01/09/2016

Botanica International Celebrates Award Success

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It is not every company that would happily describe it's success as "a series of accidents", however within minutes of speaking to Sean Cooney, the man behind Botanica International, it becomes obvious that this is a happy and unique firm.

From beginnings that saw Sean at his kitchen table with a food processor, Botanica started on a steady road, led by the effectiveness of its homemade product and has picked up pace ever since. From the man with the bad athletes foot (more on him in a second) right up to the British Royal Family.

"I put this together for somebody who had really bad athletes foot", Sean said en route to a trade show. "I worked with a chemist and he said to me one day, 'what will we do with him' and I said, a kind of off-the-cuff remark, 'let's go back to nature', and then to my horror didn't they take me up on it...
"I put a concoction together and hit the jackpot!"

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From here, a kitchen table and food mixer, Botanica has just opened new offices, new clean rooms and new production facilities. As Sean simply said, "everything is starting to come together..." "We've taken a giant leap forward this year. We've got a new distributor for Europe, Norbrook, we've signed new contracts for Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland, which are test markets for us, and they've just placed their first order. It was a small order but quite significant for us."

Offering a range of natural skincare products from both humans and horses, the company is fielding interest in its products in Chile, Brazil and Ecuador, which Sean says he has no doubt is thanks to the Olympics.

"Our products were used in the Beijing, London and Rio Olympics by veterinary surgeons because they love my products. Not only do they work but I put everything through the lab in Paris."

This has been one of the keys to Botanica's success and the firm can back up its claims with science. Its products are used on horses at international events, as it wanted to prove not just their effectiveness but safety, so all Botanica products have been tested by LCH Laboratories in France. Sean continued: "Just to prove they are totally safe, and test negative for any prohibitive substance. Me telling you is one thing, but having paperwork to back it up... We back it up from one of the finest laboratories in the world.

"We're making progress but its the product. I have a super product and I have never deviated, I've stayed on the straight and narrow, I didn't try to take short cuts, I didn't try to twist or turn in anyway. I've just stuck with it.

"Now most products are 90% marketing and 10% product, we are the opposite, we are 90% product and 10% marketing. Because we've come from nowhere, it was only a few years ago that we were on the kitchen table with a food mixer and it was a damn nuisance."

Among the company's biggest supporters is the Royal Family, with Royal staff known to wear Botanica jackets, t-shirts and hats, and Sean appreciates that is support "you can't buy".

"The queen is the most natural, down to earth woman you'd ever wish to meet in your life. She's 90 and a great grandmother and she'll still talk about her grandmother and if it ain't good enough for her grandmother, it ain't good enough for her. She is really flying. She's still riding horses at 90 - and she'll have her diary in her head for the next three months, she can tell you what's she's doing and all about it. She's totally switched on.

"What I love about her is that there is nothing Royal about them, they really go out of their way to be plain and ordinary. At the Royal Windsor show we have access to the royal mews and Philip was out there at seven in the morning, driving there horses and he's 94/95 now."

Sean can name any number of supporters from the Royal ranks, and boasts of an invite to the Queen's garden party.

It is easy to understand why, Sean's enthusiasm is infectious. He is an easy and impassioned talker, happy to give his time despite sitting in the passenger seat of a car travelling to yet another horse, a key factor in Botanica's success.

"That's how we've done it. We've done it by going out there and letting the product do its own talking. My stockists, they all tell me that they get 90+ repeat business and I'm out there at shows and if I'm introducing it to somebody for the first time I'll jokingly, but I'm kinda serious but in a light hearted way, tell them, 'once you use this, you'll not use anything else'."

Botanica has also recently scooped two prestigious International Life Sciences Awards.

The awards, by Global Health & Pharma, celebrate a unique and critical field and are devoted to a "captivating and fundamental industry the recognition it truly deserves".

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This year Botanica is the proud winner of Best for Herbal Skincare Products 2016 - Northern Ireland, and Most Innovative Human Care Solution: 125ml Herbal Cream.

Sean said: "We're delighted, we're honoured and we're very pleased that our hard work is paying off and that we're getting recognition. Our products are getting recognition after a long tough road..."

Mr Cooney and Botanica have come a long way from the kitchen table and don't appear to be stopping any time soon.


Find Botanica International online here and on Facebook, and of course at horse shows across the country.


(MH)

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