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ariLabs going after markets in US, Caribbean with new skincare products

Published:Thursday | October 1, 2015 | 2:14 PMTameka Gordon

Co-owners of ariLabs, dermatologist Dr Patricia Yap and chemist Felice Campbell, are making a bigger play for local business through their products to treat eczema and razor bumps due for release in a matter of months.

The company, which uses contract manufacturing to put out its line of skincare products, is also taking aim at regional markets and is "actively" searching for a distributor in Trinidad, Campbell told Sunday Business.

"We have grown tremendously. We are very much established in the local market and we are getting interests from overseas right now. It's just a matter of distribution," she said.

The company is seeking distributors in the US as well as the Caribbean.

Its products already have a presence in Cayman Islands and Trinidad, markets that opened up when visitors, having tried the product here, pressed their cosmetics outlets to carry the line on return home.

Campbell said ariLabs is shopping for a distributor in the US that deals with the diaspora, and that key US areas being targeted are Florida and New York.

"Jamaica is by far the largest market but the product is in Cayman and Trinidad. That's mainly because people just take it down there though, not through a distributor," Campbell said, adding ariLabs is moving to set up distribution relationships in the twin-island republic.

The Apex Research Institute, from which the 'ari' acronym comes, was launched in June 2012 by Yap and Campbell, who are sisters, to produce a line of skincare for the Afro-Caribbean skin type.

Apex's first product was the AriSulfur Facial and Body Treatment Bar, which was followed by AriScalp Blend in 2013.

The products are developed through AriLabs, the scientific arm of Apex Research Institute and distributed exclusively through Cari-Med.

The sisters also operate Apex Healthcare Associates as chief executive and chief financial officer.

To tap an increasing demand for its line, "we are going to have four other products coming out," Campbell said.

The ariBright Tone bar is aimed at eczema suffers who cannot use the ariSulfur bar now on the market, she said. The product is especially targeted at teenagers with acne problems.

The other soon-to-be-added product, ariBump Gone, will target both males and females that shave, with a kit of three products, she said.

"There are people who are allergic to sulphur, people who have eczema, who, depending on the severity of the eczema, can use the ariBright Tone," she said. The ariBump Gone includes a three-step kit of a razor bump treatment solution, a cleanser and aftershave splash.

The items in the kit will also be sold separately, Campbell said.

The chemist was not entirely forthcoming on the level of investment that has gone into the lab and the products, saying only that the majority of the spend related to the intellectual property component.

"We really didn't put in a lot of money, per se - that's the whole point of using an external manufacturer. A lot of the money is really spent on marketing," she added.