West Sussex-based First Natural Brands has announced international expansion plans after receiving a £6.25 million funding package from Santander UK.

First Natural Brands – which develops, manufactures and sells essential oils and wellbeing products – will use the package to support ‘significant’ expansion in the US and Europe, boost online sales and ramp up marketing activity.

In the US, the company mainly sells its products through distributors, but now aims to grow its direct relationships with US-based retail stockists and launch on Amazon US. It also plans to secure deals with large retailers in Germany, France and the Republic of Ireland.

In addition to its essential oils business, First Natural Brands also develops private label products for major UK retailers, and it will now focus on taking that offering internationally as well as diversifying within the bath and body products market.

“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,” says Sanam Shah, First Natural Brands CFO, commenting on the package.

David Muse, director, growth capital at Santander UK, adds: “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.”

First Natural Brands was established in 2007 when it acquired the Tisserand Aromatherapy brand, since which time it has been growing through brand acquisitions and product development. In 2020 its revenue was up 50% on the previous year partly due to gaining new retail customers and increased sales on Amazon UK.