THE inaugural winner of the first Salter’s Den competition has brought her product to market.

Five years on from winning the competition, Northwich’s Codilia Gapare has overcome hurdles to launch her C-Lash product in Boots.

After teaming up with cosmetics firm Eylure, Codilia put the finishing touches to her product – a false lashes range for people going through chemotherapy or living with alopecia.

Armed with a support network of family and friends, the west Cheshire ‘Dragons Den’-style competition put her on the road to success.

“I didn’t have any background in running a business,” said Codilia, a breast cancer survivor.

“A lot of things were quite new to me – I was learning on the job and a one-man band, so launching a product of that size was daunting.

“Once I had identified there was a need for it, there was no way I was not going to do it. Salter’s Den was the push that I needed.”

Confident that her product had potential, she went on to win Innovator the Year Award at The Business Show in London, before approaching Boots.

Despite years of saving, the scale of the brand was out of her reach and Boots – seeing Codilia’s determination – pointed her towards London-based Eylure.

From there, the product was painstakingly finalised, a process which was helped by a promise Codilia had made to her two children.

She said: “I can’t teach them by talking, but by showing them what to do. In our house we have got a wall of dreams, where we put our ambitions and promises. I put on there, and I couldn’t go back on it after that.

“It stopped being about money and it was solely about the people it was going to help. The cancer beauty market is really lacking and needs building up, so hopefully this is just the start.

“People with cancer shouldn’t have to read the label to know if something is safe for them. They need to know that it’s made with them in mind.”