Helen Lebedeva, Managing Director is the Exclusive Worldwide Manufacturer and Distributor of the Repcillin skincare brand outside of South Africa. Repcillin is famous for its natural steroids-free skincare range of Crocodile Oil based products for people with eczema, sensitive and damaged skin.
Here, we spent some time with Helen to find out more about the brand, her plans for the future and so much more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
I was travelling through Africa in 2013 and came across of Repcillin Crocodile Oil Balm sold in South Africa completely by chance by speaking to my local friend who managed to treat her hands eczema using it. When I heard the name of the product I was genially surprised. You see, I have more than 10 years’ experience in skincare business and I never heard of Crocodile Oil. I was intrigued and stocked up on the product to take back to the UK to investigate the “magic” behind it. On my return to the UK I gave little pots of the Repcillin Crocodile Balm to every friend I knew who had some skin issues and was waiting patiently for their feedback. Every response I received was: “Where can we buy more? This product is amazing! It actually healed my long suffering skin!”
So the Repcillin brand originated in South Africa. John Sweet, the founder of Repcillin, has been working on the product research and development since 2005. The Crocodile Oil used in Repcillin range of products is sourced from a commercial crocodile farm where conditions of ranching and breeding of Nile Crocodiles are permanently monitored by the Department of Agriculture of South Africa.
The idea came to John as he was watching a program about the immune system of crocodiles on the National Geographic channel. Intrigued by the discovery scientists had made about the crocodiles’ blood serum, he decided to get some crocodile fat to investigate whether it could be applied on the skin in order to treat inflammation and flakiness. He rendered the fat into pure oil and gave out samples of it for friends and neighbours to try. The results were truly amazing – a small amount of pure crocodile oil was enough to solve a variety of skin issues and conditions from burns to eczema, cuts and insect bites.
What is your background?
I have a BA degree in History of Art and was working in advertising and marketing after graduating University. Then changed my career to working for L’Oreal Luxury Division in product development, formulation, sales and compliance.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
Yes, I would use the in-house production team rather than trying to outsource.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Repcillin is bare bones with no extra bells and whistles or fancy packaging. In addition to research and development costs to create a new product, packaging and marketing are two factors that can drive the cost of the final product. Repcillin products are simplified formulations with basic packaging and, besides Repcillin Balm High Concentrate, come in one size. As for quality, any good cosmetic company strives to use the highest quality ingredients and performs safety and stability testing of their products before putting them on the market. Repcillin products are simple and functional, but often, the best products are.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
I am a big fan of stand-up paddling since 2014. I discover stand-up paddling (or SUP) through a fantastic company called The London Stand up Paddle Company and now using any opportunity to be on a river with my board and a paddle.
2017 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
2017 is a big year for us. In February we are launching our best product so far – Repcillin Crocodile Oil 83% Skin Rescue Treatment for Dry, Damaged, Flaky and Ultra-Sensitive Skin. This product is truly amazing. It is highly penetrating, intensely soothing, nourishing and repairing skin treatment containing 83% of pure Crocodile oil which triggers the body’s essential healing process and design to reduce epidermal irritation. It is an exceptional unisex treatment for people with eczema, dry, damaged, flaky and ultra-sensitive skin and those exposed to harsh climate conditions
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
The amount of customers we have, reviews and thank you emails we received from them. And a huge worldwide press coverage in 2015.
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
I work and live in London. Since opening Repcillin France office in 2016 I am very often in Paris. But the place I feel truly at home is Africa.
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Repcillin Balm High Concentrate, Repcillin Erica’s Hand Cream with Crocodile Oil and Repcillin Extra Mild Shampoo with Crocodile Oil.
Expressing individuality in your own unique way.
Best thing about London to you?
Diversity, mutual respect and a big sense of togetherness.
Statement shoe or statement bag?
Definitely a bag.
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear every day?
African Kikoy Sarong I bought from The London Stand up Paddle Company.
Favourite love song?
“Every Breath you Take” by Sting
Best place for a coffee?
My kitchen at 7am for my first cup of Ricoffy.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
There is a great difference between worry and concern. A worried person sees a problem, and a concerned person solves a problem.
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Anywhere in the world with my whole family.
Find out more…
Repcillin products are available worldwide through www.repcillinpure.co.uk. Please follow Repcillin here: