2006 - Richard Starrett and Neil Mackay (Beautiful Vending Ltd)
Richard Starrett and Neil Mackay were crowned the 2006 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Scotland) in a glittering ceremony hosted by James Smith, Chairman Shell UK.
Beautiful Vending Ltd was then incorporated on 16 April 2005 by Richard Starrett and Neil Mackay, just over a year after the concept was initially born. In the between time the pair focused themselves on getting their idea patented, manufactured and ready for their market which would be their homeland of Scotland.
Beautiful Vending’s key concept ‘Straight Up’ is essentially a hair styling vending machine. Customers pay a set amount for 90 seconds use of a pair of GHD straighteners that they can use to straighten, kink and style their hair. With the hair styling market being worth £millions and consumers not being able to style their hair on the go and styles suffering from the often temperamental British weather Richard and Neil came up with their unique offering.
The Beautiful Vending team picutred with James Smith (right), Chairman Shell (UK)
The product could initially be found in washrooms in gyms, bars and clubs across the United Kingdom and since success has resulted in the exportation of the product by Beautiful Vending Ltd to 25 different countries including places as far flung as Brazil, Russia, and South Korea.
Since winning our award success has continued to come for the company and they have won several other awards including Vending International product of the Year 2007. Indeed, there idea proved so popular that copycats where trying to replicate the idea from the off but being the wise businessmen they are Richard and Neil had their idea patented so filed and won a lawsuit against the imitators.
On winning our award Richard was quoted as saying “Many great businesses come through the Shell LiveWIRE Awards and I hope to be another one of those too.” I think it can be said that Richard’s hopes have definitely come true.
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To find out more about how you could be walking away with the £25,000 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award please go to our Awards page.