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25 Apr

Childs Farm, a Brand for Children with Sensitive Skin,

LONDON – There may be nothing sweet or comforting about eczema, and skincare entrepreneur Joanna Jensen knows that higher than most.

Jensen, the founding father of Childs Farm, a top-selling baby and child personal care brand in Britain, was born with the painful, chronic skin condition and one among her young daughters suffered from it, too.

A former investment banker, Jensen founded Childs Farm to supply a delicate, sustainably-made, and sweeter-smelling alternative to the steroid creams and emollients that she’d grown up with. She also tried to inject some fun into the packaging, with brilliant colours and pictures of frolicking children and cartoon animals.

In 2019, nearly a decade after she launched Childs Farm and after five years on the shelves at Boots and Waitrose, Childs Farm became the primary brand in the newborn and child personal care category within the U.K.

Although the products are pitched at children from 0 to age 9, Jensen said anyone can use them, and nearly 30 percent of consumers are buying for themselves, slightly than their children.

It plays within the premium space, with prices starting from 4.50 kilos for the moisturizer, handwash and bubble bath, to 12 kilos for the 50-plus SPF, fragrance-free sun cream.   

Last yr, Jensen sold a majority stake to PZ Cussons for 40 million kilos and achieved B Corp certification for the brand. Together together with her latest partners at PZ Cussons, Jensen is shifting Childs Farm into high gear with plans to launch within the U.S. in May with Amazon.

The longer-term U.S. plan is to expand via regional retailers, and potentially high-end supermarkets. The plan is to begin opening doors within the Northeast, where the cold climate means there are more eczema victims.

In an interview, Jensen said the brand already has a U.S. customer base, “and we all know there’s massive enthusiasm for products which are suitable for eczema-prone skin.”

She said expansion was one among the explanations she sold to PZ Cussons, which owns St. Tropez, Sanctuary Spa and Fudge Skilled haircare, and which has international distribution muscle, was to interrupt into the U.S. market. 

“The U.S. is basically 50 countries, and that’s why we were so nervous about doing it on our own. It has been the graveyard of a few of one of the best British brands, and we didn’t wish to be buried six feet under,” said Jensen, who has also brought in a Philadelphia, PA.-based distributor, The Emerson Group, because the U.S. distributor.

Jensen also knows the upside is large. She said the U.S. baby and child personal care market is price 1.25 billion kilos, and is growing at a rate of 2-3 percent annually.

“There may be room for multiple players, and even when we had 1-2 percent market share, that will be a healthy business for us,” she said. “My gut is telling me we’ve done every little thing right to make this work, and it’s also telling me there’s a necessity within the U.S. for these products.”

U.S. prices will range from $10.99 for 250ml bottle of product to $16.99 for a 500ml bottle.

There had been tentative plans to interrupt into the market before, but Jensen said that Childs Farm wasn’t able to be supplying nation-wide pharmacy chains with the Childs Farm products, all of that are made within the U.K.

Jensen said that if the business takes off within the U.S., it’s likely the brand will start producing there, too. In response to the corporate, the products are vegan and contain ethically and responsibly-sourced ingredients of natural origin.

The Childs Farm range of products set to launch within the U.S. in May.

Ingredients include shea and cocoa butters; glycerine; organic coconut oil sourced from the Philippines and oats grown in Finland. Jensen said the beta gluten within the oats helps reduce redness and irritation.

The brand draws a few of its ingredients from food industry waste. The orange fragrance, as an illustration, is created from the peels discarded from factory-made juice.

“We now have gone for ingredients that we all know are effective. We’ve also checked out the formulas and asked ourselves ‘Can we actually need to place that in there?’ Because if you happen to add an ingredient that adds two pence to the value of a product, you’ve then got to pass that on to the buyer,” she said.

Jensen is amazingly protective of her consumers, most of whom are parents – like her – doing their best to appease children with skin conditions.

Most parents, she said, “would re-mortgage the home” to purchase products that help their children, but she doesn’t want any of her customers going broke. Her aim with Childs Farm is to maintain quality high and costs low, and to grab market share from the larger players equivalent to Johnson’s Baby, Aveeno and Baby Dove.

Attaining B Corp certification was one other big a part of the Childs Farm strategy.

“We actually desired to do the sustainable heavy lifting for fogeys. Not only can we help them with their children’s skin, but we’re using ingredients which have been rather well thought through, and have ethics and values on the core,” she said.

Revenue at Childs Farm was 20 million kilos when the corporate sold to PZ Cussons last yr, and is now around 25 million kilos at retail, and growing within the double digits.

Looking ahead, Childs Farm has just launched SlumberTime, a spread of products meant to reinforce children’s bedtime routine. It offers a shower soak; a massage cream that transforms into an oil, and a pillow spray.

The products contain DreamScentz, a special fragrance technology developed by PZ Cussons that mixes notes of lavender and moon milk, a centuries-old sleep aid created from milk, cinnamon and honey.

“To me, it smells like a warm hug, a baby, and a little bit of chocolate,” said Jensen.

Although Jensen is now a minority shareholder within the business, she’s working closely with PZ Cussons, and is clearly desperate to embark on the following chapter.  

“My view is that if we are able to make another child pleased of their skin, then I’ve done my job. At Childs Farm we’re helpers – that’s our role, and that’s what we pride ourselves on,” she said.

Jensen can also be spreading the love – and the knowledge – beyond Childs Farm as a supporter of female business founders.

She is on the advisory board of Buy Women Built, a recently-formed association of female founders seeking to drive awareness of their brands within the U.K. to consumers, and investors. She can also be an angel investor focused specifically on female-founded brands.

“There are such a lot of good ideas on the market, and if I may help someone make their brand a hit, particularly now when it’s tougher, then I’ll. I’m pleased to supply my 10 cents’ price [of advice] because among the things I’ve done have taken me six months to work out. And I can share [the solution] in six minutes,” she said.

She also loves what she sees because the practical-minded approach of girls in business. Jensen said the overwhelming majority of female-founded brands were created because “there was something missing, and it need needed to be handled.”

Women could also be problem-solvers, but also they are big spenders.

“Sixty-four percent of the buyer spend on the earth is within the hands of girls,” she said.

“Women create products because women buy products. Yet the sweetness industry is totally driven by these people in R&D workforce who’re all men,” said Jensen who can also be on a mission to encourage girls to check science so that they can develop the female- and family-focused products of the longer term.

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