A Cheshunt-based hair vitamins brand is set to increase annual turnover by 40% this year after boosting international exports and securing its first orders in Pakistan.
It Really Works Vitamins, launched in 2015, sells vegan-friendly hair growth supplements direct to customers via its website. Around 70% of its customers are based outside the UK in 129 countries.
Recognised as a credible British supplement brand, the business enjoyed demand from overseas consumers from the outset. In a bid to maximise this potential, founder Fortuna Melhem turned to International Trade Advisers (ITAs) at the Department for International Trade (DIT).
ITAs advised on the importance of Fortuna internationalising the business’ website and helped by introducing her to a specialist agency who created accurate translations for languages in priority markets. ITAs also helped the business increase international web traffic by 43% by giving insight on the importance of regular blog content and targeted Facebook advertising.
Now, It Really Works Vitamins has experienced a 25% uplift in orders from targeted countries, including Australia, Canada, Singapore and India. It has also secured its first orders from customers in Pakistan, a market that imported more than £14.3milion worth of goods from businesses in the South East in the first three months of 2019 alone.
Exports now account for 65% of the company’s annual turnover and it has now set its sights on placing its supplements with retailers in India later this year, marking the first time it will sell direct to trade.
Commenting on the success, Fortuna said: “As a British business, consumers from across the world trust that our supplements are going to be effective and comply with the strictest of health and safety regulations. The challenge we faced was developing a meaningful marketing strategy to reach these consumers.
“Our International Trade Adviser, Vivish George, knew exactly what we needed to achieve from the start. He helped us to refine our online advertising to increase our presence in target markets and drive sales. Now, we’re in a brilliant place and looking for the next market to crack. It just goes to show, if we can do it, so can any other business.”
Thinley Topden, Head of Region for DIT East of England, said: said: “Fortuna and the team at It Really Works Vitamins are passionate about the product they make. Being British gives it that extra stamp of credibility when placed on a global stage, and this is largely what has attracted so many loyal international customers. With the support we’ve provided around social media and the website, the business is now making the most of overseas opportunities and unlocking doors into new markets.
“We’d encourage any business considering exporting to get in touch. We have International Trade Advisers on hand throughout the region to guide businesses at every stage of their export journey, and staff on the ground in over 100 countries to help address trade hurdles linked to legislation, tax, labelling requirements and other factors.”
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