East Sussex soap company secures contract in Japan

An East Sussex soap company is celebrating after securing a contract in Japan estimated to be worth up to £100,000 a year.

Christina May, a family-run business based on a farm im based in Waldron, just outside of Heathfield, currently exports to more than 34 countries including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

East Sussex soap company Christina May has secured a contract in Japan

East Sussex soap company Christina May has secured a contract in Japan

Its new deal with Japan was secured as a result of the company attending trade shows in Hong Kong and Bologna with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT) and through continuous contact with its Asia-Pacific export manager.

The contract is estimated to increase Christina May’s annual turnover by up to three per cent.

Oliver Butts, managing director at Christina May, said: “The prospect of exporting is exciting and perhaps a little daunting, but always fun and a great experience.

“The paperwork can be an issue in difficult markets which is why we focussed on the easier markets first to build up experience before exporting to the more challenging countries.

The contract in Japan is estimated to increase Christina May's annual turnover

The contract in Japan is estimated to increase Christina May's annual turnover

“Exporting has also helped us to secure our business against the uncertainty of Brexit as we have diversified our market portfolio across the world so that the impact and any consequences are reduced.

“I would recommend any business that is considering exporting to see how DIT can help.

“The department has supported us with grants to attend trade shows and just general advice which has allowed us to develop an expansive export strategy and find international success.”

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Christina May was founded in 2000, after the co-founders discovered vintage soap moulds lying disused in a machinery workshop on a farm. It employs 35 people.

The manufacturers make soaps from pure vegetable oils with the perfumes being made in England and designed specifically for its brand The English Soap Company.

Ben Raby, head of region for South East at DIT, said: “DIT started supporting Christina May back in 2014 when the company approached us for advice, and it is really exciting to see just how much its exports have grown since that initial interaction.

“The company is one of a growing number of British manufacturers – many of whichm are SMEs – that are driving British success in the multi-billion-pound soap market.

“Their global success is proof that there is strong overseas demand for quality made English products and that there has never been a better time to explore international markets than right now.

“DIT has a network of expert International Trade Advisers on hand to help more businesses respond to this demand and navigate the entire exporting journey.”