A START-UP skincare company is competing against global corporations for a national award.

Five Squirrels, based in Bedford Street in Kemp Town, Brighton, is a finalist for two awards in the UK and Irish Aesthetics Awards 2019.

The company is up against industry giants L’Oréal and Johnson and Johnson in two categories, for Clinic Support Partner of the Year and Tropical Skin Range of the Year.

One of the company’s directors, Gary Conway, said: “It’s a great honour to be nominated for the National Aesthetic Awards in two categories.

“The team have worked tirelessly to ensure our customers are always delighted with our products and service.

“We couldn’t have got this far without the support of local organisations in Brighton geared at helping start-up companies get off the ground, such as E-spark, Coast to Capital and of course, Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce.”

The company, which has just five members of staff, offers healthcare professionals the chance to create their own “signature skincare brands”.

The company stocks products designed with clinical support and are used to help treat a range of skin conditions, such as oily or acne-prone skin, hyperpigmentation and ageing skin laxity, to improve a client’s appearance and boost their self-esteem.

Mr Conway said: “We have pre-formulated our own range of skincare products which are made available to healthcare professionals to brand as their own products.

“The concept is quite new and complicated, but it’s been going really well.”

The start-up has launched more than 250 skincare brands internationally since it was founded in 2014, and provides a consultancy service to medical professionals.

Mr Conway realised there was a business opportunity after changes in the market for skincare products.

He said: “Historically, private healthcare professionals, including dermatologists have sold products by mainstream brands to their patients, but what they found is that patients would then just buy directly from those brands, and cut the healthcare professional out.

“We realised we could offer an opportunity to be rewarded for their services, and to retain their patients.”

Mr Conway said that winning an award would validate his business model and help the company to grow.

He believes Brighton is the best place in the country to start a business.

“The reason we started the business in Brighton was because of the creative talents here, including recruits from the two universities who often need to find industrial placements.”

Another company director, Mandy Cameron, said: “I am so proud of all the team for getting us this far.

“We are only a small team, but we are ready to be up against the big names.”

The Aesthetic Awards are hosted annually to recognise companies who provide outstanding customer service, demonstrate unprecedented skill and uphold robust ethics.

Seventy per cent of the vote for each award is based on the judging panel, which is a group of leading healthcare professionals.

The public can vote online for the remaining 30 per cent for each award, until Thursday, October 31, and winners will be announced at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London on Saturday, December 7.

To vote for the awards, visit www.aestheticsawards.com.