Welsh health and beauty firm hits £25m in sales as demand for organic and vegan products soar

Jem Skelding

A Welsh business that sources and sells natural and organic health and beauty products has hit the £25 million turnover mark, after increasing sales by 25% year on year.

Naissance, based in a 40,000 square foot warehouse in Neath, Wales was founded in 2005 by entrepreneur Jem Skelding from his spare bedroom.

His childhood in Africa inspired Jem, where the shortage of retail products and an abundance of raw materials meant his mother would often make her own skincare and natural remedies. When e-commerce started to take off, he spotted a gap in the market for an online brand selling organic plant-based products.

Over the last fifteen years, he has steered the company and established the Naissance brand as a global leader in the supply of natural and organic ingredients within UK and International territories. Supplying many of the biggest high street retail brands in the UK, Europe and America as well as contract manufacturers, Naissance now exports to over 110 countries and works directly with over 1,000 famers and growers across the world.

The firm employs 120 people in Neath and has a warehouse facility and team based in Berlin, Germany.

The company was named Amazon’s Exporting Small Business Of The Year in 2019, in recognition of its sales growth through the e-commerce giant as well as its commitment to sustainable and ethical principles.

Naissance has been assisted by the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP) which provides targeted support for ambitious growing firms. The programme is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

Commenting on the firm’s stellar growth, CEO Jem Skelding said: “We have seen double-digit growth every year over the last few years, driven by growing consumer demand for high-quality, genuinely ethical products that can be traced back to individual growers.

“We are rigorous about quality control at every stage of the supply chain and our Organic, Vegan, Anti-cruelty and Fair Trade certifications mean that our customers trust us and consequently return to us again and again. Many of our products are also food grade and our facilities have received a 5-star rating from the Food Standards Agency. From day one, we have focused on providing a high-quality product and excellent service to our customers, and that’s what underpins the industry-leading reputation we have built.

“We are constantly searching for better, more ethical and sustainable ways of working, not only to benefit us as a business but, more importantly, to benefit individuals, communities, society, and the world in which we live. I firmly believe it is this steadfast commitment to doing good for our suppliers, our customers and our staff that has driven our growth. I am incredibly proud of the team here and all we have achieved.”

Naissance is now set to grow its workforce by 20% over the next year as it meets a growing demand for its products. All of the firm’s staff, regardless of their age, receive a generous benefits package which includes a salary that’s above the Living Wage, sick pay and a healthcare cash plan.

Since signing up to the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP) programme in 2015, the company has received mentoring and specialist advice on funding, investment and targeted staff training. This support has proved “very helpful” according to Mr Skelding:

“Steering a business through rapid growth brings its own challenges. Being part of AGP has allowed us to navigate a number of our priority areas with the help of expert consultants and mentors, which has been really helpful.

Richard Morris of the Excelerator Consortium, which delivers the Accelerated Growth Programme, said: “Naissance is an excellent example of a homegrown Welsh business founded on strong ethical principles that has built a global reputation on its quality products and excellent customer service.

“We are delighted that the company continues to go from strength to strength and is becoming one of Wales’ fastest growing e-commerce brands.”