Stuart Hinds Asks 'What Goes into Creating a New Premax Product'?
Stuart Hinds is one of Australia's leading soft tissue therapists, he has over 27 years of experience in professional practice, and is internationally recognized for his work with the Australian Olympic Teams. In between publishing articles in international industry journals and mainstream publications on soft tissue treatments, Stuart runs an extensive online education website, which offers courses, workshops, and professional mentoring. Stuart's relationship with Premax, and our founder Randall Cooper, goes back a long way, making him the perfect person to ask Randall all about the latest product launch, having witnessed the brands constant evolution for himself. He asked about how the Recovery Cream came to be, where it fit into the Premax family, and what the production side of the company looks like when it comes to bringing any new product to the market.
Why did you create a Recovery Cream, and choose the ingredients that you did?
As with every product that we do, the ideas for our next product always come from the market, and what the customer wants, and needs. Over the last three or four years, the most common question we've been asked is, ‘are you going to do a post sport recovery cream’ and my answer was "well, tell me more about what you want." By talking to enough athletes, you get the opportunity to really understand what type of missing elements or products they are looking for. Then from there I read into the literature surrounding whatever area of concern or interest I keep hearing mentioned, and will talk with exercise scientists and physios about their perspective.
When I was looking into recovery, there was a lot of discussion about active recoveries, cold water immersion, and massage. However, many people were talking about fruit extracts, particularly sour cherry. After digging into the literature about it, I could see there was really solid evidence for the positive effects of this extract. The chemists and cosmetic engineers I spoke to then explained to me that sour cherry is aqueous, meaning it can cross the barrier of your skin. Therefore, if you put it in a cream, it should get absorbed into the skin.
This led me to thinking we could create a Recovery Cream that both helped the skin to recover, and aided in systematic recovery. So, we added ingredients that nourish, restore hydration, and condition the skin. If you've got little bumps, bruises and scratches, the classic wear a tear of exercise, these ingredients will actually help speed up the repair process. Then the sour cherry extract helps with the deeper recovery process.
Did you think this was going to be another part of the massage cream family, or a stand alone product?
It’s both. This product is really classed as a rubbing cream, because it sits on the skin reasonably well, and takes a while to sink in. I know many physiotherapists that blend multiple products together to make a unique application, and the idea is for the same to be done with our Recovery Cream. I actually thought it would work really well in conjunction with the Arnica cream, used for 15 minutes on the legs after someone does a triathlon, for example. Ultimately, this is a product that athletes can take home and use on themselves day-to-day, and something that therapists could also use as an adjunct to what they already do with their hands.
On the production side, how do you decide on the ingredients when creating a product, and ensuring that they work?
Firstly, to put it all into perspective, companies like Nivea and L'Oreal take seven years to get a product on to the market. After thinking of a product, they need to get enough market research to develop it, then do all of the group tests, and the whole process takes years. Because we are a smaller company, and so a lot more agile, our process is much quicker, but it still takes a very long time. It’s not like cooking, where you just throw everything into a pot and hope it will taste good. You've got to make sure that the pH is right. You've got to make sure that the ingredients don't split. You've got to make sure that it's not irritating on the skin. You've got to make sure that you've been really selective with which raw ingredients you use, and which ones you don't.
Once you've got the final concept together, you've then got to test it over and over again on yourself, and then start testing it on the market. This part of this process might take 10, 15, 20 samples, and we keep playing around with the formula until we're generally happy. We've got a product in production right now, and we're up to 68 samples. It's taken two and a half years to develop, and we still aren't happy with it. It's not always necessarily the functionality of the product that takes time, but sometimes just the chemical stability. Once you finally feel like you've got the formula right, and tested it out on people, and received positive feedback on the smell, the feel, the performance, it then needs to undergo another set of tests. The chemist has to put it in an oven at 40 degrees, for three months, six, and twelve months. They’re looking for any changes over that time. You've got to prove that the preservative system you’ve used works, so that your product won’t be full of bacteria every time you open the lid on the pot.
Then you've got to get all the packaging and design aspects finalised. It's not an easy process. You can see why so many little skincare brands just don't get off the ground, because it's quite complex and hard. Also, making sure it's a success once it hits the market is tough as well. It's a very involved process, but II enjoy it, all the way from start to finish, and we always strive to create something that's different. There's a lot more going on behind the scenes than what people usually think.
Head to Stuart's website here if you would like to learn more about soft tissue therapy or personal training.
You can watch the full interview here.