A woman who escaped a violent relationship and ended up with her daughter in a refuge secured an investment of £40,000 when she appeared on Dragons’ Den on BBC One recently.
Eileen Hutchinson, from Hemel Hempstead, founder of NitNOT head lice treatment products, left the Den with investment from Tej Lalvani, in exchange for 30 per cent of her business.
Eileen, 55, is a single mum with a 16-year-old daughter. She founded NitNOT after experiencing years of frustration and a personal disaster that turned into a mission to shake up an industry.
She says: “Before starting the clinic I had been involved in sales and multi-site management of kitchen units. At the time I was doing five part-time jobs to get the money together. Having found ourselves in a refuge after a violent relationship we were in a very difficult situation. It was a matter of getting my shoulders to the wheel and making the best of a bad situation. I knew my idea would work, it was up to me to prove it.”
Eileen’s journey into the work of head lice came after her young daughter had issues with recurring infestations of head lice, no matter what treatments she used, none of them worked.
“But even worse my daughter had eczema prone skin and eye reactions. I started to research and the more I learnt the more it became clear to me that I needed to develop an alternative product. It’s tough going against the large pharmaceutical companies, but I knew I could develop products and services that were both safe and 100% effective, unlike many other treatments on the market.
“My drive was to keep children safe and parents sane, all while acting responsibly towards our beautiful planet. NitNOT is vegan friend, certified eco friendly, hypoallergenic and scientifically proven to not be absorbed by the skin.”
So Eileen went on a mission to find an alternative – one that was safe AND actually worked. After three years of research, consultations and hands-on experience, she opened the NitNOT Head Lice Treatment Clinic, in Hertfordshire UK.
“When I opened the clinic and launched the product online the demand was huge. Parents clearly wanted a treatment that was 100% effective, whilst remaining safe (free from toxic and flammable chemicals) kind to skin, and good value for money.
“I am proud to say NitNOT has realised my vision of being the first genuinely safe, effective and eco-friendly dimethicone product and packaging head lice treatment available.
“Not only that, we have gone on to create an eco-friendly and ethical solution which will kill all head lice and eggs without any compromise to wellbeing. Knowing how much pain and stress I had to go through to get here, it delights me so much to get positive comments from customers who have finally had victory by using NitNOT products.
“I want to show my daughter that with hard work and determination it is possible to create a fulfilling life.
“There are great things ahead for NitNOT this year that I have been working hard for, Dragons Den was a fabulous experience and the investment has gone through with Tej and his team. We’ve had a great start working together, his team is brilliant. Watch this space!”
With Nitnot being classified as a distress product. Eileen’s aim is to see her products in retail outlets throughout the UK, Europe and Australia within five years.
She is also in the process of setting up a business helping other parents to find flexibility around their children by training them to open either their own head lice clinic or offer a mobile service.
“It can work so well around family life and can be full or part time. We will offer full training, support and the chance to be part of a great friendly team. If people are interested they can email us and find out more here.