Breakthrough deal

Ex-punk proves a hit with Chinese retail platform

Tommy Crooks: milestone

Artist and former post-punk band guitarist Tommy Crooks has broken new ground in China with his East Lothian based skincare company.

Crooks, one of the many ex-members of the cult group The Fall, has seen The Edinburgh Natural Skincare Company, become the first Scottish business to open a TMall Global Flagship Store.

TMall, formerly Taobao Mall, is a Chinese-language website for business-to-consumer online retail, spun off from Taobao, operated in China by Alibaba Group.

It is a platform for Chinese and international businesses to sell brand-name goods to consumers throughout Greater China. It has more than 500 million monthly active users. According to Alexa Rank, it was the third most visited website globally in 2021.

Self-taught mandarin speaker Crooks, based in Tranent, said: “When we started crafting at the kitchen table in 2010, often working late into the night, we had no idea there would be world-wide demand for our products.

“Currently we have two stores in Edinburgh but selling to the world through online marketplaces such as takes our business to another level.

“As a 100% natural handmade skincare business, we’re also very well placed to take advantage of the quality and heritage associated with British brands. It’s incredibly exciting to be able to turn our export ambitions into reality.” 

His company has had exposure in Japan for four years and this year was approached by the organisers of Best Body Japan who were looking for a natural cream for its competitors which led to an official sponsorship by The Edinburgh Natural Skincare Company.

Crooks was briefly guitarist and vocalist with The Fall in the late 1990s after providing the artwork to the album Levitate.

Whilst Tommy has been travelling extensively to expand his business worldwide, his focus currently returns home to his heritage as the company gears up for the festive season.

It has two Edinburgh stores, employs 13 staff in the UK and nine in China, and will have a stall at the Edinburgh Christmas Market later this month.

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