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Sweet smell of success for essential oils and wellbeing company following £6.25m funding package

West Sussex-based essential oils and wellbeing products company First Natural Brands is expanding internationally with support from a £6.25m funding package from Santander UK.

The funding package comprises a Growth Capital loan, invoice discounting and a trade loan. It supports First Natural Brands’ plans for significant expansion in the US and Europe, and to ramp up its online sales as well as marketing activity. The business has also switched its day-to-day banking to Santander UK, which will also be providing it with foreign exchange services.

First Natural Brands develops, manufactures and sells pure essential oils and wellbeing products. It was established in 2007 when it acquired the Tisserand Aromatherapy brand, which was founded in the 1970s by Robert Tisserand, a pioneer in the use of essential oils. It has subsequently grown through brand acquisitions and organically through product development.

In addition to its essential oils business, the company also develops private label products for major UK retailers and part of its focus is now on expanding that offering internationally. It is also diversifying within the bath and body products market.

In the US, First Natural Brands sells its products mainly through distributors. As part of its expansion plans, it aims to grow its direct relationships with US-based retail stockists and plans to launch on Amazon US. It also aims to secure deals with large retailers in Germany, France and the Republic of Ireland to sell its products.

First Natural Brands is growing rapidly, and last year its revenue was up 50% on the previous year, in part due to its acquisition of new major retail customers in the UK and an increase in sales through Amazon UK.

Sanam Shah, Chief Financial Officer at First Natural Brands said: “We are delighted to agree this strategic investment with Santander UK, whose global network will help us expand our iconic brand into new international markets and support our strong UK manufacturing base.”

David Muse, Director, Growth Capital at Santander UK, said: “We are delighted to have become First Natural Brands’ banking partner, supporting the next phase of its growth strategy. Our unique funding package, combining Growth Capital and trade loans with invoice discounting, as well as our international support solutions, will help this fast-growing British company to expand worldwide through investment in stock and overseas trade infrastructure.”