Christophe Bernigaud, vice president Commercial Americas for WaterWipes, says the city is strategically positioned for the frequent trips he makes out of Boston, Manchester and Portland, Maine, airports as he markets his product to Walmart, Target, Babies R Us, and other retail baby product outlets.
“I’m everywhere,” he told the Porsmouth Herald. In fact, on a recent trip to Miami he explored avenues to get the product into Mexico and other countries south of the border.
In making the move with his family from Ireland to Portsmouth, which he visited during a trip to Boston, he also found an inviting environment for himself and the business, which he established in the city in July 2016.
“It didn’t take much to convince me to visit Portsmouth,” says Bernigaud.
WaterWipes is based at 155 Fleet St., and includes a staff of eight, which he is looking to expand with more sales and marketing professionals.
WaterWipes is a part of Irish Breeze, skin care and baby care products maker based in Ireland and founded by Edward McCloskey in 1995 to make cotton wool and soap products.
When McCloskey’s baby daughter developed rash in her diaper, he was dissatisfied with the ingredients he saw on the packaging of the commercially available baby wipes. So in 2007, Irish Breeze developed a process to create a chemical-free baby wipe with 99.9% purified water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract.
After starting with its WaterWipes product in Ireland, the company grew into New Zealand and Australia and is gaining market share in the U.S., where, according to Bernigaud, 4.4 million babies are born in year in a potential market of $1.3 billion for baby wipes.
Currently, WaterWipes are in-store in retailers that include Target, Babies R Us, Walgreens, Stop&Shop and others. They are available online through Amazon, Walmart, and others.
WaterWipes are currently produced in Ireland, and Bernigaud said the company is “evaluating where, when and how” of possibly also producing the product in the U.S.