Cloud Nine is a Yorkshire-based haircare brand founded by Martin Rae, his brother and stepdad – Robert Powls, the founder of ghd. “We’d all been at ghd since the start and knew that business inside out,” says Rae.

“We saw a gap in the market for a range of premium, temperature-controlled irons that are kinder to hair but still deliver great results.” Cloud Nine turns over £36million and sells its products worldwide. “I want to build the biggest electrical haircare brand in the world,” says Rae, “but I want to do it our way.” Rae recently launched a recycling service with the aim of saving millions of hair tools from landfill.

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Ultimately, I would love to build the biggest electrical haircare brand in the world.”

Martin Rae
Founder, Cloud Nine


What is Cloud Nine’s USP?

The big angle for us is heat control. With our products, you can style at lower temperatures without the unnecessary heat damage. When we set up Cloud Nine in 2009, ghd had 95pc of the £50-plus hairstyling tools market. We felt there was room for a challenger brand, so long as we had better products and we got our messaging right, with professional advocacy. We didn’t have a huge advertising budget so we had to let the products prove themselves.

What personally motivates you?

We have 65 employees now and it’s been such an amazing journey. It’s not been an overnight success story, but I’ve loved growing the business over the last 12 years and am still very much involved on a day-to-day basis. I love effecting change and ultimately, I want to build the biggest electrical haircare brand in the world.

How are you trying to build a sustainable brand?

We’ve focused on shipping, packaging and disposal. We switched from air freight to carbon offset shipping; we launched an eco-packaging option; and we started the industry’s first and only recycling scheme. Whatever the brand, whatever the condition, we’ll recycle old styling tools for free. Our goal is to save 1.5 million styling tools from landfill.