A Manchester manufacturer of natural health and beauty products is flying the flag for the Northern Powerhouse overseas after breaking into 38 overseas markets. BQ found out how Faith in Nature made it happen…
Faith in Nature, from its base in Radcliffe, Manchester, manufactures natural beauty and skin care ranges, and a homecare range, using vegetable based ingredients that are animal-cruelty free.
American entrepreneur and natural health pioneer Rivka Rose launched the business back in 1974 in a bid to capitalise on the growing demand for natural health and beauty products.
The company has since continued to grow and reported its best ever set of results in the year ending July 2016 with turnover reaching £3.8m.
This rapid growth has been driven by increasing demand from overseas after the business made the brave decision to start exporting their products 12 years ago.
The company now exports to 38 countries around the world and recently signed a deal in the USA to supply 500 of the Dutch retail giant, Ahold’s, stores across the pond.
Speaking about what inspired the business to start exporting, managing director Joy Parkinson, said: "The decision to start exporting was a strategic move to grow the business and to avoid over reliance on the UK market.
"Sales were slow to begin with in new markets but with lots of help and advice from UKTI and OMIS and the development of our export team we gradually secured new overseas partners.
"Exports currently account for 23% of our turnover and is forecast to reach 30% by the end of 2017.
"Strategically we intend to focus investment and resource into securing more clients in the vast American market.
"We have 16 countries in the EU who we have yet to do business with and we will also be pursuing these vigorously.
"The impact of Brexit is as yet unknown but our current European clients continue to want to work with us – we are sure our trading relationships will be sorted out successfully."
Joy is a firm believer of market research and has praised the effect it has so far had on the company’s export success.
She also highlighted how important face-to face communication can be when meeting a prospective buyer.
"Thorough research and taking advice willingly and learning from people on the ground in new markets are essential if trading relationships are going to be successful," Joy added.
"Face-to-face meetings are the most effective way of building relationships and if conducted regularly they absolutely help to build sales.
"Our sales director recently took 24 hours to meet a new prospect in Carlisle, Pennsylvania – and met the client for 30 minutes – the result? Distribution in 500 stores on the East Coast!"
Speaking about what advice she would give to any other business looking to emulate Faith in Nature’s success, Joy praised the impact UKTI and OMIS have had on the business.
She concluded: "The company spends quality time researching existing and potential markets to ensure a deep understanding of the culture and trading operations in each.
"Faith in Nature continually uses the services of the UKTI and OMIS and both have been instrumental in increasing penetration in overseas markets. The company will continue to tap into their expertise."
As a Manchester-based manufacturer exporting its products to 38 different countries, Faith in Nature is a real success story for the Northern Powerhouse.
Is your company, or do you know a company flying the flag for the UK overseas? If so, we want to hear from you ahead of the PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) are a partner for the Around the World in 80 Trades feature.
The Northern Powerhouse team of DIT offers a whole host of support for businesses across the Northern region that wish to export. Regular regional hosted webinars and events include topics such as strategy, finding the right market, finance, e-exporting and research. The sessions are very practical and provide guidance from those who have experienced exporters. For brand new exporters there are taster missions and trade missions, to a number of countries, where DIT find opportunities in a particular country and take UK companies to meet with potential buyers.
The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) has overall responsibility for promoting UK trade across the world and attracting foreign investment to our economy. We are a specialised government body with responsibility for negotiating international trade policy and supporting business.