Providing parents with a natural remedy to treat children’s coughs and colds

Soothing Solutions’ product is targeted at millennial parents who are well educated about health

Parents are often caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to treating a young child with a sore throat or a cough. They want to alleviate the child’s distress but are wary of giving them medication for a routine illness.

Community pharmaceutical technician Sinéad Crowther has watched parents grapple with this dilemma for nearly three decades and in 2017 she decided to do something about it. The result is Soothing Solutions, a honey-based cough and sore throat remedy with a unique dosage system aimed at children aged two and upwards.

“There are very few solutions available to parents to soothe sore throats in children, especially those between one and six years of age due to restrictions on the sale of OTC (over the counter) medicines for this age group,” Sinéad Crowther says.

“I have four sons so I can totally relate to the upset parents feel when watching their little ones suffer. Traditional cough syrups are unappealing to young taste buds and a messy challenge to administer while cough sweets and lozenges are only suitable for older children and even then, can still pose a serious choke hazard.”


Soluble remedy

Crowther’s solution is a solid but soluble remedy that dissolves quickly in the mouth and has a child-friendly fruity taste. A pending patent application means she can’t reveal how the product is administered at this point, but suffice it to say that it’s done in a way that will be reassuringly familiar to children everywhere.

Crowther officially set up Soothing Solutions with co-founder Denise Lauaki last October having spent three years on the R&D and the product will be launched in Q1 next year.

With a 30-year career in the pharmacy business behind her, Crowther has tapped into her well-developed networks to tee up stockists and distribution partners for the Irish and UK markets. "We already have over 200 stores in Ireland and two major distributors ready to stock and supply," she says. "Our products have global potential as children suffer from this problem regardless of geography. We are specifically setting our sights on the US where the market value for OTC syrups and cough drops for children is estimated at $1.5 billion. The market size in Ireland is roughly €6 million and around €59 million in the UK."

Disruptive ideas

Investment in the business to date has been almost €150,000 between founder equity and support from Meath LEO, Enterprise Ireland and the Bord Bia Food Works programme. "We opened a €500,000 seed round in November and are aiming to have this wrapped up shortly," says co-founder Lauaki who comes from a business background and has a track record of working with disruptive ideas and technologies. "This funding will enable us to set up our manufacturing facility, hire staff and execute our marketing strategy. We currently have two employees and are looking to hire five more."

In terms of developing the business beyond product sales, Lauaki says the company’s novel delivery system gives it both a strong competitive edge in the market and an opportunity to license its solution to pharma companies as a new and easier way of administering medication to young children.

Crowther says typical buyers of the product (the actual name will not be released until patent and trademark applications are complete) will be millennial parents who are well educated about health and wellness.

“This motivates them to only give their child the best and they will pay more for natural products they feel are safe, free from additives and with minimum or no added sugars. We have also been approached by paediatricians who see huge potential in our delivery method and are keen to use it to help the sick children in their care,” says Crowther.