It may only have been two years ago, but it’s easy to forget the extent to which Barefoot SOS’s Face and Body Rescue Cream dominated the 2013 FreeFrom Skincare Awards – not only taking home the champion’s prize for Best Overall FreeFrom Skincare Product, but triumphing in both the Face Care (Leave On) and the Body Care (Leave On) categories too. The same product had taken a silver award in the inaugural awards in 2012, and the brand took a deserved silver again last year, with their Intensive Treatment Oil.
Those three ‘golds’ and two ‘silvers’ are what have placed Barefoot SOS at the very top of our overall medal table, which we introduced this year – partly for a bit of friendly competition, but partly also to demonstrate in one view the variety of brands who are producing great ‘free from’ skincare and cosmetics for problem skin issues. Just take a look at that long list. Note the small brands, as well as big brands: joining Barefoot SOS in the top ten are Neal’s Yard Remedies and Green People, as you might expect – but you’ll also find Suti, Nom Nom, Lyonsleaf and Eve of St Agnes in the mix too.
So when the team at Barefoot SOS told us they’d like to sponsor a category at the 2015 FreeFrom Skincare Awards, we were particularly pleased that the brand leading the way, as far as ‘the scores on the doors’ from previous awards were concerned, had decided to support the upcoming one. Fittingly, they are sponsoring Face Care (Leave On) – one of the most popular categories, where we invariably see a vast selection of terrific facial creams – and we hope to see another wide range of products from brands large, medium and small submitted from today – the official opening day of #FFSA15, as it shall be referred to on Twitter henceforth!
Sponsorship is an often misunderstood practice, sometimes steeped in mystery. We like to be transparent about it. Anyone can view our Sponsorship page here, which explains the benefits to brands of sponsorship, and what we charge for it.
What the page perhaps doesn’t explain is how important sponsorship is – not only enabling us to devote more time to the awards, improving how they are run and judged for example, but also helping us keep entry fees low enough for smaller brands to be able to participate – something we also facilitate by offering a considerably reduced fee to brands with fewer than three members of staff.
Why are we keen to support smaller brands, especially? Because they are less frequently on the radar of the ‘beauty industry’: they’re less likely to be distributed widely, certainly less likely to be featured in magazines. Brands with big budgets and big marketing invariably have advantages when it comes to traditional promotional activities – including awards. We try to minimise those, and create as level a playing field as possible, where smaller brands – whose products may well be as good if not better than the larger names – stand as decent a chance to do well as those who are more established. We want it to be about the product – its qualities, its ‘free from’ attributes, its labelling, its effectiveness, its innovation, its value – not the name behind it or the budget. And rightfully rewarding the best products then helps consumers looking for high-performing skincare make informed decisions on what to try or buy. Win-win.
Sponsorship helps with all this. We hope that Barefoot SOS’s involvement, and that of our long-standing supporters NATorigin – sponsoring for a fourth consecutive year, in the Family Skincare category – is recognised within the ‘free from’ skincare industry, and that they derive as much benefit from their sponsorship as we do – and you all do. And, who knows, we may yet have more sponsors to announce to you all quite soon …