The 2021 Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grants cast the net wide to find Australia’s most innovative new businesses who deserve a boost to help them go global. An expert panel chose five winners – let’s meet them.
Serial entrepreneur James Dutton created PATCH after his son’s skin flared up in reaction to an adhesive bandage.
From working in his family’s classic car business and professionally racing jet skis and cars to running his own businesses in the luxury publishing and finance spaces, James Dutton’s career has certainly been diverse.
All these experiences, he says, were building blocks to his latest venture, Nutricare and its flagship product PATCH, the world’s first natural, eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, compostable bandage strips.
The business idea: Natural, ethical, eco-friendly wound care
The global natural healthcare company, based in Melbourne, came about in 2017 when James discovered his son was reacting to a common adhesive bandage, resulting in raised, red and blistered skin in the area the bandage was applied.
“As a parent, I wasn’t aware of the number of chemicals in regular adhesive bandages and that they could cause harm to my little boy’s skin,” James tells Kochie’s Business Builders.
“The reaction of his skin came as a shock to me and I immediately starting thinking of ways I could combat the problem. As I did my research I discovered so many others have allergies just like my son. I created PATCH to provide them with a wound care solution that would not only enable healing but not keep them from being outside, exploring and enjoying life.”
Taking a planet-friendly approach
PATCH strips are manufactured in China with a gentle mineral-based, pressure-sensitive adhesive, optional aloe vera, coconut oil and activated charcoal gauze to promote healing, and natural bamboo fibre. Bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials, and the entire product is compostable including all the packaging.
“If I was going to embark on putting another product on the shelves, I was going to ensure that it didn’t make a negative environmental impact,” says James. “Given the fact that we use 100 per cent bamboo to make PATCH we wanted to manufacture as close to the source to reduce our environmental footprint.”
To further offset the company’s carbon footprint, it plants trees. Through a partnership with Trees.org, PATCH has planted 45,367 trees to date and going forward will be donating a tree per every stockist.
Cementing ethics throughout the business
While out on the high seas protecting whales, dolphins and other sea creatures against those who seek to kill them, the crew of Sea Shepherd regularly get scratches and cuts, so PATCH is happy to supply the non-profit marine conservation organisation with its products, which are vegan and cruelty-free – something Dutton feels strongly about.
“We believe that creating an animal-derived product is unethical and unnecessary,” he says. “We often ask why, with all of the great alternatives, do we have to cause undue suffering by making products that abuse animals? It’s nonsensical. We celebrate this, being one of the only brands in the world in first aid that doesn’t test on animals. In our case, with adverse reactions from adhesive wound care affecting one in four people, the animal testing part is ineffective anyway, so it should stop.”
Expanding the business on Amazon
It appears that this business for good approach is paying dividends. PATCH is stocked in more than 35,000 retailers in 42 countries and, according to James, has sold “millions” of tubes, strips and packets since its launch just over three years ago.
“In many instances we launched our brand internationally on the back of a pandemic and we have continued to grow the business and expand into new countries throughout the world,” says James.
In addition to many of the big-name brick and mortar stores such as Walmart, Woolworth and Coles, the business also launched with a bang on Amazon in the US.
According to James, the B-Corp company has seen “huge success” on Amazon.com and he is aiming to replicate this on Amazon Australia after being named one of the 2021 winners of a $200k grant package from Amazon Launchpad.
Amazon Launchpad is Amazon’s program to help startups and entrepreneurs grow their business online. It helps with inventory management, order fulfilment, customer service, and marketing support, allowing brands to focus their efforts on the innovation that results in more unique products.
Each Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant winner receives a mix of cash, advertising support and access to industry experts to help grow their business on Amazon.com.au.
“We’re excited about being able to deliver amazing brand education to our target market, while driving growth for our business on Amazon.com.au,” says James. “Our goal is to be in every household around the world.”
Meet the other Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant winners:
Find out more about how new and emerging brands are growing locally and scaling globally on Amazon Launchpad.
This article is brought to you by Kochie’s Business Builders in partnership with Amazon Launchpad.