Founder Focus: James Dutton of PATCH
After noticing his son’s poor reaction to everyday plasters, James Dutton was motivated to research hypoallergenic alternatives. Shockingly, he also found that traditional plasters (including current hypoallergenic and fabric varieties) contain plastic micro-fibres that take decades to break down. From this desire to find a hypoallergenic and compostable solution, PATCH was born.
A B-Corp that takes pride in using certified, organic ingredients, PATCH bamboo plasters are made up of only natural, biodegradable and sustainable resources. We caught up with Founder James Dutton, to find out more.
What was your eureka moment?
PATCH was born out of an allergy my youngest son Charlie experienced from regular plasters, which caused his delicate skin to blister and tear. Searching for a solution, I quickly discovered that there was nothing available on the market that would work for him – but most importantly, he wasn’t the only one with this problem.
When researching the wound care market, I was shocked to realise that these kinds of allergies affect one in four people worldwide. During this research phase, I also discovered that traditional plasters create shocking amounts of waste, around 2.04 billion metres of waste annually. Learning this, I knew that I had to create a product that would not just help my son, but the planet too.
What was your elevator pitch?
25% of people had zero solutions to their wound recovery – until PATCH. The wound care market was a saturated and stagnant category, with zero innovation. We knew we needed to create a product that would lead the way in future innovation, not just more of the same.
So, we made PATCH to be the world’s first 100% compostable plaster that’s as good for you, as it is the planet. Unlike typical adhesive bandages, PATCH strips are made from eco-friendly bamboo fibre, providing users with a ‘barely there’ sensation and a smooth finish, so that skin can move freely without restriction.
Conscious to not compromise on performance or the planet, the strips are available in four varieties of pre-enriched gauze – Natural, Activated Coconut, Aloe Vera and Activated Charcoal – with each ingredient specially selected for its association with wound repair and skin health. Because of this, the range can be used by all skin types – even those with sensitive skin.
How did you first start off testing your idea?
Sustainability and leaving minimal footprint on the planet are incredibly important to me and my team, which is why PATCH is made from 100% certified organic, fully sustainable and biodegradable bamboo fibre.
Our course of action consisted of vetting over 45 different suppliers, researching and trialling hundreds of varying textiles, materials and ingredients, and reviewing more than 100 different designs and prototypes. It was imperative that all materials were sustainably grown, farmed and tested and held to strict certification standards.
What advice would you give someone thinking of starting a business on their own?
Creating a business and having success in the short term anyone can do, but undoubtedly you need to be wary of the long-term commitment and not to lose focus on your long-term goal. You have to unequivocally and 100% commit to your product/service.
We live in a saturated consumer society – so it’s imperative that you understand the benefit you bring. Be agile, share the journey with your team and have fun with it – life’s too short to be bored!
Do you have a mentor, or are you one?
In my line of work, I travel constantly, and always make an effort to learn something positive from everyone I connect with – I’m lucky to have mentors all around the world.
What’s your plan B?
To always have a plan C.
What is the most worthwhile investment (time, energy, money) that you have made?
My team. I’ve been incredibly lucky to partner with some incredible people over the years – including my business partner Zach Hedge who’s helped make this dream a reality. We’re now at a stage where we’ve been able to expand operations over multiple territories and seeing our Nutricare family grow across borders, has been the most rewarding and worthwhile investment.
What’s coming up next for PATCH Strips?
There are three non-negotiables with all of our products that we develop – We’ll always innovate, we’ll always grow the category, and we’ll always benefit you and the environment. Since our launch, we have received overwhelmingly positive customer feedback and stories about PATCH and its positive benefits – everything from healing white tail spider bites to sores, cuts and stings with zero hypersensitivity or adverse reactions. We are beyond excited to launch our next line of products that venture into a new category (only a couple of months away) – stay tuned!
What is the book you would recommend that everyone reads – or podcast/TED Talk that everyone should listen to – and why?
I’m constantly listening out for podcasts/TED talks and reading where I can – but to be honest, I get the greatest inspiration from music – which is a massive part of my identity.
Being the founder of the world’s first compostable plasters is incredible – but undoubtedly intense at times. How do you find balance?
High energy is built in my DNA! But to Balance myself I really try to get us much Vitamin D and sun as possible and have to meditate where I can.
PATCH Strips can be found on their website, and in most Superdrug and Holland & Barrett stores.