Hera Beauty targeting 30% growth following Growth Works’ support
The challenge: Processing more and larger orders while remaining efficient and competitive
Natural skincare manufacturer Hera Beauty make private-label creams, lotions, shampoos and more. They handle orders ranging from 200 units for start-up entrepreneurs, to thousands of units for established high street brands.
“We have a lot of customer loyalty, which is wonderful,” explains Andrew Kennedy, Hera Beauty’s Managing Director. “And we’re getting more and more larger orders, both from new customers and from existing customers who are growing.”
“We’re in a fortunate position where we’ve seen significant growth, so in five years the business has gone from two employees to over 40. We’re pretty ambitious as a company, and keen to continue to grow and to create jobs. But we’ve reached a stage where to do that we need to invest in bigger, more complex machinery and systems, with more automation.”
After upgrading their production equipment and factory space, the next step was to improve Hera Beauty’s capacity to rapidly fill, label, and package up large numbers of bottles, jars, tubes and pouches. “We need to improve productivity so we can turn large orders around quickly, while continuing to offer competitive prices.”
However, Hera Beauty faced a challenge common to many growing businesses: needing to invest to improve efficiency and deliver quality on a larger scale, but lacking the short-term cashflow to do so.
The solution: Matched funding for new machinery and CRM support, plus expert business advice
Andrew approached Growth Works in September 2021, explaining Hera Beauty’s need to upgrade their filling line machinery to enable further growth.
Hera Beauty received £50,000 as a capital investment grant for equipment. This includes an automated filling line, labelling line, and capping machinery, which will arrive in early 2022. They have also bought some smaller pieces of machinery, such as an electric palette truck and palette wrapping machine, which will help them process orders faster.
Next, Hera Beauty successfully applied for a grant for consultancy support for installing a new CRM system for their sales team. In both cases, Andrew and his team were relieved to find the grant application process was straightforward.
“Growth Works were very clear on the grant requirements and what we would need to demonstrate to be eligible. They have a good understanding of our business, and they’ve been forthcoming in coming back and suggesting additional support that we may be eligible for. It was a real enabler for us to set some ambitious growth targets for next year.”
As well as funding, Growth Works have offered and signposted several types of support and opportunities.
“We’ve only been involved with Growth Works for a couple of months, and they’ve already been in conversations with us about potential suppliers we could use, website development, potential training, a peer-to-peer network for the team, plus the grants which we’ve been successful in. It’s been a very positive experience so far.”
The outcome: Gearing up for 30% growth and hiring eight new staff in 2022
Everything is on track towards getting the new machinery and systems up and running before Hera’s peak period from July to October. Knowing they’ll be able to manage large orders more efficiently while still offering competitive pricing, Andrew and his team are feeling positive about the future.
“Growth Works’ support is a great catalyst for our growth. This machinery will enable us to continue to invest, to grow, to take on more customers, and to cater for the ones that are growing. We’re targeting 30% growth and expecting to create eight new jobs in 2022 on the back of this additional capacity.”
Andrew is confident the capacity upgrades will help Hera Beauty to continue providing the flexible service their smaller customers want, while also offering a quality high-volume service to bigger customers.
Overall, Andrew and his team have been impressed with the ease of the grant application process and the helpfulness of the Growth Works team.
“Our past experience of exploring funding was that it seemed a bit complicated and with very limited funding available. Like many small business owners, I don’t have a huge amount of time and resources to find out what funding options are available and to apply. But we’ve found the partnership with Growth Works very straightforward and easy.”
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