Burns specialist Skin Camouflage Services, of Uppingham, Rutland, expands to Australia
An entrepreneur who runs a business helping people with skin traumas, such as major burns and scarring, is expanding to Australia.
Vanessa Jane Davies, who founded Skin Camouflage Services six years ago, is teaming up with one of the top plastic surgeons Down Under.
She works with adult and child patients at three clinics in Britain, helping them manage the appearance of severe scarring, burns and conditions including birthmarks and pigmentation problems.
Three years ago, the Uppingham businesswoman, who is in her 40s, also launched Varama, a range of camouflage make-up which conceals visible skin damage and discolouration.
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She is now supplying her products and services to two hospitals in Perth, Australia – the Royal Perth Hospital and the Princess Margaret Children's Hospital – where renowned plastic surgeon Fiona Wood is a director.
Dr Wood was thrust into the media spotlight in 2002 when she led a team of surgeons treating survivors of the Bali bombings.
Vanessa was put in touch with Dr Wood by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the Government agency set up to encourage firms to trade overseas, and they met when Vanessa flew out to the country for three weeks last year.
Vanessa said: "It all happened very quickly and went from the initial meeting to me training staff in the clinic.
"Fiona also wanted me to meet some of her patients which was lovely."
Vanessa has been a skin camouflage practitioner for 19 years and also trains other healthcare organisations on how to set up and run their own clinics.
Skin camouflage was developed during the Second World War to help injured servicemen manage their appearance with cover creams.
Since then, various types of skin camouflage has been available privately and on the NHS.
Vanessa said online sales of her Varama range of products were strong and 50 per cent came from overseas.
She plans to concentrate on the Australian launch for the next six months but, ultimately, hopes to export her services and products to other countries.
She said: "Through my work I meet women who have been victims of acid attacks so I would love to take my work to the Middle East where these sorts of attacks are more common.
"At the moment, the business is just me and I can manage it but who knows where it might lead? I might need to take people on as it grows."
Vanessa has worked with UKTI East Midland's international trade adviser Suzy Bolton for the least three years.
She said: "Being under UKTI's umbrella has really helped me and thanks to them a lot has happened so very quickly."
Suzy said: "Vanessa is making good progress in Australia as a direct result of the market research we did for her.
"It's fantastic news she is now working with Fiona Wood and that there are other positive opportunities for her to develop her business in Australia."
Vanessa's clinics are in London's Harley Street, as well as Harrogate, in Yorkshire, and Stamford, in Lincolnshire.
She said: "I moved the business down to Rutland in 2009 and it's the perfect base for me to get down to London and up to Yorkshire."