we ensure we test our products in some of the toughest conditions in the Highlands & Islands in winter and summer. Being based on the West Coast of Scotland, amidst the best of natures outdoor playground, there are plenty of mountains and coastline to try it out in to make sure that we deliver a highly effective product at the same time as having a lot of fun.
In our first blog a year ago we talked a lot about sustainability and what it means to us, “Why should you care about sustainability when you buy a skin care product?”. For Christmas we also wrote a special blog, “How can I have an Eco-friendly Christmas? Your Guide to the Athlete’s Sustainable Christmas”. Even if it is no longer Christmas it is a great guide to sustainable sourcing of presents any time of year! Sustainability is at our core, from how we source our ingredients, to how we package them and transport them. Our first product, the anti-chafing Sport Body Balm is made with natural and organic ingredients, packaged in a recycled cardboard tube and delivered to you via bike and the Royal Mail to make best use of resources.
It has been great hearing feedback from so many of our happy customers this year who have used our anti-chafing Sport Body Balm. From swimmers, cyclists and runners we have heard back from a lot of you and every single message is treasured by us. Here are a few of the messages we received.
“I wanted to let you know I am still using your product (for wild swimming) and it is fab.” Niki
“I’ve been using the Sport Body Balm over the last few days and really like it. I did a 3 hour intense training session (cycling) on Sunday and 2 hours on the turbo today and can certainly vouch for its effectiveness. I still feel fresh afterwards with no sore spots.” Simon
“I have been using Skirr Skin sport body balm for the last 2 months and it really works! I have used it during a variety of activities from 100 mile + bike rides, long runs, open water swims to hiking and it never disappoints.” Craig
“Lovely and easy to use, usual chafing areas intact and my feet survived a 24 hour ultra unshredded.” Lisa
“I find it completely eliminates the chafing I get under my running-bra strap, and on my back where ill-fitting or over-filled running vests rub or bounce. It is a great product that I would recommend to anyone who is running a long way on the trails or in the mountains.” Keri
Partnerships & Awards
Throughout the year we have been proud to partner up with The Planet Earth Games who are aiming to promote health and sustainable living, so very similar values to ourselves. We joined them for the Summer Games which was super fun throughout August and we have just finished the Winter Games which ran in February. Look them up and give them a follow for later in the year when they will be back again. You get a new challenge every day and prizes and medals to be won!
We have also worked with Sustained Sports who are a new venture aiming to offer the very best in sustainable sportswear. They have some great brands and are seeking to support small businesses who have sustainable practices at heart.
At the end of 2020 we were delighted to win a coveted VIBES Award from the Scottish Environment Business Annual Award Scheme, which aims to encourage the efficient use of resources, enhance the competitiveness of businesses, improve environmental performance and support the wider goals of sustainable development including social benefits through community and staff involvement. It was great to get recognition of the work we have done so far and a fab way to end 2020.
New Products Coming Soon...
Looking ahead to our second year in business we have exciting things planned. We have just managed to place an order for packaging for our new Foot Balm for Athletes using a compostable wood fibre packaging that we are very pleased to have been able to get our hands on. We will be one of the first small businesses using this type of jar.
We also have exciting news on our Ladies Cycling Cream we are developing. It has been out to testing and here are some of the comments we got back:
“I’ve been on the turbo trainer and it is really effective at preventing chafing. Happy with the texture and smell of it too. It’s a good product and I’d recommend it.” Shona
“It really does help for chafing especially using the turbo. I used to get quite bad rubbing but since using the cream I don’t have that problem anymore. It is really easy to apply and use.” Charlotte
“I used the cream and got on really well with it. No chafing. It is a lighter cream and feels light and smooth which is not a bad thing as many creams are heavy and uncomfortable when you apply them.” Catriona
We are working with a sustainable packaging whose aim is to make packaging disappear by using seaweed and other plant material which is highly biodegradable. A small scale trial we have done looks promising for our Ladies Cycling Cream and we have a grant application submitted to help take this forward to the point of commercial testing. It has taken a while to get there with Covid-19 related delays but we are super delighted at the initial results and the potential to do something really creative and sustainable.
Ecological Restoration Through Rewilding
As a business we are serious about helping tackle climate change and support ecological restoration as one of the key tools to achieve this, check out our blog, “Ten tips on how you can have a positive impact on climate change as an outdoor sports athlete” and our recent blog on rewilding, “Rewilding: Why Is It Important?”. We are proud to have been able to make a small donation, in our first year, to Scotland The Big Picture which is the charity leading the way with rewilding work in Scotland. It is inspiring to see how much has changed in some Scottish glens like Glen Feshie and on the Corrour and Rotheimurchus Estates in the Cairngorms, where the Caledonian Pine Forest is starting to regrow. Moves are afoot to roll out an ambitious plan to repopulate the Highlands with wildcats and a longer term aim to reintroduce the iconic lynx which used to be our largest native cat species.
Adventures in Argyll
Throughout the year we have tried to keep you motivated to get out and enjoy your sport in the great outdoors by sharing our adventures. We wrote a blog to inspire you about the possibilities for adventure holidays in Argyll where we are based, “10 ideas for active adventure holidays in Argyll” as well as inspiration to get you cycling, “5 tips for getting started road cycling and how to improve your confidence” and “6 tips for climbing hills faster on your road bike and how they will help your performance”. And just last month one on wild swimming, “Wild Swimming In Winter: Why It Is Good For You & How To Cope With The Cold” although we are looking forward to the water warming up soon!
As we move into our second year we aim to keep pushing the boundaries on sustainability in the sport skincare market. Keep watch on our social media on Instagram and Facebook where we will be running competitions to help name our new products. Let us know if there are any blog topics you would like us to write about. We will be having a focus on running, something the Scottish mountains and maybe one on bike packing and another water sport focused one as well as others we haven’t got round to thinking about yet!
Some of you might not know but Moira (our founder) is a qualified nutritional therapist specialising in optimising energy, particularly after burnout or overtraining, and this year she has been completing an additional specialist qualification in functional sports nutrition. So if you liked our nutrition tips on social media over the past year then you get ready for more this year too. We got the impression that the Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies made with collagen and beetroot were quite a hit!
As I write I am looking out of the window across Loch Etive and towards Ben Cruachan which still has a cap of snow despite the gorgeous spring sunshine. The sun, the sea and the mountains are waiting out there for us all and I am looking forward to an action packed year of adventures and sharing them with you all. I'm heading out this afternoon for a spot of Paddle Boarding on what looks like a calm and serene blue sea. We love hearing from you about your adventures too so please keep telling us your stories. Every one is an inspiration!
If you would like to purchase one of our anti-chafing Sport Body Balms and find out what all the fuss is about, then click here