Inspiration for starting a business can come from anywhere, for Francesco Clark his injuries become a profound reason. Back in 2002, the diving accident left the 24-year-old paralyzed. In addition to losing the ability to utilise his legs, the spinal cord injury prevented his skin from sweating.
As his skin was consequently prone to irritation, he and his father, a doctor and homoeopath, created some natural face lotions in their New York State home kitchen. It was the beginning of the skincare company Clark’s Botanicals, which is today said to generate annual sales of about $5 million (£4.2 million).
Clark grows some of the natural ingredients at his home, the rest he sources as locally as possible, with production outsourced to nearby facilities rather than seeking cheaper manufacturing overseas.
Mr Clark says, “Everything is made here in the US. That’s very important to me, that we maintain the independent and local sense of development for the brand.”
According to Clark, his company has been able to sidestep the well publicized worldwide supply chain delays of the previous two years by hiring local suppliers and manufacturing.
The supply chain was firstly disrupted by COVID-19, resulting in staff shortages at factories and ports in China and other countries. Then there was a six-day closure of Egypt’s Suez Canal, as the ship Evergreen got stuck in a key global trade route. And in 2022 due to Russia’s invasion in Ukraine resulting in sanctions that caused disruption in the market. Hence, because of these reasons, a growing number of companies on both sides of the Atlantic are considering reshoring their supply chains.
According to Clark, having suppliers significantly closer to you allows you to develop stronger relationships with them in addition to preventing delays. He continues by saying that as a result, they will do more for you, such as meet tighter deadlines if necessary.
“When you’re making things locally, you’re also able to lean on the people that you’ve been working with… you’re able to say, ‘I’m so sorry but we need this next week’, Clark said.
Looking back at the start of the pandemic Clark says this explains how his company was able to start producing hand sanitizer “from concept, to shipping to customers, within eight days”.
He adds: “We were able to pivot extremely quickly because of the incredible partnerships that we have with our manufacturers and the talented team at Clark’s Botanicals.”