Alongside a face mask or covering, a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitiser is a crucial component in our post-lockdown carry essentials whenever we leave the house.
Demand has gone through the roof in recent months for sanitising products that can be carried for use when washing your hands with soap and water isn’t possible. At the start of lockdown the supermarket and chemist shelves were stripped bare of these products and rations had to be introduced. In response to the shortage, there were several high-profile stories of hand-crafted gin distilleries pivoting their production lines to produce large-batch hand sanitiser – dubbed ‘Hand Gin-itizer’ – to aid in the battle against Covid-19. They weren’t the only ones. Manchester-based household and attire care brand Attirecare also quickly – albeit, more quietly – mobilised into action as well.
The concept for Attirecare was born when founders Seb and Abi were living in Amsterdam, working for Calvin Klein on their Denim wash Design team as part of Seb’s degree. The pair lived in the bohemian neighbourhood of De Pijp and would spend hours exploring the quaint and quirky streets of de 9 Straatjes, and soaking up inspiration from the myriad of trendy boutiques. They noticed, though, that something was missing when it came to beautiful looking, scented and packaged care products. This was where the real development and inspiration for the brand started. With the market seemingly overwhelmed with cosmetics and perfumery brands, Seb and Abi wanted to evoke in consumers the same feelings and emotions these brands give, only for home and attire care products.
Returning home to Manchester, they set about researching and sourcing the best possible ingredients and production processes to ensure their products would be as sustainable as possible. Operating as short and local supply chain as possible was incredibly important to the duo, and as they continue to grow their product range and sales they are keen to base as much of their production in Manchester as possible.
With the current pandemic thrusting personal and household hygiene to the forefront of consumer consideration, Attirecare saw their online sales almost triple in the first month of the lockdown, as products such as the garment spray, surface spray and upholstery spray flew off the virtual shelves. With the immediate consumer clamour for hand sanitising gels as the first wave of the pandemic struck, Attirecare realised they were in a position to support the sudden supply gap in the market. “We’d never considered this type of product before, as we don’t generally venture into the more cosmetic side of things,” Seb explained. “However, we do consider ourselves to be a care brand of all types, and decided that developing a hand sanitising mist was the most caring product we could provide our customers just now, and we had all the amenities and capabilities to do so.”
I think all in all the development process for our Sanitising Hand Mist from concept to the end product was around 3 weeks. It was a busy time!
The product development timeline was extremely quick. “I think all in all the development process from concept to the end product was around 3 weeks,” Seb recalls, “and the first half of this was taken up by applying for the certification to be able to produce this type of product and sourcing the best possible raw materials. It was a very busy time!”
Seb believes the current pandemic will have a huge impact on consumer attitudes towards personal and household hygiene going forward, as well as on our habits when travelling, and out and about in our everyday lives. “I can’t wait for when we can all embrace each other again, but I definitely think it’s necessary to take some of what we’ve learnt from this going forward, and that you can’t be too cautious when it comes to hygiene.”
So what should consumers be looking for when shopping for these types of products? Anything with certification, says Seb, as it means it’s traceable and you can do your research on the raw materials and ingredients used, and learn about their benefits and how effective they are. Attirecare’s Sanitising Hand Mist is certified by the World Health Organisation.
They’ve just started working with Deadstock General Store in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. “As well as carrying the full Attirecare product range,” says Seb, “Liam (the store owner) has installed optics as a refill station for customers to come back and refill their products at a discounted price – promoting circularity and recycling, which we love!”
⊗ Deadstock general store, 46 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HN. View map
All photography © Keith Kase Lampao, used with permission.