Midlands haircare business sees global sales spike during lockdown

Rose Ovensehl

As beauty salons and hairdressers closed around the world, UK haircare brand Flora & Curl has experienced surging online sales as customers find comfort in using self-care treatments at home.

After years of harsh chemical treatments damaging her hair and scalp, Rose Ovensehi decided to create organic products in her mum’s kitchen and document her journey back to natural hair. When she discovered an online community embracing their curls who were eager to try her inventions, Flora & Curl was founded.

Designed to hydrate all curl types and restore scalp health, Flora & Curl’s botanical formulas are imbued with signature notes of fresh essential oils and are now sold through 150 retail partners in 70 countries, including US beauty giant, Ulta.com. From September, Flora & Curl is launching in 300 Ulta stores, which is expected to result in further growth in the US.

Flora & Curl Founder Rose Ovensehi, said: “Despite our huge spike in sales, high global demand for beauty and haircare products during the pandemic has brought new challenges for us, such as sourcing packaging components like lotion pumps.

“New suppliers and careful stock planning have meant we can continue to ship our products to our curl community around the world with 25% of sales going to the US. Support from the Department for International Trade has helped us along the way on our export journey and we would encourage other businesses to think about the benefits of exporting.”

Exports account for 60% of Flora & Curl’s total sales, which has been supported by the Department for International Trade with its export strategy since 2018.

Success in the US has been assisted by their expansion to a distribution centre in Florida. Recently, exports to the Middle East and Europe have also boomed for Flora & Curl, thanks to successful marketing campaigns.

Exports Minister Graham Stuart said: “Flora & Curl’s fantastic growth demonstrates the clear global demand for British haircare and beauty products. Exporting is vital for UK businesses and this is a great example of the important role e-commerce will continue to play in the UK’s economic recovery post-coronavirus.”

Latest figures show that the UK’s annual haircare exports to the United States are worth £26.5m, up 46.7% on the previous year. The UK is currently in the third round of trade negotiations with the US. Government analysis shows that the West Midlands’ economy is expected to grow by up to £363m as a result of a future UK-US free trade agreement.

It is one of the regions expected to benefit most from a UK-US FTA in proportional terms. The US is the West Midlands’ largest export market, accounting for 13% of all West Midlands goods exports. 3,037 businesses in the West Midlands collectively export £12,633 worth of goods to the US every minute.