A former investment banker who started making bath products to soothe her daughter’s eczema-prone skin a decade ago, has sold her idea to the maker of Imperial Leather for £37million.
Joanna Jensen, 51, created Childs Farm in 2010 from her farm in Basingstoke, Hampshire, where she worked as a horse breeder.
After learning about natural remedies to make shampoos for her horses, she developed a product for her children’s knotty hair that wouldn’t irritate their incredibly sensitive skin.
In an interview, she once said: “This drove me to investigate creating a range myself, so I could give them skincare without the “ouch”.”
Ms Jenson has now made at least £15million after selling her stake in the business to the maker of Imperial Leather soap.
In the past twelve years, her children’s shampoo, moisturiser and bubble bath brand has grown rapidly to overtake Johnson & Johnson’s range and is stocked in Boots and all big supermarkets.
The brand, which uses organic raspberry, apple and tangerine flavours, has become popular with parents who have shifted to newer brands that use natural ingredients.
Its moisturiser, flavoured with cocoa and shea, has won plaudits on social media for soothing irritated skin, namely sufferers of eczema.
The company has also paid for clinical trials to test its products on babies with medically diagnosed eczema, meaning its bottles come stamped with “suitable for newborns” on its label.
PZ Cussons, the consumer goods company that also makes Original Source and Carex hand gel, has bought a 92% stake in the brand for £36.8million, meaning Jensen will be in line for a cash windfall of £15.1 million, and even more money in future because of the structure of the deal.
Jensen described the deal on LinkedIn as finding “a new set of parents for our little girl…we ain’t stopping, just stocking up on provisions for the next big push.”
Jensen will also receive an 8.1% stake in a new PZ Cussons subsidiary, in exchange for investing £3.3million of her proceeds.
This stake is subject to an agreement to sell it to Cussons at a 6.6 times multiple of Childs Farm profit in 2024 and 2025, meaning an even bigger potential payout.
Childs Farm made £17.4million from sales last year and reported a pre-tax loss of £900,000 as it has focused on reinvesting in its growth.
The company almost collapsed in 2014 when an investor pulled out at the last minute, threatening the brand’s retail presence.
Today, it has more than 50 staff and the products are stocked in Boots, Waitrose, Tesco and Asda.
In 2019, it launched an adult sensitive body care range in Boots called Farmologie by Childs Farm.