The English Soap Company triumphs in regional awards

The English Soap Company is celebrating after winning the ‘Export Manufacturer of the Year’ at Insider Media’s Made in the South East Awards 2023.

The company’s success at the Made in South East Awards follows a ‘Highly Commended’ award for ‘International Business of the Year’ at Platinum Media’s Sussex Business Awards 2023; being named a finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2023 ‘Family Business Entrepreneur’ South East category; and, in March, winning The Department of International Trade ‘Exporter of the Year Award’ in the prestigious Business Champion Awards 2023.

The judges recognised The English Soap Company’s exceptional growth and global business acumen, highlighting its journey from a humble kitchen venture to a global brand under the leadership of Oliver Butts since 2012.

Located in rural East Sussex, The English Soap Company is committed to local sourcing and employment while ensuring quality and affordability through in-house management of every process. Every product is hand-finished.

More than 50% of the company’s turnover comes from international markets including the United States, Taiwan, Sweden, Japan and others. With imminent plans to expand into India, Malaysia and Indonesia, The English Soap Company is firmly positioned for further growth.

Staff numbers have grown from 26 to 63 in four years, with significant investments in machinery driving a turnover of £5.2 million in 2022/23.

Sustainability is central to the company’s operation with an emphasis on ethical, durable and recyclable products. The partnerships with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Mattel demonstrate the company’s commitment to environmental research and female empowerment, underpinned by a majority female leadership team.

Other aspects of The English Soap Company’s international business strategy that set it apart from other entries include hands-on engagement, adaptability and collaborative networking.

Key milestones include securing an American customer early in the company’s journey and expanding distribution to Australia and other regions.

The company’s presence in diverse markets is a result of direct engagement and understanding of local consumer behaviours and preferences.

Oliver Butts, managing director of The English Soap Company, said: “I’m immensely proud to receive two prestigious awards this year and to be shortlisted in another.

“This recognition is a reflection of our team’s unwavering commitment which is pivotal to our global expansion. We look forward to a promising future.”

The company’s licensing agreements with RBG, Kew, and Barbie™ have boosted its global brand identity with a product portfolio that includes over 300 SKUs.

Despite challenges such as the pandemic and raw material shortages, the business has strategically adopted a ‘Just in Time’ approach, navigating supply chain disruptions and increasing production levels post-Brexit.

With an ambition to achieve a turnover of £10 million by 2028, The English Soap Company is investing in new warehousing, production equipment and skilled personnel. The focus on sustainability continues with initiatives to reduce and offset the carbon footprint.

Staff wellbeing and community engagement are key pillars of the company’s philosophy. Initiatives like the EAP system with Health Assured and involvement in charitable activities and local sponsorships such as with Lewes FC, underscore the company’s commitment to its team and community.

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