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Tancream moves into the Catalyst after Dragon’s Den triumph

A pair of North East entrepreneurs have decided to make the Catalyst on Newcastle Helix their home following a successful appearance on Dragon’s Den.

Gillian Robson and Katy Foxcroft, whose company Tancream brings together sun protection and self-tan in one product, have signed up to take virtual office space at the Catalyst, which is also home to the National Innovation Centre for Ageing and the National Innovation Centre for Data.

The North Yorkshire businesswomen – who were inspired to set up Tancream following Gillian’s battle with skin cancer – are now tapping into the Catalyst’s close ties with Newcastle University.

Tancream has recently secured the support of PhD student Jess Moor, who will work on a research project over the next year, helping Tancream build powerful evidence of its skin enhancing properties.

Katy, co-founder of Tancream, which was set up in 2017, said: “We created Tancream with the support of one of the most renowned and respected skincare professionals, Dr Jack Ferguson, who has developed a global reputation for his work in sun protection and anti-ageing.

“We wanted to deliver a product that would give people the healthy glow of a natural-looking tan, while also providing protection against the damaging effects of the sun and with skin enhancing properties, in one product.

“Bringing those qualities together in one cream is not easy, so it’s taken hard work and total determination to get us to where we are today, with a product that does not compromise on anything – from the way it feels on the skin, to the colour, and the positive impact it has on the condition of the skin when it’s used.

“It’s everything your skin needs in one product and with the support of Jess and the move to the Catalyst, which will help us access more assistance, we can get more in-depth evidence of its unique benefits.”

Tancream’s formula combines SPF50 and Ultra Five Star High Sun Protection with a gradual developing tan.

The cream contains a colour corrector to even out skin tone, as well as being a non-streaking, fragrance and paraben free tan, with a tint to help with even application.

The business has ambitions to grow its presence in the UK market, as well as the US and South Africa, where it holds patents.

Australia and New Zealand are also on the hit-list of places where skin cancer is on the rise, and the duo – who were successful in gaining £75,000 investment from Dragon’s Den stars Sara Davies, and Touker Suleyman in 2019 – are keen to establish a toe-hold in those markets.

Co-founder Gillian added: “There’s nothing else like Tancream on the market, and I am determined that we use our focus on protection to educate people about the risk of sun exposure.

“The more people who understand this, the more people we prevent from needlessly damaging and ageing their skin when they can use tan from a bottle to achieve the same look.

“I am so passionate about the difference Tancream can make. Having a tan was – and still is – something I want, but having been through cancer, I know that the safest tan is a fake tan, and especially one that protects your skin from the sun.

“I’m really proud to have developed a product with Katy, and Dr Ferguson and Jo Warren, that provides that.”

Ryan Blake, assistant centre manager at the Catalyst, said: “We’re delighted to have Tancream join our growing community of exciting businesses at the Catalyst.

“Gillian and Katy have an incredible story. It is a business borne out of adversity, but one that they are determined to see succeed, and I have no doubt that – with the added connections they will gain through our collaborative community, they will continue to go from strength to strength.”