Scots entrepreneur tapping into booming cannabidiol skincare market

An entrepreneur is eyeing significant expansion of her skincare range that harnesses cannabidiol (CBD), seeking to tap into a market expected to grow by $1.64 billion (£1.25bn) globally within four years.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 5:27 pm
Updated Monday, 5th October 2020, 8:34 pm
O' Neil says CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Picture: Gerardo Jaconelli.
O' Neil says CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Picture: Gerardo Jaconelli.

Emma O’Neil is the creator and managing director of Glasgow-based La Rue Verte, whose products, including serum, body balm and face mask, are made using what it says are safe, legal active ingredients from the cannabis sativa plant that stimulate the body’s natural endocannabinoid system – and do not include the psychotropic THC.

It comes as the CBD skincare market soars in popularity due to consumers increasingly seeking out natural and calming products.

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“CBD skincare has got all the great benefits you'd want from anti-ageing skincare, it's a natural anti-inflammatory, and it's an antioxidant as well,” she said. “It's become a little bit more mainstream now. People are understanding that CBD and new products are safe.”

The entrepreneur is also an art dealer, and sold a Peter Howson painting to start the skincare firm. Picture: Gerardo Jaconelli.

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Ms O’Neil cites the estimate that by 2024, 10 per cent of the global skincare market will in fact be CBD skincare. “It’s a massive, growing trend,” said the businesswoman, who is also an art dealer and sold a Peter Howson painting, Agony in the Garden, for £45,000 to set up La Rue Verte.

She said it was quite “emotional” to part with the artwork, “but it seemed like a very good trade-off in order to be able to [create] a new company that I was passionate about”.

La Rue Verte came into being after she had noticed the popularity of CBD in Canada, but it hadn’t yet gained any traction in the UK. She sought to fill the gap in the market, starting to look at skincare about 18 months ago, and working intensively on the science underpinning its offering.

The business, which boasts a team of six, made headway in the pharmacy market, now stocked in 70 such outlets across the UK, while it is looking to accelerate its use in the high-end spa treatment market. Regarding the latter, it launched in Kimpton Blythswood Square in Glasgow earlier this year, and aims to be in 40 spas in the UK within the next 18 months. CBD skincare has “full holistic benefit”, she added.

Separately, a company launched by former Glasgow Warriors teammates Grayson Hart and Adam Ashe, has been valued at £2.8 million following “record” sales and angel investment. The duo started Pure Sport CBD to find a way to manage pain without medication and attribute the revenue growth to “Covid anxiety”.

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